Note: This is the paperback edition of a previously announced book.
Contains numerous illuminating discussions of Differential Subject Marking
from languages all over the world.
Provides an important step forwards in our understanding the complex nature
of Differential Subject Marking (complex as compared to Differential Object
Shows that Differential Subject Marking is often the result of interactions
between conflicting constraints on language use.
Although (almost) all sentences have subjects, not all sentences encode
their subjects in the same way. Some languages overtly mark some subjects,
but not others, depending on certain features of the subject argument or
the sentence in which the subject figures. This phenomenon is known as
Differential Subject Marking (DSM). Languages differ in which conditions
govern DSM. Some languages differentiate their subjects on the basis of
semantic features of the argument such as thematic role, volitionality,
animacy, whereas others differentiate on the basis of clausal features such
as tense/aspect and the main/dependent clause distinction. DSM comes in
different formal guises: case marking, agreement, inverse systems, and
Relatively much is known about cross-linguistic variation in the marking of
subjects, yet little attempt has been made to formalize the facts. This
volume aims to unify formal approaches to language and presents both
specific case studies of DSM and theoretical approaches.