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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton July 31, 2007

Three-participant events in the languages of the world: towards a crosslinguistic typology

  • Anna Margetts EMAIL logo and Peter K Austin
From the journal Linguistics


Although one- and two-participant events, as expressed by intransitive and transitive constructions, have been extensively studied from a crosslinguistic perspective, little work has been done on three-participant events and the ways they operate in different languages. Where there is description and analysis it is typically confined to syntactic three-place predicates ignoring functional equivalent constructions in languages where such events may be realized with other argument configurations. Also, where analysis exists, it is typically limited to those three-participant events that get lexicalized as three-place predicates in English and other well-known languages. In this article, we explore the semantic categories of three-participant events and outline a range of different strategies for coding them crosslinguistically. We show that, as alternatives to syntactic three-place strategies, there are a variety of constructions that are syntactically two-place but express a third participant by some other means — morphological, syntactic, or pragmatic.

*Correspondence address: Anna Margetts, Linguistics Program, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia.

Received: 2005-06-08
Revised: 2006-05-25
Published Online: 2007-07-31
Published in Print: 2007-05-23

© Walter de Gruyter

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