Arguments or macroroles? : Two functional approaches to Old English quirky case

Francisco Javier Martín Arista, Laura Caballero González


After comparing two functional approaches to the question of Old English deviant accusatives, genitives and datives, this paper follows Martín Arista (2001a, b) with respect to Old English prototypical verbal constructions: the prototypical transitive construction is defined as the active accomplishment version of verbs like writan 'write', the activity implementation of creation and consumption verbs representing the less-prototypical transitive construction; the active accomplishment use of verbs such as faran 'go' characterize the prototypical intransitive construction, whereas the activity version of motion verbs define the less-prototypical intransitive construction. The conclusion is reached that quirky case is not a feature of the morphosyntax of certain intransitive verbs of state and causative state, but a characteristic of verbal constructions that, deviating from both the transitive and the intransitive prototypes, show not only case-marking irregularity but also more case-marking choices than verbs that abide by the transitive or intransitive prototype. Since marked morphosyntax -including quirky case- is considered in this paper a consequence of the non-prototypical character of argument structure, it is claimed that the relationship between canonical lexical templates and their configurations should be semantically and syntactically motivated. The Principle of Lexical Template Instantiation guarantees the suitable degree of implementation of a lexical template by stipulating that, prototypically, all the internal variables of the instantiations of lexical templates are fully specified

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