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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton May 9, 2014

A and O as each other's mirror image? Problems with markedness reversal

  • Stefanie Fauconnier EMAIL logo and Jean-Christophe Verstraete
From the journal Linguistic Typology


This article provides a critical examination of the widespread idea that A and O (and Agents and Patients) are each other's mirror image in terms of case marking and semantic features. We examine patterns of differential case marking for nouns in a sample of 185 languages, showing that the behaviour of A cannot be captured in terms of markedness reversal based on models for O marking. We highlight pecularities of A marking that are not found with O marking, like sensitivity to the feature of motivity, and syntactic restrictions on use as A, and use these to develop an independent account of A marking.

Received: 2012-10-8
Revised: 2013-9-9
Published Online: 2014-5-9
Published in Print: 2014-5-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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