Dative Subjects in Germanic: A computational analysis of lexical semantic verb classes across time and space
One of the functions of the dative is to mark non‐prototypical subjects, i.e. subjects that somehow deviate from the agentive prototype. As all subbranches of Indo‐European (cf. Barðdal et al. 2012), the Germanic languages exhibit structures where the subject or the subject‐like argument is not in the nominative case, but in the accusative, dative or genitive, for instance. The focus of this article is on the dative, leaving accusative and genitive subjects aside, in particular homing in on lexical semantic similarities and differences between the different Germanic languages. We will compare Modern Icelandic, Modern Faroese, and Modern German, on the one hand, and the historical Germanic languages, i.e. Gothic, Old English, Old Saxon, Old High German, Middle English, Middle Dutch, Middle German, Old Icelandic and Old Swedish, on the other. The goal of this comparison is to document the semantic development of the construction across time, and to reconstruct a semantic field for Proto‐Germanic on the basis of this comparison. As the Germanic languages are both genetically and areally related, we will suggest a computational model aiming at disentangling genetic and geographical factors, in order to estimate to which degree the two interact with each other across languages and across historical eras.
Complex verbs and their history, especially particle + verb and verb + particle
Old English had at least three types of complex verbs, namely compound verbs (or rather verbs derived from compounds, e.g. cynehelmian ‘to crown’ from cynehelm ‘crown, royal crown’), verbs with genuine prefixes (e.g. unweorðian ‘to dishonour’), and verbs with locative particles (e.g. onsendan, onasendan ‘to send forth’). Although genuine prefixes and locative particles are not always easy to distinguish in practice and are often lumped together in handbooks of word-formation, they should be kept apart in principle, because genuine prefixes are bound morphemes, whereas locative particles also occur as free morphemes, in independent use. Another difference between those two types is that prefixes always precede their verb, whereas locative particles sometimes precede the verb and sometimes follow it in Old English (e. g. ingan and gan in ‘go in, enter’; he forðferde and he ferde forð ‘he went forth, passed by, passed away’). This type still exists in German, where it is usually called ‘verbs with separable prefixes’ (although, as I have just argued, the term prefix is not quite correct here). Moreover, in Old English it is not always clear whether these verbs should be analysed as syntactic groups consisting of a particle (adverb) plus verb or as a kind of compound verbs (particle + verb). In any case, the variable position of the particle (before or after the verb) was given up in the later history of English. In a few combinations the particle always precedes the verb (e.g. to outbid, to underestimate), whereas in the majority of cases, the particle follows the verb (to go in) – these are the so-called phrasal verbs (or verb+particle combinations), which form a large and important group in Modern English. They do not belong to word-formation proper, however, but they certainly form lexical units and are often idiomatized (e.g. to do in ‘to kill’, to do up ‘to fasten’, to give up ‘to stop doing something’). In the lecture I shall outline the history of those verbs from Old English to Present-Day English as well as discuss problems connected with their analysis, classification, and terminology. Many native prefixes and particles died out, especially during Middle English, and were replaced by loan-prefixes. I shall also briefly look at the development of compound verbs. This type still exists in Modern English. It is usually assumed, however, that they are not formed directly, but rather through zero-derivation or backformation from existing groups or compounds (e.g. to spotlight from the noun spotlight, or to stagemanage from stagemanager).
Some Questions Concerning Accomplishments
Robert D. Van Valin, Jr.
Role and Reference Grammar is unique in recognizing bounded activities as a distinct Aktionsart category, labeling them ‘active accomplishments’, in order to distinguish them from bounded processes, which are termed simply ‘accomplishments’. Active accomplishments are divided into two subtypes, motion active accomplishments, and non-motion, each with a slightly different logical structure. Van Valin (2005) argued for a change in the decomposition of accomplishments, which had serious implications for the analysis of active accomplishments. This paper argues that this change resulted in a semantic representation which made it possible to capture the incremental nature of many activity predicates and the corresponding active accomplishments.