Volume 5, Issue 4 (2011) Pp. 1–20.
- The Dual Structure of Halkomelem Motion Verbs
- by Donna Gerdts, Simon Fraser University and Thomas E. Hukari, University of Victoria
Most intransitive verbs in Halkomelem straightforwardly
subcategorize into unergatives and unaccusatives, based on
combinatorial diagnostics. However, one group of verbs, motion
verbs, exhibits mixed properties, behaving like both unergatives
and unaccusatives. We present an analysis of motion verbs that
reconciles this paradox: Halkomelem motion verbs are
simultaneously both agent-oriented and patient-oriented. To be
more precise, verb structure consists of three tiers: a valence tier,
a thematic tier, and an action tier. Motion verbs differ from other
intransitives in how their action tiers are structured. The theme of
the motion is both an actor and an undergoer. The presence of an
actor satisfies conditions on unergatives, and the presence of an
undergoer satisfies conditions on unaccusatives. Crosslinguistically, verbs of motion tend to present a puzzling array of
properties. Our work on Halkomelem contributes to the catalog
of facts about motion verbs in the world’s languages.
KEYWORDS: Hul’q’umi’num’/Halkomelem, Salish, verb classes, motion verbs, transitive, causative, antipassive
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