Chapter 16. Valence change

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Valence comprises the number of arguments a verb (maximally) takes. Valence is not an invariable notion, but the valence of verbs may be either increased (e.g. causative) or decreased (passive) by modifying the verbal morphology. In this chapter, an overview of the central valence changing operations will be given from both a general perspective and the perspective of Zapotec languages. First, both valence increase and decrease will be illustrated in light of numerous examples from different languages. This will be followed by an examination of the valence change in Zapotec languages. Special attention will be paid to those properties of Zapotec languages that can be seen as intriguing from a cross-linguistic perspective. These comprise, e.g. the high number of causatives, the lack of passive in most Zapotec languages, and the recursive marking of valence change.


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