Low transitivity in modem and old Lithuanian: parameters affecting the genitive marking of the object

Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Knygos dalis / Part of the book
Anglų kalba / English
Low transitivity in modem and old Lithuanian: parameters affecting the genitive marking of the object
Reikšminiai žodžiai: Dabartinė bendrinė lietuvių kalba; Galininkas; Kilmininkas; Objektas; Semantinė ypatybė; Senoji lietuvių kalba; Tranzityvumas; Veiksmažodis; Accusative; Genitive; Modern Standard Lithuanian; Object; Old Lithuanian; Semantic characteristic; Transitivity; Verb.
Bendrinė kalba. Kalbos norminimas / Standard language. Language standartization; Galininkas; Kalbos dalys. Morfologija / Morphology; Kilmininkas; Objektas; Semantika / Semantics; Senoji lietuvių kalba; Tranzityvumas.
Accusative; Genitive; Modern Standard Lithuanian; Object; Old Lithuanian; Semantic characteristic; Transitivity.
Summary / Abstract:

ENIn Modem Standard Lithuanian two different fadors are responsible for the genitive encoding of the object: affirmation and aspect. Only negated and inherently atelic verbs can govern the genitive object, as predicates characterized by low or reduced transitivity. Intensional verbs make up a homogeneous and very substantial nucleus within the class of atelic verbs in Modern Lithuanian. They take only genitive objects, as they are typically property-denoting. The morphological marking of the object is exclusively triggered by the semantics of the verb while the referential properties of the object, such as definiteness, individuation and above all EC play no role. In particular, the lack of relevance of EC clearly emerged when comparing Lithuanian with Russian, where ITVs can take both the accusative in the case of nominals with EC and the genitive in the case of nominals without EC. In Old Lithuanian the situation appears to be quite different. The syntactic behavior of memory verbs showed that in the encoding of the object there was a very relevant parameter related to the object, here called totalness. When the object is conceived as a whole, it is encoded by the accusative. This is particularly evident in those authors that typically use the genetivus memoriae, unless the object is determined by the universal quantifier "all". On the basis of Fraenkel's datement, the syntactic behavior of memory verbs might well be extended to ITVs. The relevance of totalness for ITVs is particularly significant because universal quantification, and thus the notion of totality, implies existence, as already demondrated in logics. The logical conclusion would thus be that EC played a role for ITVs in Old Lithuanian.The referential properties of the object, in particular the fact that is conceived as a whole and therefore individuated, used to be more important than the intrinsic semantic characteristics of the verb in Old Lithuanian. This exemplifies the need to organize the parameters into a hierarchy. From a diachronic perspective, it is clear that this hierarchy has changed over the centuries because the extent of the object is no longer relevant with memory verbs and ITVs as well as with many other verbs. By comparing memory verbs and search/desire verbs it was possible to observe that they have experienced a mirror-image development in argument realization: in Old Lithuanian they could govern both the genitive and accusative, while in Modern Lithuanian memory verbs extended the MBC and search/desire verbs extended the genitive case as objed marking. The main difference between them is that the former imply the exidence of their complement, while the latter do not. It would be interesting to investigate if and to what extent the parameter of EC played a role in this diachronic change. The last consideration which emerged is that the intensional genitive and the genitive of negation display a very analogous behavior both in Old Lithuanian and in Modern Lithuanian. This supports the theory of the genitive of negation and the intensional genitive being two instantiations of the same phenomenon, as recent cross-linguistic research has shown. In addition, it would suggest that parameters can со-vary not only in synchrony, as shown by Hopper and Thompson, but in diachrony as well.Investigation into transitivity in Old Lithuanian and Modem Lithuanian has brought to light a diachronic change in the argument realization of some verbs. Additional data should be gleaned from a Study of authors from the intervening historical periods in order to identify the different phases as well as the relevant parameters which brought about this transformation. [Extract, p. 194-196]

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2020-04-10 06:41:10
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