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The Interaction of Valence and Information Structure

  • This dissertation investigates discourse-pragmatic differences between variably linked arguments appearing in alternating argument structure constructions in the sense of Goldberg (1995) and Kay (manuscript). The properties that are studied include givenness, pragmatic relation (topic/focus), salience of referents, animacy, and others. They derive from the literature on sentence-type constructions such as topicalization and from research on the referential properties of NP form types. The research carried out here has multiple uses. At the most basic level, it serves as an empirical check on existing characterizations of the pragmatic properties of the relevant arguments that are the result of syntactic and semantic analysis based on introspection alone. For instance, for the epistemic raising alternation involving verbs like seem, the predicted topicality difference between the subjects of the raised and unraised constructions (Langacker 1995) could not be confirmed. This dissertation also addresses the question what kinds of pragmatic factors, if any, are relevant to argument structure constructions. Based on the evidence of the dative alternation, it does not seem to be the case that the kind of pragmatic influences on argument structure constructions are different or limited compared to the ones found to be relevant to sentence-type constructions. The kind of research undertaken here can also inform the syntactic and semantic analysis of constructions. In the case of the dative alternation, the discourse-pragmatic characteristics of the variably linked arguments provide evidence that Basilico’s (1998) analysis of the difference between the alternates in terms of VP-shells and a difference between thetic and categorical ‘inner’ predication, on the one hand does not account for all the data and on the other can be re-stated in pragmatic terms other than the thetic-categorical distinction. In addition to studies of valence alternations, this dissertation also discusses various null instantiation phenomena, which provide further evidence for the need to specify discourse-pragmatic properties as part of argument structure constructions and lexical entries. Finally, it is suggested that the use of randomly sampled corpus data and statistical modelling throughout this dissertation improves both empirical and analytical coverage.

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Author:Josef RuppenhoferGND
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Year of first Publication:2004
Date of Publication (online):2016/08/18
Reviewstate:Qualifikationsarbeit (Dissertation, Habilitationsschrift)
GND Keyword:Argumentstruktur; Automatische Sprachanalyse; Korpus <Linguistik>; Semantische Analyse; Sprachstatistik
Page Number:529
Externe Quelle: Berkley Linguistics. Open Access Publications from the University of California
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 410 Linguistik
Open Access?:ja
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt