Linguistics 550 Assignment 4

As always, please submit this assignment as an email attachment with a file name including your name and the assignment number, as in "smith-550-05.doc" or .pdf.

1.Please do exercises 8.5 and 8.6 and problems 8.2 and 8.3 at the end of chapter 8.

2. Please do exercises 10.4 and 10.5 at the end of chapter 10.

3. Please reread the discussion of thematic roles at the end of chapter 3 and the discussion below. Then answer the questions that follow. The problem depends on the grammar tool have-get.

The semantic relations between verbs and their arguments can be grouped into classes called "thematic roles." These roles distribute across the different syntactic positions in clauses in complex ways. Among the most important of these roles are: agent, experiencer, goal, instrument, patient, recipient and source. Different verbs associate these roles with different positions. The following examples illustrate this variation. In each set of examples the relevant noun phrase is in italics.

Agents are normally subjects, as in sentences like:

  1. Mary lifted the box.
  2. John ran away.
  3. Sally sighed.

Experiencers can be subjects, as in (4), or direct objects, as in (5) or objects of prepositions, as in (6). In languages with richer case marking than English the prepositional phrase option may correspond to an oblique case.

  1. Harry likes spaghetti.
  2. Loud music bothers Joan.
  3. A vision appeared to Dan.

Goals are usually in oblique positions but they can also be direct objects.

  1. Tom arrived at the station.
  2. Ann reached the mountain top.
Instruments are usually oblique but can be subjects or objects.
  1. Max hit the nail with the hammer.
  2. The hammer hit the nail.
  3. Alice used the hammer on the roof.

Patients are entities affected by an action. They are usually direct objects.

  1. Pat hit the desk.

Recipients most frequently oblique but they can be subjects.

  1. We sent the package to Dave.
  2. Louise received a package.

Sources can similarly be oblique or subjects.

  1. The answer came from the textbook.
  2. The factory released an odor.

In addition to these semantically motivated thematic roles, researchers in lexical semantics often postulate a default role called the "theme," which is assigned to the least oblique non-agent noun phrase in a clause. This role can be associated with a noun phrase that also bears one of the other roles we have mentioned.

Note that thematic roles are assigned to syntactic positions, not to the entities referred to by the noun phrases that appear in these positions. Thus, it is not paradoxical that he is assigned the agent role in and himself is assigned the patient role in a sentence like (17), even though the two noun phrases refer to the same person:

  1. He killed himself.


Here's the assignment question:

The following sentences with have and get are all grammatical in English.

  1. get sentences:
    1. John got arrested.
    2. John got Mary arrested.
    3. John got the bicycle stolen from him.
  2. have sentences:
    1. Mary had John arrested.
    2. Mary had John steal the bicycle.
Use the have-get grammar tool to construct underlying structures and derivations for each of these sentences. What are the case and thematic properties of all of the verbs in each of these sentences? The grammar tool contains three variants of get and two of have. Which variant goes with each of the above sentences?