Some semantic and pragmatic aspects of object alternation in Early Vedic

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In Early Vedic, the earliest attested stage of Indo-Aryan, many two-place verbs allow their object argument to be alternately expressed by two or more case categories, i.e., they show <i>object alternation</i>. In this paper I examine three different object alternation patterns and show that they have similar semantic and pragmatic properties. I argue that the object case marking and object alternation options of a given verb depends on two semantic dimensions, namely its relative inherent transitivity and its aspectual properties. Interestingly, the use of the Early Vedic case categories as object markers appears to be partially independent of their use as adverbial adjuncts. The various object alternation patterns found in Early Vedic represent a fruitful starting point for exploring the morphosyntax-semantics interface in this language.


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