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Basic Intransitivity: A Typologically Relevant Feature for Indo-Aryan

Abstract : The paper deals with the status of intransitivity in the global economy of the language in Hindi/Urdu. While arguing for the basic character of intransitive basis (on morphonological and syntactic grounds), in the first section, I also show (second section) that the behaviour of reflexive pronouns and emphatics in Hindi/Urdu is typical of languages which display a single base for both uses (reflexive /emphatic) and never use it for decreasing verbal valence, as opposed to languages which use the reflexive to form an middle voice derived from transitive verbs. The argument structure in Hindi/Urdu (including the reshaping of arguments and roles in modal statements), analysed in the third section, suggests that semantic roles are strictly constrained in transitive sentences, and that intransitive sentences allow for a variety of "atypical" agents, apart from the well-known non agentive patterns (experiencer, localizer, etc.). It can be concluded from such facts that the basic pattern for simple sentences is not the transitive one but the intransitive one, in contrast with the prototypical transitive event with cause and result (represented by the canonical two place predicate (with agent and patient) as it is usually assumed on the basis of European languages.
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Contributor : Annie Montaut <>
Submitted on : Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 12:22:36 PM
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Annie Montaut. Basic Intransitivity: A Typologically Relevant Feature for Indo-Aryan. O.N. KOUL. Indo-Aryan Linguistics, Central Institute of Indian Languages, pp.29-46, 2011. ⟨halshs-00659201⟩



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