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7 - Case and agreement

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Paul R. Kroeger
Affiliation:
Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas
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Summary

As we pointed out in chapter 5, word order (or position in the Phrase Structure) is the most important clue for identifying Grammatical Relations in English: subjects normally come before the verb, direct objects immediately after the verb, etc. This kind of clue would not be very helpful for a language like Malayalam, in which (as the examples in (1) show) word order is relatively free. Yet speakers of Malayalam must have some way of distinguishing subjects from objects, or they would never be able to understand each other.

Every language must have some way of indicating the Grammatical Relations of clausal elements, and of distinguishing one relation from another. As we have seen, prepositions are often used to mark oblique arguments and adjuncts. For identifying the term relations (subjects and objects), three basic devices are available: word order, case marking, and agreement. Any particular language will make use of one or more of these options. Since we have already introduced some basic ideas about word order in earlier chapters, this chapter will focus on the other two options, beginning with case.

Case

How are subjects, direct objects, and secondary objects identified in the following Malayalam sentences?

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Analyzing Grammar
An Introduction
, pp. 102 - 127
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2005

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  • Case and agreement
  • Paul R. Kroeger, Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas
  • Book: Analyzing Grammar
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511801679.008
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  • Case and agreement
  • Paul R. Kroeger, Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas
  • Book: Analyzing Grammar
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511801679.008
Available formats
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Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Case and agreement
  • Paul R. Kroeger, Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas
  • Book: Analyzing Grammar
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511801679.008
Available formats
×