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Canonical and non-canonical marking of core arguments in European languages

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Abstract

It is observed that the prepositional direct object phenomena are related to past participle agreement and auxiliary selection in compound tenses. The purpose of this paper is to show that verb properties and object referent properties co-occur in prepositional direct object selection. Data from Spanish, Sardinian, Sicilian, Calabrian, Maltese and Roumanian are examined. The triggering parameters are the same in all the languages that are considered: 1) object affectedness (and, consequently, verb telicity), 2) object agentivity, 3) object individuation. Each parameter represents a scale according to which verb phrases (or clauses) can be ranked and, then, objects are more or less likely to be prepositional (= non-canonically marked) or non-prepositional (canonically marked).

References

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