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Where have all the prepositions gone?


Where have all the prepositions gone? A Valency Analysis Where have all the prepositions gone? A Valency Analysis The two readings of the famous Chomskyan He decided ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Where have all the prepositions gone?

Where have all the prepositions gone?
  • A Valency Analysis

The two readings of the famous Chomskyan He
decided on the boat can be represented in the
following way
He decided (on) the boat.
He decided on the boat.
On the first reading the preposition is
syntactic, which means that it does not occupy a
node of its own.
On the second reading the preposition functions
as a two-place predicate.
Let us look at the representations once more
He decided (on) the boat.
He decided on the boat.
Free place adverbials are most often introduced
by prepositions. With time adverbials it is
different. There may, certainly, be prepositions
He worked for eight hours.
Han arbetade i åtta timmar.
But in the Swedish example it is possible to omit
the preposition Han arbetade åtta timmar. Still,
we need a node for the two-place predicate
Han arbetade PREP åtta timmar.
Case languages provide us with such nodes
Er arbeitete einen TagltACCgt.
On rabotal nedeljultACCgt.
We shall look into a special kind of adverbials,
namely adverbials of measure. These are regularly
formed without prepositions in Germanic languages
but in Slavic languages they are almost
pervadingly introduced by prepositions.
One companion to such adverbials are
com-paratives. We shall first analyse comparative
constructions without the adverbial.
Yalta (is) more attractive (than) Vologda.
Jalta bolee privlekatelna, (chem) Vologda.
If the comparative meaning is expressed by a
suffix, there are two ways of expressing the
second actant in Russian.
Baikal (is) deepltergt (than) Ladoga.
Bajkal glubltzhegt, (chem) Ladoga.
Bajkal glubltzhegt Ladogi.
Now let us add adverbials of measure. To achieve
isomorphism we have to introduce an implicit node
in English (P is short for PREP).
On na tri goda starltshegt menja.
He (is) P three years oldltergt (than) me.
With the noun raz (time) the Russian uses the
preposition v instead of na.
Kiev (is) P five times biggltergt (than) Oslo.
Kiev v pjat raz bolshltegt Oslo.
Adverbials of measure can also be expressed by
adverbs in both languages.
Coffee (is) now lttwgtice as cheap (as) before.
K. teper ltvgtdvoe deshevlltegt (chem) ranshe.
k. kofe
As we can see, we even get rid of the P in
English, provided we accept the adverb as a
carrier of the same meaning. The Russian adverb
could possibly more accurately be represented
like this
(ltvgtltdvgtoe) deshevlltegt
In some cases with low numerals Russian can
use the instrumental case instead of a
He (is) P two years youngltergt (than) me.
On dvumja godamiltINSgt molozhltegt menja.
From comparatives there is a short step to a
special type of time adverbials which,
optionally, combine with adverbials of measure
He died P five years before the revolution.
On umer za pjat let do revoljucii.
A different Russian preposition is used in the
converse expression
The war began P two years after her death.
V. nachalas cherez dva goda posle ee smerti.
v. vojna
One type of adverbials of measure often occur
with verbs of location. First let us have a look
at ordinary place adverbials occupying the second
valency position of such verbs.
He lives (in) this town.
On zhivet (v) ètom gorode.
The place adverbial can be replaced by an
adverbial of measure.
He lives P two miles (from) us.
On zhivet v dvux kilometrax (ot) nas.
Because of its dependent position, the
preposition (P/v) has been deprived of one
actant. In a free position it comes out as a
three-place predicate.
The bomb exploded P six yards (from) her.
Bomba vzorvalas v shesti metrax (ot) nee.
The preposition (P/v) can be replaced by a
preposition phrase (at a) distance / (na)
rasstojanii. The third actant is often omitted.
The bomb exploded (at a) dist. (of) five yards.
Bomba vzorvalas (na) rasstojanii pjati metrov.
In Russian, the preposition v can be replaced by
Odnazhdy ja rybachil kilometra za poltora ot
berega. Once I was fishing about a mile and a
half from the shore.
Odn. ja ryb. kilom. za polt. INV (ot) ber.
INV inversed word order
Finally, in Russian the preposition cherez can be
used, but the noun it governs is of an other
nature than with v, za.
Ob zhil cherez odin dom (ot) menja.
He lived one house away (from) me.
One more example muzhik, stojavshij cherez
cheloveka ot babki Sofi (V. Pecux) the fellow
standing one person away from aunt Sophie.
M. stojal cherez odnogo chelov. (ot) Sofi.
The fellow (was) st. one person away (from) S.
Blagodarju (za) vnimanie!
Thanks (for) the attention!
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