Split intransitivity, linking, and lexical representation: the case of Yukatek Maya
MetadataShow full item record
Split-intransitive systems of argument marking provide an excellent opportunity to study the structure of the lexical-semantic representations that underlie argument structure alternations and argument linking rules. Yukatek Maya has a typologically rare split-intransitive pattern of argument marking controlled by overt aspect-mood marking. Krämer & Wunderlich (1999) have advanced an analysis according to which the linking of thematic relations to syntactic arguments is governed by lexical aspect as the sole lexical-semantic property linking principles are sensitive to in this language. Critical evidence against this proposal comes from the transitivity alternations of three classes of intransitive verbs: ‘degree achievement’ verbs, ‘non-internally-caused’ process verbs, and posture verbs. Transitivity alternations emerge as being governed by the distinction of internally- vs. externally-caused events. The Yukatek facts suggest that argument linking operates on a lexical information structure (‘event structure’) that partially determines (and thus also underspeficies) both lexical aspect and participant structure.