1st Edition

Grammatical Relations The Evidence Against Their Necessity and Universality

By D. N. S. Bhat Copyright 1991
    204 Pages
    by Routledge

    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book argues that the assumption that grammatical relations are both necessary and universal is an unwarranted generalization. The grammatical relations of subject and object are required in the case of the Indian language of Kannada. Furthermore, the notion of transitivity or transference which forms the basis for postulating grammatical relations does not play the expected central role in all languages: in the case of another Indian language, Manipuri, it is volitionality and transitivity which plays the central role in clause structure. Dr. Bhat argues against the universality and necessity of grammatical relations; his provocative hypothesis will be a challenge to all those concerned with the nature of language.

    1 Introduction 1.1 Contemporary position 1.2 Two questions 1.3 The need for grammatical relations 1.4 The primacy of transitivity 1.5 Two appendices Part I Evidence against the necessity of grammatical relations 2 The need for grammatical relations 2.1 Differentiating between semantic and pragmatic relations 2.2 Establishment of grammatical relations 2.3 Excluding pragmatic factors 3 Semantics and pragmatics in Kannada 3.1 Preliminaries 3.2 Representation of semantic relations 3.3 Representation of pragmatic relations 3.4 Semantically constrained processes 3.5 Pragmatically constrained processes 3.6 Conclusion Part II Evidence against the universality of grammatical relations 4 Universality of grammatical relations 4.1 Preliminaries 4.2 The notion of transitivity 4.3 Kinds of intransitive and transitive bases 4.4 The notion of verb phrase and of external argument 5 Transitivity and volitionality in Manipuri 5.1 Preliminaries 5.2 The use of case suffixes 5.3 Changing the relative order of arguments 5.4 Conflicts between transitivity and volitionality 5.5 Evidence against an obligatory external argument 6 Theoretical implications


    D.N.S.Bhat is a Professor and UGC Research Scientist at the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, India. His publications include Sound Change, Pronominalization, Referents of Noun Phrases, Identification, and An Introduction to Linguistics