[Lingtyp] metaphor theory / cognitive grammar explanations for verb and noun argument symmetries

Adam James Ross Tallman ajrtallman at utexas.edu
Sat Mar 19 11:28:31 UTC 2022

Hello all,

I thought there must be sources on this - but I haven't really found
anything specific. I'm looking for sources that discuss potential semantic
links between possessors in the nominal domain and agents (A subjects) in
the verbal domain. Or just semantic explanations for structural homologies
between noun and verb structure in general.

I am aware of diachronic works that discuss the development of verbal
alignment systems from (clausal) nominalizations. For instance, Gildea's
work *On Reconstructing Grammar *gives a good explanation as to why we
might find structural similarities between nouns and verbs for diachronic
reasons (today's verbal structures were reanalyzed from a nominalized

Generative works, at least dating back to Chomsky's *Remarks, *explain
structural homologies between noun and verb structure based on abstract
formal schema (like X' theory).

But, I was wondering if there were works in cognitive grammar or metaphor
theory that have attempted to give a more synchronic explanation for
potential symmetries between noun and verb phrase structure, based on the
idea that noun and verb structures might have some common schematic form -
or based on the idea that there is some metaphorical mapping between
referential and event (verby) domains.

The idea would be that somehow possessors in the nominal (referential)
domain are at some abstract level like agents in the verbal
(event/situation?) domain (and perhaps analogies with other arguments could
be made, but those seem less obvious). Maybe there's nothing like this, but
I assumed that there must be, given discussions of "transcategoriality" in
the literature. Any leads would be appreciated.



Adam J.R. Tallman
Post-doctoral Researcher
Friedrich Schiller Universität
Department of English Studies
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