Article published in:Transitivity: Form, Meaning, Acquisition, and Processing
Edited by Patrick Brandt and Marco García García
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 166] 2010
► pp. 119–140
Non-zero/non-zero alternations in differential object marking
This article presents an extension of the theory of differential argument encoding developed in Aissen (1999, 2003). It is based on the empirical observation that the yes/no alternations envisaged in Aissen’s system are only part of a much broader less/more pattern. We maintain Aissen’s hypothesis that the effects of differential argument encoding can be derived from harmonic alignment of markedness scales, but we argue that differential encoding should best be viewed as a purely morphological phenomenon (rather than as a syntactic phenomenon, as in Aissen’s approach). More specifically, we suggest that harmonic alignment of scales may bring about impoverishment operations that reduce syntactic inputs for morphological realization (see Halle & Marantz (1993)). The result is a unified account for differential argument encoding that comprises alternations between two or more overt markers, which fall out of Aissen’s systems. The empirical evidence for our approach comes from Hindi, Mannheim German, Trumai, and Cavineña.
Published online: 17 November 2010