[Lingtyp] terminological question about intransitive verbs

Christian Lehmann christian.lehmann at uni-erfurt.de
Wed May 12 14:16:09 UTC 2021

There is doubtless more than one way by which the semantic role of the 
single or central argument of an intransitive predicate could be 
differentiated. And different languages choose their criteria in 
grammaticalizing such a distinction in structural valency (to the extent 
that such structural features are semantically motivated). Thus, a 
subdivision by the criterion of agentivity may be relevant in the 
grammar of one language, but not in another.

Among the other semantic distinctions that may prove relevant here is 
the distinction between 'stative' and 'dynamic'. From the examples that 
you give, it appears that this distinction may apply in Menya (not 
wishing to deny thereby that the distinctions you have in mind could be 
relevant, too).

Am 12.05.21 um 16:02 schrieb Carl Whitehead:
> Isn’t this another case of ‘either/or’ being an oversimplification? In 
> the sentences ‘I moved to London’ and ‘He committed suicide’ the 
> subject is both actor and undergoer. With the verb ‘run’ is the actor 
> not affected? I suggest that in many, if not most or all, cases there 
> are elements of both but to varying degrees. In a language like Menya 
> (Papuan) that treats the single argument of ‘run’ and ‘die’ the same 
> but that of ‘be sick’ and ‘like’ differently, is there not a 
> recognition of a degree of ‘doing something’ that is present in the 
> one who dies but not in the one who is sick? The single argument of 
> verbs like ‘commit suicide’ and ‘move’ (and perhaps even ‘run’) there 
> is a high degree of both actorhood and undergoerhood whereas for the 
> single argument of ‘die’ there is a low degree of actorhood but high 
> of undergoerhood, but nevertheless still a degree of each which 
> languages will code differently.
> Carl
> *From:*Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> *On Behalf 
> Of *Christian Lehmann
> *Sent:* May 12, 2021 5:25 AM
> *To:* lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
> *Subject:* [Lingtyp] terminological question about intransitive verbs
> The only or direct actant of an intransitive verb may be its actor 
> (/run/) or its undergoer (/die/). This may be taken to be a feature of 
> the verb's valency. There are then two valency classes of intransitive 
> verbs. I know of the following terms for these:
> active - inactive (Klimov)
> agentive - non-agentive
> unergative - unaccusative (Perlmutter)
> All of these pairs have terminological or conceptual problems (which I 
> can name if desired). I have therefore been looking for better terms. 
> I had called them
> actor-oriented - undergoer-oriented.
> However, I need the term 'oriented' in verbal grammar in a different 
> sense, so I have to replace these. Currently, I call them
> actor-holding - undergoer-holding
> Not particularly elegant, are they?
> Are there good terms on the linguistic market (of the past two 
> centuries) for what is meant by the above? Or failing this, brilliant 
> neologisms?
> Grateful for suggestions,
> Christian
> -- 
> Prof. em. Dr. Christian Lehmann
> Rudolfstr. 4
> 99092 Erfurt
> Deutschland
> Tel.:
> +49/361/2113417
> E-Post:
> christianw_lehmann at arcor.de <mailto:christianw_lehmann at arcor.de>
> Web:
> https://www.christianlehmann.eu <https://www.christianlehmann.eu>


Prof. em. Dr. Christian Lehmann
Rudolfstr. 4
99092 Erfurt

Tel.: 	+49/361/2113417
E-Post: 	christianw_lehmann at arcor.de
Web: 	https://www.christianlehmann.eu

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lingtyp/attachments/20210512/7eaa5b84/attachment.htm>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list