Grammar
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Basic Clause Structure



Note: As far as I am aware the 2L categories of Origin, Theme and Goal cannot directly be mapped to SVO, AVP, ASVP, or any other common constituent typology categories.  I could well be completely wrong in this.  This also isn't to say 2L can't be analysed with those categories (it can), but they only complicate a simpler underlying structure. 

2L divides the clause into four elements, Origin, Verb, Theme and Goal.  O/T/G are grammatical relations indicated by word order.  In the simplest conceptual terms these are best understood in terms of motion: O is the starting point of the motion, T is what moves, and G is the endpoint of the motion.  Exactly how verbs not explicitly incorporating motion or direction use these roles is usually but not always predictable.  In terms of thematic relation:

Origins are usually agents, forces, sources, causes
Themes are usually patients, themes or agents
Goals are usually patients, themes, experiencers, beneficiaries, destinations or goals

Many verbs, if not involving explicit motion, can still be easily understood as involving expelling or giving (e.g of an object, utterance) and/or receiving (e.g. of a sensory impression or information).  The giver will be an origin, the receiver a goal.

All verbs are, at least theoretically, ambitransitive and can take up to three arguments.  This produces five possible patterns of argument noun phrases (A) and verb phrase:

0 arguments: V
1 argument: AV, VA
2 arguments: AVA, VAA
3 arguments: AVAA

In terms of O/T/G relations, these are

V
OV, VT
OVT, VTG
OVTG

VG and OVG are usually handled with dummy themes.


Examples



With verbs involving motion it is easy to find the theme, i.e. what moves.

run tiger
V T
The tiger runs

The tiger is a moving participant, so a theme.  Source and/or goal locations can be added directly as arguments:

grass run tiger
O V T
The tiger runs out of the grass

run tiger antelope
O V T
The tiger runs towards the antelope


Processes tend to involve a theme as the undergoer, the origin as a reason or cause, and the goal as a purpose or beneficiary.

die antelope
V T
the antelope dies

tiger die antelope
O V T
the tiger kills the antelope

tiger die antelope cub
O V T G
the tiger kills the antelope for the cub

A process like "eat" combines this with a more explicit directional or giving/receiving aspect.  The eater is the reciever/end point of the action, so is a goal.  The food moves, so is a theme.  This does not clash with the above pattern: the food is still an undergoer and the eater a beneficiary of the process.

eat antelope
V T
The antelope is eaten

eat antelope tiger
V T G
The tiger eats the antelope

eat [food] tiger
V [T] G
The tiger eats [food]

Here "food" is the dummy theme corresponding to the verb "eat", prescriptively required in OVG clauses because arguement-verb-argument is potentially ambiguous between OVT and OVG.  There are many ways of expressing dummy themes, depending on specific verb and context.


In verbs of perception the sensory impression itself is the theme, the source of the perception the origin, and the goal the experiencer.

see tiger
V T
The (image of) the tiger is seen

tiger see
O V
The tiger is visible (i.e. projecting an image)

antelope see [image] tiger
O V [T] G
The tiger sees the antelope.

Verbs of utterance have the speaker as the origin (source of words), the sound or topic as the theme, and the audience as the goal.

speak she
V T
she is spoken about

she speak
O V
she speaks

she speak language
O V T
she speaks about language

she speak [word] him
O V [T] G
she speaks (words) to him

she speak language him
O V T G
she speaks to him about language



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