By Mário Alberto Perini

The elaboration of linguistic theories relies on the life of enough descriptions of specific languages; in a different way theories may be poorly grounded on empirical facts. This publication begins from theoretical issues of huge popularity between linguists and is going directly to current a descriptive metalanguage, in a position to exhibit the proof of verb valency, which represent one of many center components in linguistic description. lots of the facts come from an in depth survey below means of the valency of Portuguese verbs; however the current work’s relevance is going way past that, and features a inspiration acceptable to different eu languages, illustrated through the wealth of English examples incorporated within the exposition. one of the subject matters mentioned are the syntactic element of buildings (following right here an offer lately released in Culicover and Jackendoff’s Simpler Syntax); delimitation and definition of semantic roles; the position of linking principles and their relation to prototypes; and the relationship among linguistic expressions and cognitive devices corresponding to frames and schemata. the result's a notational method versatile and powerful sufficient to explain all facets of verb valency.

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Example text

Yet in the nominal version, [52] Carol’s stay in Lisbon for most of the summer (was memorable). the syntax of the Location constituent is the same: in Lisbon. That is, all we can say is that if the syntax differs in the two types of constructions, we have a dependent constituent (a “complement”), but if it is the same, we may have a dependent constituent or an autonomous one (an “adjunct”). This is what we can say for the moment, and still requires some research. In any case, we have here an additional criterion showing that there are indeed two types of constituents, distinguished by their mode of dependency on the construction head.

All this is left in a schematic state, and results from a general principle governing the evocation of schemata. The Agent, here the subject, can also be left in its “raw” schematic state; this happens in subjectless subordinate clauses like [35] Ler cata´logos e´ u´til. ‘reading catalogues is useful’ The subordinate clause ler cat alogos ‘reading catalogues’ has no subject and no person-number suffix, and consequently the Agent (which would be elaborated by the subject and/or the suffix, if present) is understood as having schematic reference.

Passar3 means ‘be (in health)’ (como passas? ’) + ‘pass for’ (ele passa por maluco ‘he passes for a madman’) + ‘happen’ (passa-se cada coisa! ’). The criteria for analyzing each reading as passar1, passar2 or passar3 seem arbitrary: we would actually need many other verbs passar in order to do justice to the semantic complexity of this verb. And that is exactly the point: the complexity of passar is semantic, not formal, and must be described in the semantic component—one verb (formal item) corresponds to many readings (and schemata).

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