The Locative Alternation in German

Its structure and acquisition

ISBN 9789027224811 (Eur) | EUR 105.00
ISBN 9781556197789 (USA) | USD 158.00
ISBN 9789027281715 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
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This monograph deals with the locative alternation in German, a change in the argument structure of verbs like spray and load. Like most argument structure changes, the alternation is both productive and constrained: new forms may be derived, but not from all candidate verbs. This raises a learnability problem: how can children determine, in the absence of negative evidence, which verbs participate in the alternation? The Locative Alternation in German tries to answer this question by providing an in-depth analysis of the conditions that verbs must meet in order to participate in the alternation. Most importantly, transitive verbs must allow speakers to presuppose the existence of their theme argument. This condition requires the theme to be incremental so that it can be conceived of as nonindividuated (or unbounded) when the verb is used in the alternative syntactic frame. The Nonindividuation Hypothesis splits locative verbs into two types, mass verbs (like spray) and count verbs (like load), and it predicts that children acquire the alternation first for mass verbs, whose theme must be a substance and so is nonindividuated by default. Support for this hypothesis is provided in the empirical part of the book, which also provides evidence against claims in the literature that children acquire the alternation by drawing on an innate Affectness Linking Rule.
Publishing status: Available
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Cited by

Cited by 11 other publications

Arad, Maya
2006. The Spray‐Load Alternation. In The Blackwell Companion to Syntax,  pp. 466 ff. DOI logo
Beavers, John
2017.  The Spray/Load Alternation . In The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Syntax, Second Edition,  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Bidgood, Amy, Ben Ambridge, Julian M. Pine, Caroline F. Rowland & Mark Aronoff
2014. The Retreat from Locative Overgeneralisation Errors: A Novel Verb Grammaticality Judgment Study. PLoS ONE 9:5  pp. e97634 ff. DOI logo
Kemmerer, David
2000. Grammatically relevant and grammatically irrelevant features of verb meaning can be independently impaired. Aphasiology 14:10  pp. 997 ff. DOI logo
Lewandowski, Wojciech
2014. The locative alternation in verb-framed vs. satellite-framed languages. Studies in Language 38:4  pp. 864 ff. DOI logo
Los, Bettelou
Mateu, Jaume
2017. Two types of locative alternation. In Verb Valency Changes [Typological Studies in Language, 120],  pp. 52 ff. DOI logo
McIntyre, Andew
2003. Preverbs, argument linking and verb semantics: Germanic prefixes and particles. In Yearbook of Morphology 2003 [Yearbook of Morphology, ],  pp. 119 ff. DOI logo
Pedersen, Johan
2023. Chapter 8. Danish verb prefixes and the schematizing transitive prefix construction. In Constructional Approaches to Nordic Languages [Constructional Approaches to Language, 37],  pp. 212 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2006. Consolidated References. In The Blackwell Companion to Syntax,  pp. 439 ff. DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 13 november 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Main BIC Subject

CF: Linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  97026692 | Marc record