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Verbal prefixation and argument structure in Lithuanian

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Abstract

This paper describes the possible changes affecting a verb’s argument structure when a prefix is added. The analyzed data show that most often attachment of a prefix adds a new slot to a verb’s valency, namely a peripheral adjunct becomes a core argument usually marked by the accusative. This process can be called applicativization, and prefixal derivation thus belongs to the group of valence-increasing formations. The syntactic status of the added arguments is analyzed by applying various transitivity tests. These tests show that most of the added arguments behave as direct objects and the change of the verb’s argument structure can be regarded as transitivization. However, some arguments behave as direct objects only with originally intransitive verbs but look like obligatory accusative-marked adjuncts with other verbs. The article also discusses cases where prefixation changes case marking, rearranges a verb’s arguments, or licenses syntactic alternations.

References

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