Thematic roles and syntactic structure

Suppose that one adopts a broadly Chomskyan perspective, in which there is a distinction between the language faculty and other cognitive faculties, including what Chomsky has recently called the “Conceptual-Intensional system”. Then there must in principle be at least three stages in this association that need to be understood. First, there is the nonlinguistic stage of conceptualizing a particular event.1 For example, while all of the participants in an event may be affected by the event in some way or another, human cognizers typically focus on one or the other of those changes as being particularly salient or relevant to their interests. This participant is taken to be the “theme” or “patient” of the event, perhaps in some kind of nonlinguistic conceptual representation, such as the one developed by Jackendoff (1983, 1990b). Second, this conceptual/thematic representation is associated with a linguistic representation in which the entity seen as the patient of the event is represented as (say) an NP that is the direct object of the verb that expresses what kind of an event it was. This is the interface between language and the conceptual system. Finally, there is the possibility of adjusting this representation internally to the language system, by way of movements, chain formations, Case assignment processes, or whatever other purely syntactic processes there may be. For example, the NP that represents the theme and starts out as the direct object of the verb may become the subject if there is no other subject in the linguistic representation, either because there was no agent in the conceptual representation (as with an unaccusative verb), or because it was suppressed (as with a passive verb).
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,037
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

79 ( #56,680 of 1,934,364 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #113,252 of 1,934,364 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.