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Transitivity, constructions, and the projection of argument structure in RRG

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Abstract

Traditional “projectionist” accounts of transitivity project the argument structure of a clause from the head verb. Some studies within Construction Grammar have shown this does not account for cases in which syntactic frames override a verb’s inherent transitivity, arguing instead that transitivity is determined by the syntactic construction. Such examples typically come from English and related languages in which many or most verbs freely occur in transitive or intransitive frames without any overt derivational morphology. However, in languages such as Tepehua (Totonacan), verbs have rigidly specified transitivity, with no such overriding of argument structure. Role and Reference Grammar treats argument structure as a projection from the composite logical structure, accounting for clause structure in both types of languages.

References

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