Case and semantic roles

Brygida Rudzka-Ostyn
Table of contents

The concepts of case and semantic role belong, strictly speaking, to different levels of linguistic description. Yet they are commonly brought together as they both concern the same type of functions that nominal constituents assume within clause or phrase structure. These functions reflect the different ways in which entities, concrete or abstract, relate to one another. What the two concepts ultimately pertain to, then, are relation participants or, more accurately, their conceptualization by language users. This common domain of application is a source of confusion, terminological and other, further compounded by the ambiguity of case and the many alternative terms used with reference to semantic roles.

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