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2.1.Nominal arguments

This section discusses in more detail the classification of verbs with nominal arguments proposed in Section 1.2.2, sub II, repeated here as Table 1. This classification extends the traditional classification, which is solely based on the number of nominal arguments that the individual verbs take, by also appealing to the distinction between internal and external arguments.

Table 1: Classification of verbs according to the type of nominal arguments they take
  name used in this grammar external argument internal argument(s)
no internal argument intransitive:
snurken'to snore'
nominative (agent)
sneeuwen 'to snow'
one internal argument transitive:
kopen'to buy'
nominative (agent) accusative (theme)
arriveren'to arrive'
nominative (theme)
two internal arguments ditransitive:
aanbieden'to offer'
nominative (agent) dative (goal)
accusative (theme)
bevallen'to please'
dative (experiencer)
nominative (theme)
krijgen'to get'
nominative (goal)
accusative (theme)

If the classification in Table 1 is on the right track, it will no longer be possible to adopt the postulate of traditional grammar that there is a one-to-one mapping between the adicity of verbs and verb type, as shown in (7). It is in fact even unclear whether the verbs in (7b) and (7c) form natural classes. The intransitive and unaccusative verbs in (7b), for example, do not seem to have much more in common than that they take a single nominal argument that surfaces as the nominative subject of the construction.

a. Verbs with an adicity of zero: impersonal verbs.
b. Monadic verbs (adicity of one): intransitive and unaccusative verbs.
c. Dyadic verbs (adicity of two): transitive, nom-dat verbs and undative verbs.
d. Triadic verbs (adicity of three): ditransitive verbs.

This section will show that the classification in Table 1 is more revealing than the traditional one in terms of adicity and it is organized as follows. Section 2.1.1 starts with a brief discussion of impersonal verbs. Section 2.1.2 continues by discussing the intransitive, transitive and monadic unaccusative verbs, where much attention will be paid to distinguishing the intransitive from the unaccusative verbs. Section 2.1.3 continues by discussing ditransitive and dyadic unaccusative (nom-dat) verbs. This section on nominal arguments will be concluded in 2.1.4 by a discussion of the undative verbs that involve derived subjects that correspond to the goal argument (indirect object) of a ditransitive verb.

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