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

Greville Corbett g.corbett at surrey.ac.uk
Sat Mar 19 12:02:31 UTC 2022

Hi Adam

If you go to the Surrey Morphology Group site (https://www.smg.surrey.ac.uk/), got to ‘projects’ and scroll right down you’ll find
"Turning owners into actors: Possessive morphology as subject-indexing in languages of the Bougainville region”.  Bill Palmer’s the person you need.
Very best

On 19 Mar 2022, at 11:28, Adam James Ross Tallman <ajrtallman at utexas.edu<mailto:ajrtallman at utexas.edu>> wrote:

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 structure).

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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