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Original scientific paper

Dubravko Kučanda

Gabrijela Buljan

 

Summary

The mapping between primary grammatical relations (subject, direct object, indirect object) and semantic roles is largely discussed in terms of which semantic role can be mapped onto which grammatical relation (or vice versa) as if semantic roles imposed absolute constraints in the sense that a language systematically excludes the mapping between some grammatical relations and semantic roles (semantic functions) beyond a cut off point on the Semantic Function Hierarchy. Any deviation from the semantic prototype of the subject has as a consequence non–canonical morphosyntactic properties of subjects (e. g. oblique case marking, inability to undergo some syntactic processes and lack of properties which are not peculiar to subject qua grammatical relation), that is, such semantically non–prototypical subjects do not exhibit the full array of subject–like properties. This paper argues that semantic roles do not impose absolute constraints on the mapping between grammatical relations and semantic roles. The mapping between a semantic role low on the Semantic Function Hierarchy and the grammatical relation subject is possible in cases of some referential metonymies, i. e. only some uses or meanings of a semantic role allow such mapping.
Our aim in this paper is not to provide a detailed contrastive analysis of non–canonically marked subjects in any two languages. We want to point to some aspects that have been largely neglected in contrastive analyses of non–nominative subjects.

 

Keywords

contrastive analysis, grammatical relations, subject, prototypes, semantic roles, metonymic mapping.

 

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