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  Subject:   "On Non-Canonical Constructions", Masayoshi Shibatani

  Sponsor:   Department of Linguistics

  Speaker:   Masayoshi Shibatani

  Date:   Friday, November 10, 2000

  Time:   3:30pm -

  Location:   Margaret Jacks Hall (Building 460), room 126 [look for it in a campus map][new]

  Sponsor URL:   http://www-linguistics.stanford.edu/colloq/

On Non-Canonical Constructions
Masayoshi Shibatani
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences/Kobe University

Abstract

The most prominent among the constructions included under the rubric of 
non-canonical constructions here are the so-called dative subject 
constructions, where what appears to be a subject is marked by a dative 
case as in the Latin example, Mihi est liber 'I have a book.' These 
constructions and their variants involving other cases than dative have 
been the center of focused attention for more than twenty years among the 
specialists of South Asian languages, Japanese, Icelandic, Quechua, and 
others, in which a similar type of construction exists. The past analyses 
under various theoretical persuasions generally agree that these 
constructions are transitive with the assumption that the two relevant noun 
phrases are (direct) arguments of the lexical predicates. In this talk, I 
attempt to show that these past analyses are mistaken and that these 
non-canonical constructions are basically intransitive. Specifically, I 
advance a hypothesis that they are to be analyzed as variants of 
double-subject constructions (e.g. [Mihi [est liber]]), where only one noun 
phrase is a lexically selected argument, the other being sanctioned by a 
clausal predicate. Also explored are the semantico-pragmatic reasons for the 
elliptical nature of the relevant intransitive predications (e.g. Latin Liber 
est) and the factors governing the distribution of subject properties over 
the 'large subject' and the 'small subject' of the double subject 
construction. Finally, wider descriptive and theoretical implications of the 
proposed analysis are drawn.

 Event history: Submitted by bzack on 26-Oct-2000;


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