[Lingtyp] semantic role of participant that needs something

Paolo Ramat paoram at unipv.it
Fri Jul 1 10:00:38 UTC 2022

Dear Christian,
still keeping in mind Seiler's slogan  that "language is a problem solving
system", I think (and I suppose that you too are of the same mind !) that
an onomasiological approach to linguistic phenomena is basic and
unavoidable.  The problem is how to elaborate language-independent notions
as 'need', or Anna  Wierzbicka's semantic primitives (if they do exist), or
also metalinguistic concepts like 'avertive verb' and 'uerba timendi'.  I
have no definite answer, but  I believe that cognitive linguistics may help
a lot in understanding this kind of problem. Of course, a cognitive
approach shouldn't be aprioristic: the starting point will always be the
accurate observation of linguistic *facts.*

Prof. Dr. Paolo Ramat
Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Socio corrispondente
'Academia Europaea'
'Societas Linguistica Europaea', Honorary Member
Università di Pavia (retired)
Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori (IUSS Pavia) (retired)

piazzetta Arduino 11 - I 27100 Pavia
##39 0382 27027
347 044 98 44

Il giorno ven 1 lug 2022 alle ore 10:42 Christian Lehmann <
christian.lehmann at uni-erfurt.de> ha scritto:

> For a start, I am ready to agree that Fillmorean semantic roles are a bit
> outdated. Still, some of them, like recipient, experiencer or possessor,
> may be met in publications to this day. So this question is directed to
> those of you who think that under suitable conditions, it makes sense to
> speak of semantic roles (or whatever you prefer to name them).
> What is the role of the participant that needs something? On the one hand,
> Latin *carere* and *egere* mean 'to not have'. This would seem to involve
> a possessor. On the other hand, Cabecar *kiana̱* means 'be wanted' and
> *shë́na̱* means ‘be missed’. This would seen to involve an experiencer (a
> pretty ill-defined role, anyway).
> Such evidence from descriptive linguistics may imply that the
> presupposition of my question, viz. that there is a language-independent
> notion of 'need', is not fulfilled. This would be a pity, as it would
> render a comparative investigation of the kind 'how is the notion of "X
> needs Y" coded cross-linguistically' (in the spirit, e.g., of the Leipzig
> valency database) more complicated or even - from a theoretical point of
> view - impossible.
> Grateful for any helpful suggestions,
> Christian
> --
> Prof. em. Dr. Christian Lehmann
> Rudolfstr. 4
> 99092 Erfurt
> Deutschland
> Tel.: +49/361/2113417
> E-Post: christianw_lehmann at arcor.de
> Web: https://www.christianlehmann.eu
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