Categorization and semantics of subject-like obliques

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This chapter’s underlying framework is one of functionalist cognitive linguistics.It suggest a categorization of non-prototypical trajector (subject) constructionsinto syntax-, gram- and lexeme-driven ones depending on the nature ofthe domain that triggers the oblique case-marking on the trajector argument.Additionally, a unified semantic account is proposed, which is based on thecomparison with causative events. The structure of these events consists of anantecedent subevent (typically implicit) and a subsequent subevent. This studyargues that constructions with non-prototypical trajectors (subjects) refer toconsequent events. That is, all three types of constructions exhibit an invariantsemantic core; they conceptualize the event as being a (causally) consequentevent and imply the existence of a causally antecedent event. The differencesbetween the three types pertain mainly to the referential properties of theantecedent event and its main participant: while with the syntax-driven typethe antecedent event is explicit, referential and conceptualized onstage, with thegram-driven type it is implicit, non-referential and offstage, though confined toa particular concept. The lexeme-driven type only implies the existence of anantecedent event; it does not, however, commit any assessment on the conceptualizationof this event.


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