LINGUIST List 5.1242

Mon 07 Nov 1994

Disc: Grammatical relations

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  1. Bernard Comrie, Grammatical relations

Message 1: Grammatical relations

Date: Mon, 7 Nov 1994 07:17:17 -Grammatical relations
From: Bernard Comrie <>
Subject: Grammatical relations

For some time, I have been puzzled by a claim that I come
across frequently in the formal grammatical literature,
namely that SINCE grammatical relations are derived,
THEREFORE they cannot be referred to by the grammar. Please
note that my puzzlement is not concerned with whether
grammatical relations are primitive or derived, nor with
whether or not the grammar can refer to grammatical
relations, but rather with the alleged causal relation
between answers to these two questions. More specifically, my
puzzlement is not concerned with why some people believe both
that grammatical relations are derived and that grammatical
relations cannot be referred to by the grammar, but rather
with why they think the second belief follows necessarily
from the first. To take what seems to be a parallel instance,
valid at least for many versions of formal grammar: control
(c-control, etc.) is a derived concept, but can be referred
to by the grammar--so the causal link between derived status
and inaccessibility to the grammar seems to be denied in
other areas. I would be grateful for any enlightenment on
this issue.

Bernard Comrie
Department of Linguistics GFS-301
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1693, USA.
Tel. +1 213 740 2986. Fax +1 213 740 9306.
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