Argument encoding

Ashild Naess A.Naess at LET.KUN.NL
Mon Feb 11 10:12:12 UTC 2002

Dear typologists,

I am working on a study of the crosslinguistic argument-encoding 
possibilities for various semantic classes of verbs. I am trying to look at 
which types of verbs and arguments occur in canonical transitive 
constructions and which types take other kinds of constructions.

In order to get the necessary data for this project I have compiled a 
questionnaire consisting of 14 sentences which I am hoping to get 
translated into as many languages as possible. This, then, is a cry for 
help: I would very much appreciate it if as many people as possible would 
take the time to translate these sentences for me, into any language for 
which you feel competent to do so. I realise that most people are busy 
enough as it is, but this should not take too long and would be a great 
help. Please do not refrain from replying if you feel that your language 
doesn’t do anything particularly interesting in this area; I want to get as 
broad a picture as possible of how these things are done in languages in 
general, so *all* data are useful.

The sentences are listed below. Please include glosses with your 
translations. If you don’t know a particular word (say, if speakers of the 
language have never heard of apples, or you don’t know the exact 
translation equivalent of “destroy”), feel free to substitute a more or 
less corresponding one that you do know.

In addition, I have one other question: Does the argument encoding of any 
of these sentences change under negation? For instance, does “He didn’t 
break the glass” (either “didn’t manage to” or “luckily enough didn’t break 
it when he knocked it over”) take the same argument structure/case frame as 
“He broke the glass”? If there are differences, please include the negated 
sentence as well.

Send your reply to A.Naess at Contributors will of course be duly 
credited in my thesis as well as receiving my heartfelt gratitude.

1. a He broke the glass (on purpose)
     b He broke the glass (accidentally)

2. He ate the apple

3. The storm destroyed the village

4. The ball broke the window

5. He entered the room

6. He saw the girl

7. He looked at the girl

8. He liked the girl

9. He frightened the girl

10. He was thirsty

11. He got angry (with her)

12. He forgot her name

13. He remembered her name


Åshild Næss

University of Nijmegen
Erasmusplein 1
6525 GG Nijmegen

+31 24 3616028

a.naess at 
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