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The Emergence of Functions in Language$
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Zygmunt Frajzyngier and Marielle Butters

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198844297

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198844297.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 November 2021

The emergence of grammatical relations

The emergence of grammatical relations

(p.263) 13 The emergence of grammatical relations
The Emergence of Functions in Language

Zygmunt Frajzyngier

Marielle Butters

Oxford University Press

The domain examined in Chapter 13 can be broadly described as the domain of relationships between the predicate and noun phrases. The Chapter addresses a narrow but an important issue, viz. the emergence of a binary distinction between the grammatical relations subject and object. Unlike various theoretical approaches, generative and functional alike that take the dichotomy of subject and object to be basic components of clausal structure, the study demonstrates that in some languages this dichotomy is a product of functional changes that start from an initial state with undifferentiated relations, in which there is no distinction between the subject and object. In other languages the distinction between the subject and object is a product of the reduction of a rich system of coding semantic relations between the predicate and noun phrases.

Keywords:   Grammatical relations, semantic relations, subject, object

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