(dis)appearence verbs

Jan Terje Faarlund j.t.faarlund at INL.UIO.NO
Fri Apr 3 08:12:18 UTC 1998

The possibility of using various verbs in "there"-constructions seems to be
very language specific. In Norwegian, for example, it is so widely accepted
that it can hardly be used as a criterion for unaccusativity. Some data
(the dummy subject is _det_ 'it'):

Det kom ein bil på vegen
it came a car on the road

Det forsvann mange bøker frå biblioteket
it disappeared many books from the library

Det sette seg ein mann på benken
it seated REFL a man on bench-DEF
'A man sat down on the bench'

Det gret eit barn i rommet ved sida av
it cries a child in room-DEF next-door
'A child is crying in the room next door'

Det arbeider ei jente i hagen
it works a girl in the garden
'A girl is working in the garden'

Det et alltid mange turistar på denne restauranten
it eat always many tourists in this restaurant-DEF
'There are always many tourists eating in this restaurant'

In all of the setnteces the indefinite constraint must be observed. What
all these verbs have in common, is that they refer to some "physical" or
visible/audible activity. Thus the following is ungrammatical:

*Det tenkjer ei kvinne i rommet ved sida av
it thinks a woman in room-DEF next-door

Those who might be interested in an analysis of these and similar phenomena
in an Autolexical framework, may request a copy of my paper
	"Existential sentences, unaccusativity, and theta-roles", so far only
published in the series Occasional Papers in Linguistics from The
University of Chicago.

Professor Jan Terje Faarlund
Universitetet i Oslo
Institutt for nordistikk og litteraturvitskap
Postboks 1013 Blindern
N-0315 Oslo (Norway)

Tel. (+47) 22 85 69 49 (office)
     (+47) 22 12 39 66 (home)
Fax  (+47) 22 85 71 00

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list