Alternations in argument realization and problematic cases of subjecthood in Lithuanian

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The paper focuses on subject properties in Lithuanian sentences containing verbs participating in the swarm alternation. In neither variant of the Lithuanian swarm alternation can either of the two arguments (i.e., the locational and the non-locational argument) be considered a prototypical subject, i.e., be said to display properties on the lexical (semantic), grammatical, and discourse levels of representation that are typical of a prototypical subject. The discrepancies between subject properties on distinct levels of representation are triggered by a set of discourse-pragmatic and semantic features characteristic of the swarm alternation. One of the basic discourse-pragmatic features characteristic of some of its variants is that they function as presentational constructions and pragmatically their subjects are not construed as topics but as sentence foci. Subjects of presentationals are obligatorily marked by a focus pitch accent. This property of presentationals conditions a spread of subject properties over the (pro)nominal constituents of a clause. Other semantic-pragmatic properties contributing both to alternation in subject realization and discrepancies between subject properties on distinct levels of representation are: (i) the obligatory requirement of a location participant on the lexical-semantic and discourse-pragmatic levels of representation; (ii) the pragmatic requirement for verbs displaying presentational constructions to be informationally light in context; (iii) a decrease in agentivity properties of agent arguments triggered by the discourse-pragmatic function of presentationals and realized on the lexical-semantic and, in some instances, the (morpho)syntactic level of representation; (iv) the semantic-pragmatic requirement for non-locational arguments of the swarm alternation to be indefinite plurals or mass terms rather than singular NPs and to denote unidentifiable referents.


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