Each verb in natural language is associated with a set of arguments, which
are not systematically predictable from the verb’s meaning and are realized
syntactically as the projected sentence’s subject, direct object, etc.
Babby puts forward the theory that this set of arguments (the verb’s
“argument structure”) has a universal hierarchical composition which
directly determines the sentence’s case and grammatical relations. The
structure is uniform across language families and types, and this theory is
supported by the fact that the core grammatical relations within simple
sentences of all human languages are essentially identical. Babby
determines and empirically justifies the rigid hierarchical organization of
argument structure on which this theory rests. The book uses examples taken
primarily from Russian, a language whose complex inflectional system, free
word order, and lack of obligatory determiners make it the typological
polar opposite of English.
Cambridge Studies in Linguistics