Syntactic Valence in Role and Reference Grammar


  • Beatriz Martínez Fernández University of La Rioja



Transitivity has traditionally been equated with the number of syntactic arguments that a verb takes. However, Role and Reference Grammar (RRG) puts forward a new approach that defines transitivity in terms of macro-roles, leaving the notion of syntactic valence aside. It is perhaps for this reason that the notion of syntactic valence has not received sufficient attention in this framework, and, consequently, some inconsistencies have been identified in its definition. To mention only a few, there is no proper definition of the criteria that determine the notion of syntactic valence, and many of the grammatical processes that have some impact on it – the use of the passive voice and imperatives, the presence of argument-adjuncts, or the position of the arguments in the clause – are overlooked. Hence, in this paper I carry out a critical revision of the definition of syntactic valence and aim to set out some guidelines for a more accurate treatment of this notion within the RRG framework.


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How to Cite

Martínez Fernández, B. (2008). Syntactic Valence in Role and Reference Grammar. Journal of English Studies, 5, 233–244.