Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Radical Construction GrammarSyntactic Theory in Typological Perspective$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

William Croft

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299554

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299554.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 27 June 2019

Clausal Syntactic Roles (“Grammatical Relations”)

Clausal Syntactic Roles (“Grammatical Relations”)

(p.132) 4 Clausal Syntactic Roles (“Grammatical Relations”)
Radical Construction Grammar

William Croft (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The syntactic roles (grammatical relations) of subject and object are semantically irregular but their syntactic behavior is claimed to be syntactically unified, thereby justifying the existence of formal syntactic roles independent of meaning. Subject and object are certainly polysemous categories semantically, but syntactically they are no simpler. Ergativity shows that syntactic roles can vary across languages. Ergativity has been discounted in most syntactic theories by selectively ignoring certain constructions such as case marking and agreement (methodological opportunism). But the variation across and even within languages conforms to a universal implicational hierarchy, the Subject Construction Hierarchy: coordination < purpose clauses < relative clauses < agreement < case marking. If a construction patterns ergatively at some point on the hierarchy, then all constructions to the right also pattern ergatively. Language-specific syntactic roles can be mapped onto a conceptual space whose structure represents the semantic participant roles and the Subject Construction Hierarchy.

Keywords:   grammatical relations, subject, object, ergativity, split intransitivity, agreement, case marking, coordination, relative clause, purpose clause

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .