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image of Dogon pseudo-subjects with or without true subjects
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Abstract

Abstract

Dogon pseudo-subjects are bare meteorological, temporal-environmental, and partonymic nouns of low referentiality/specificity that occur in fixed noun-verb collocations. The pseudo-subject controls the choice of verb in all cases, but it fails to behave like a true subject in linear position, in a quotative-subject construction, or in pronominal-subject agreement. The pseudo-subject is the sole nominal in these meteorological and temporal collocations, but in partonymic collocations it co-occurs with a true subject denoting the possessor-experiencer. The latter has all of the clear subject properties except controlling the choice of verb. Pseudo-subjects have some similarities with, but are distinct from, a range of typologically familiar phenomena including impersonal subjects, direct objects, possessums stranded by possessor raising, East Asian-style second subjects or post-topic subjects, incorporated nouns, and adverbial adjuncts. They can be classified as pseudo-incorporated nominals if this category is broad enough to include subject-like as well as object-like nominals. The relevant constructions are easily modelled in construction grammars, but not in arboreal syntax.

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/content/journals/10.1075/sl.21047.hea
2022-09-13
2022-09-26
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: subject ; pseudo-subject ; Dogon ; impersonal ; partonym ; meteorological
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