An inspection of Preferred Argument Structure in Mapudungun narratives

Matter, Florian (2019). An inspection of Preferred Argument Structure in Mapudungun narratives (In Press). International journal of American linguistics University of Chicago Press

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The surface form of arguments in discourse, theoretically freely chosen, is not arbitrary, as analyses of stretches of discourse show. One such pattern concerns the different proportions of lexically realized arguments in A, as opposed to S/P, explained by Du Bois (1987) by cognitive constraints. The pattern has more recently been suggested to be an epiphenomenal effect of animacy (inter alia Haig and Schnell 2016). Here, I analyze a corpus of Mapudungun narratives, investigating form and information status of 4,218 references. The results show S between A and P in lexicality, contradicting PAS. There is also an unexpectedly high proportion of lexical human S arguments, independent of information status. My findings support a growing body of evidence suggesting that PAS is flawed and that animacy cannot be neglected, but also suggest that animacy does not explain all patterns. They also promote treating information status and formal expression independently.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Linguistics

UniBE Contributor:

Matter, Florian


400 Language > 410 Linguistics




University of Chicago Press




Florian Matter

Date Deposited:

25 Jun 2019 14:11

Last Modified:

25 Jun 2019 14:11


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