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Additional info for Cases and Thematic Roles. Ergative, Accusative and Active

Example text

Cases are distinguished in Turkana and other Eastern Nilotic languages by tone. The tone pattern of the absolute case is taken to be the basic pattern by Dimmendaal (1983:66) for two reasons. First, this form has the widest range of distribution, because it is also used with arguments in preverbal position and with arguments used in isolation. Second, it is unpredictable and serves as the basis for deriving the tone pattern of the nominative, which is considered the marked case. e. for patient-like arguments of transitive verbs.

This change in the semantic status of the second participant does not change the causation component of the verb. Both write a letter and write letters entail an intentional causer, but only the first variant has the accomplishment reading. Most linguists and philosophers consider smoking, running and reading as typical agentive events also involving - besides intention - causation on the part of the participant. This common opinion is based on the fact that the most successful attempts at defining intention as a property of actions are based on a specific causal relation (cf.

This homomorphism between the temporal structure of the predicate and the reference structure of the argument defines incremental themes. Whenever the telicity of the predicate changes with the reference type of an argument, this agument is an incremental theme. Further examples of verbs selecting incremental themes are: build a house, write a letter, read a book, eat an apple, paint a house, polish a shoe, copy a file, memorize a poem. Note that some of these incremental themes are covered by the term effected object/patient in the sense of coming into or going out of existence.

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Cases and Thematic Roles. Ergative, Accusative and Active by Primus, Beatrice


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