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The linguistic encoding of three-participant events in Saliba

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In this article I investigate the strategies for encoding events with three participants in an Oceanic language. I look at three-place predicates featuring three syntactic arguments but also and particularly at the functional alternatives to such constructions. Besides ditransitive clauses and clauses featuring two arguments plus an adjunct, Saliba speakers productively use two further strategies to express three-participant events. One strategy makes use of possessive classifiers to express a beneficiary, the other features directional suffixes to express a recipient or goal. In both cases pragmatic implicature plays a role in encoding the third participant. There is evidence though that the three-participant reading is beginning to grammaticalize and in investigating these constructions we are looking at the gray area between morpho-syntax and pragmatics.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Melbourne University

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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