Obliqueness, quasi-subjects and transitivity in Baltic and Slavonic

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The article discusses the subjecthood of datival least-oblique NPs (called ‘subject-like obliques’ in the introduction to this volume) in clauses based on intransitive two-place predicates, mainly with reference to Baltic and Slavonic. The approach in the article crucially invokes the notions of obliqueness hierarchy and case hierarchy. Canonical subjecthood being defined as the pairing of least-oblique status with nominative marking, structures without this canonical pairing are said to show diffuseness of subject properties, datival quasi-subjects occurring alongside demoted intransitive subjects (the parallel of ditransitive structures is invoked). It is argued that obliqueness adjustments, i. e. changes in case marking serving to bring it into accordance with syntactic obliqueness, are the driving force behind changes in case marking and grammatical relations in the constructions under discussion.


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