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Re: Secret Agents or Agent Secrets?

From:Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Date:Thursday, August 5, 1999, 4:48
Jim Grossmann wrote:
> Is an "agent" ALWAYS something that acts on something else? > > Or can an "agent" do actions without an object, like "jump" and "skip?"
No, at least I don't think so. Agent indicates something that volitionally acts upon something else. Altho, of course, agent is often compounded with other roles like subject and mover in actual languages.
> If the answer to the last one is "no," then what do we call the jumper or > skipper? I've heard the term "mover" used, but what about verbs that stand > for things voluntarily done that don't necessarily involve movement like > "meditate?"
Well, there are a lot of terms for different roles. "S" (short for subject) is often used as a cover term for intransitive subjects.
> In languages that don't need reflexive pronoun, what name do we give the > subject's semantic role? (I don't think they're called "atients" or > "pagents.")
Good question. I dunno.
> What do we call the semantic role of the subject in a clause with reciprocal > voice in a language that needs no reciprocal pronoun?
Probably the same as the subject in reflexive. -- "[H]e axed after eggys: And the goode wyf answerde, that she coude not speke no Frenshe ... And then at last a nother sayd that he woulde haue hadde eyren: then the goode wyf sayd that she vnderstood hym wel." -- William Caxton ICQ: 18656696 AIM Screen-Name: NikTailor