A Contrastive View on Non–Canonical Subjects: Prototype Effects, Semantic Roles and MetonymyReport as inadecuate

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Contemporary linguistics, Vol.59-60 No.1-2 November 2005. -

The mapping between primary grammatical relations subject, direct object, indirect object

and semantic roles is largely discussed in terms of which semantic role can be mapped

onto which grammatical relation or vice versa as if semantic roles imposed absolute constraints

in the sense that a language systematically excludes the mapping between some

grammatical relations and semantic roles semantic functions beyond a cut off point on

the Semantic Function Hierarchy. Any deviation from the semantic prototype of the subject

has as a consequence non–canonical morphosyntactic properties of subjects e. g. oblique

case marking, inability to undergo some syntactic processes and lack of properties

which are not peculiar to subject qua grammatical relation, that is, such semantically

non–prototypical subjects do not exhibit the full array of subject–like properties. This paper

argues that semantic roles do not impose absolute constraints on the mapping between

grammatical relations and semantic roles. The mapping between a semantic role low on

the Semantic Function Hierarchy and the grammatical relation subject is possible in cases

of some referential metonymies, i. e. only some uses or meanings of a semantic role allow

such mapping.

Our aim in this paper is not to provide a detailed contrastive analysis of non–canonically

marked subjects in any two languages. We want to point to some aspects that have been

largely neglected in contrastive analyses of non–nominative subjects.

contrastive analysis; grammatical relations; subject; prototypes; semantic roles; metonymic mapping

Author: Dubravko Kučanda - Gabrijela Buljan -

Source: http://hrcak.srce.hr/


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