The directive/locative alternation in Lithuanian and elsewhere

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This article analyzes the directive/locative argument alternation, both in Baltic and Slavic languages and cross-linguistically. The alternation in question appears to be connected to a number of parameters (focus, deixis, presence or absence of extra force, informational structure, voice, etc.), which tend to trigger either locative or directive coding of NPs/PPs. Another factor contributing to the choice of directive or locative NPs/PPs is the semantic group of the verb. Thus, in Lithuanian and neighbouring languages (Latvian, Russian, Belarusian, Polish) the alternating verbs form a hierarchy, where directed motion verbs tend to be coded most directionally, and verbs of sinking and burying more locationally, with other groups occupying intermediate positions. The possibility of the directive/locative argument alternation also depends on what the location is, with in and on allowing alternation in most languages of the area under consideration, while in front of, over and between allow the alternation only in Czech and Polish. Finally, some minor differences concerning several alternating semantic groups (‘get together’, ‘get stuck in’, ‘lock up’) in Baltic and Slavic languages are analyzed.


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