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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

Article [PDF file] (164Kb)

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Acknowledgements Copyright © 2012 Northwest Journal of Linguistics ISSN 1718-8563