Case in Role and Reference Grammar

Robert D. Van Valin

in The Oxford Handbook of Case

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199206476
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Case in Role and Reference Grammar

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This article discusses the theory of case assignment in role and reference grammar (RRG). RRG is a monostratal, non-derivational theory which posits a direct linking between syntax and semantics; discourse-pragmatics may play a role in this linking. Case marking in RRG is handled rather differently than in other theories: first, it is not assigned on the basis of grammatical relations; second, it is not assigned on the basis of phrase structure configurations; and third, it may directly reflect the semantic or pragmatic status of an argument, in some languages. This article first summarises the linking system in RRG, concentrating on those aspects of it that are relevant to case marking. It then describes the basics of nominative-accusative and ergative-absolutive case assignment, the treatment of other significant argument-marking cases (dative and instrumental), and the two most important complications affecting these case assignment rules. It concludes with a discussion of languages in which case assignment is strongly affected by discourse-pragmatics.

Keywords: case assignment; role and reference grammar; discourse-pragmatics; case marking; linking; languages; syntax; semantics; case

Article.  5693 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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