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Re: not un-/anti-passive

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Monday, June 23, 2008, 23:18
On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 2:57 PM, Eldin Raigmore
<eldin_raigmore@...> wrote:
> Among the possible problems are, what exactly is meant by "valency"? > Is the valency of a verb (while sitting, unused but ready for use, in the > lexicon), > * the number of _arguments_ it _allows_ (including oblique arguments)? > * the number of _arguments_ it _requires_ (including obligatory obliques)? > * the number of _core_ arguments it _allows_ ? > * the number of _core_ arguments it _requires_ ? > > Or does "valency" refer to the verb as actually used in a given clause? > * the number of _arguments_ actually showing up (including oblique > arguments)? > * the number of _core_ arguments actually showing up?
Perhaps a little computer science terminology could be borrowed to disambiguate at least between those two broad groups? Programmers draw a distinction between a subroutine's *parameters* (the things it expects to receive; meaningful when talking about the subroutine in the abstract independently of any call) and its *arguments* (the things it actually receives; meaningful when talking about a particular call to the subroutine, but also when talking abstractly about the relationship between arguments and parameters within a given parameter-passing style). I'm afraid that even in CS-land the definition of "valency" is still an open question where subroutines with a variable number of parameters are concerned. -- Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>