Case, Scope, and Binding by M. Bittner

By M. Bittner

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This is not completely straightforward, since many of the tests that are normally employed in evaluating alignment are syntactic in nature, and we are explicitly interested in investigating alignment where syntax is not a direct factor in determining alignment. I shall not in the main be making any controversial claims, but simply following the logical implications of a number of accepted assumptions about linguistic structure. Apart from examining splits in the encoding of the S or a monovalent clause—something that is essential (though not sufficient) to the consideration of semantic alignment in a language—I shall also examine bivalent clauses to find parallel instances of semantic information appearing in otherwise syntactically aligned coding strategies (see Beavers 2006 for a recent synthesis of these Semantic alignment systems: what’s what, and what’s not 25 kinds of alternations, which include the well-described conative alternations of English).

This has been the claim, whether overt or otherwise, since Boas and Deloria (1941) described the grammar of Dakota (Lakota); the kinds of factor that can contribute to these morphosyntactically coded distinctions in semantics are well described in Merlan (1985) and Mithun (1991). If we wish to claim that semantic alignment is a linguistic type, and not simply an epiphenomenal feature that emerges in some languages as the result of the ‘direct’ coding of semantic roles in the morphosyntax of a language, we need to carefully examine both parts of the term: ‘semantic’ and ‘alignment’.

4 Dyirbal examples have been retranscribed in a version of a general Australianist orthography. The velar stop is shown as , to avoid confusion between sequences of /n/+/g/ and the velar nasal /N/, shown as (voicing is not contrastive in Dyirbal). vblzr-nfut look-nfut cradle-loc bayi nyalngka [ wanda-ngu ] bubi-n bangkukarra-ku. ’ (literally, ‘a baby that (someone) had hung up there in a cradle’) Examples of S,A restrictions in relative clauses are easy to find in many other languages, and will not be illustrated here (see Keenan and Comrie 1977 and much subsequent work).

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