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  • Author: Elisabeth Verhoeven x
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This paper examines the syntactic behavior of experiencer objects in Chinese, Korean, Turkish and Modern Greek. It is shown that, while in Modern Greek, experiencer objects differ from canonical direct objects, this is not the case in Chinese, Korean and Turkish. This difference is explained by the range of paradigmatic alternatives that are available in the respective languages for the coding of experiential situations.

Abstract

Experiencer-object verbs are known to deviate from the prototype of transitive verbs. Previous studies have shown that a subset of these verbs is stative and non-agentive and argue that this semantic peculiarity accounts for particular non-canonical syntactic properties. This article shows that the stativity/non-agentivity of experiencer verbs is subject to typological variation. The empirical evidence comes from an experimental study on speaker's intuitions, which shows that some experiencer-object verbs in German and Modern Greek differ from canonical transitive verbs in agentivity and stativity, while experiencer-object verbs in Turkish, Yucatec Maya, and Chinese display the semanto-syntactic properties of canonical transitive verbs.

Abstract

This article presents an overview of Cabécar, an indigenous language of Costa Rica spoken in the Talamanca Mountain Range. The language is endangered in that many young ethnic Cabécars exclusively speak Spanish. From a linguistic point of view, Cabécar possesses a number of outstanding characteristics, which are the subject of this article.

Summary

This paper presents experimental data on postverbal argument order in Yucatec Maya. Yucatec Maya is a verb initial language which according to previous analyses displays verb-agent-patient as its canonical order. The data presented in this paper were obtained in an experiment on interpreting ambiguous sentences. The experiment evaluated hypotheses about the impact of animacy, definiteness, verbal aspect and pragmatic preferences on Yucatec Mayan postverbal orders. The participants of the experiment showed considerable instability in role choice for postverbal arguments, sometimes preferring the agent-patient and sometimes the patient-agent order. The role choice is predominantly determined by pragmatic inferences which are supported by inherent properties of the postverbal NPs like animacy and definiteness.

Abstract

This article deals with the syntactic and pragmatic properties of left dislocated constituents in Yucatec Maya. It has been argued that these constituents are topics, which implies that a particular structural configuration, namely left dislocation displays a 1:1 correspondence to a particular discourse function. We present evidence that the discourse properties of left dislocation are not uniform: only a subset of the left dislocated constituents qualify as topics in the strict sense, while other instances of left dislocation are better explained if we assume a structural constraint that bans the postverbal occurrence of subject constituents in a particular syntactic configuration. Our empirical findings show that though the occurrence of word order possibilities in discourse is not random, it is not necessarily determined by a unique licensing condition.