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Argument Structures

From:jonathan.jones <jonathan.jones@...>
Date:Sunday, August 20, 2000, 10:37
OK, will this work? (Sorry - my first post to this list.)

Right. I've wondered this for a while.

Apart from the standard "transitive", "intransitive", and "ditransitive" verbs found in English, 
and the "reflexive" verbs in Romance languages, I'm not really familiar with many ways to 
introduce various argument structures into languages. So when working on the verbs in my (as 
yet unnamed) conlang, I tried to start from scratch and managed to list the following:

"transitive": 1 agent, 1 patient              [I taught him]
"transitive, focused": 1 agent, 1 patient, 1 focus    [I taught him Linguistics]
"reflexive" : 1 agent/patient [I taught myself]
"reflexive, focused" 1 agent/patient, 1 focus  [I taught myself Linguistics]
"reciprocal": 2 agent/patient     sort of:[I taught him and he taught me] 
"reciprocal, focused" 2 agent/patient, 1 focus [ we taught each other linguistics]
          {actually,  i think a better example is trade: [we exchanged goods]}
"intransitive": 1 experiencer   [John learnt]
"intransitive, focused": 1 experiencer, 1 focus [John learnt lingustics]

Actually, I lie. Some of that was taken from an essay "lexical semantics" I found on the net.
I forget who wrote it.

Anyway the conlang is VSO, so a verb followed by 3 nouns could mean any of those things, 
with only the vowel sequence of the verb to distinguish them. As the language rather hinges on
the verbs, I'm a little reluctant to press on until I'm sure I've covered all angles. So can anyone
here please suggest anything I may have missed.



(Oh, I can't help feeling that English is a very bad language in which to discus this. Now I read 
back through this message, I begin to wonder whether "wonder" used at the top, is acutally
NOT transitive, after all. Can I "wonder this"? Comments anyone?)