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Title: Cross-linguistic Variation in Object Marking
Written By: Peter De Swart
Series Title: LOT Dissertation Series

This dissertation shows how languages differ in their morphosyntactic
sensitivity to variations in the semantics of direct objects. Whereas some
languages reflect semantic changes of the direct object in its marking
others do not. As a result, we observe mismatches between semantic and
morphosyntactic transitivity in the latter type of languages. This becomes
particularly clear in a detailed study of the cognate object construction in
English. Besides, this dissertation shows that a cross-linguistically
uniform phenomenon can be driven by various motivations. This is
demonstrated for differential object marking, a cross-linguistically
recurrent phenomenon in which direct objects are overtly case marked
depending on their semantic features. Two factors appear to govern
differential object marking crosslinguistically: prominence-based marking
and recoverability of grammatical roles. For some languages only one of
these factors can be identified to be of importance, but in other
languages, they are simultaneously responsible for object marking. In order
to accommodate the full pattern of differential object marking, a
bidirectional optimality-theoretic model is developed in which
speakers take into account the perspective of the hearer. By doing so, this
study nicely shows how typological and optimality-theoretical insights can
be combined in order to gain more insight in the interaction of the
universal principles that guide the marking of direct objects in natural
language. Therefore, this study is of interest to researchers of various
linguistic backgrounds concerned with the interaction between semantics and
morphosyntax and more specifically to those interested in the areas of
transitivity and case marking.

Publication Year: 2007
Publisher: Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke (LOT)
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Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
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Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9789078328391
Pages: 235
Prices: Europe EURO 23.01