TITLE

КОНСТРУКЦИИ «БЕЗ АГЕНСА»: ОПЫТ СОПОСТАВИ

AUTHOR(S)
Некрасова, Ирина Михайловна
PUB. DATE
December 2014
SOURCE
Perm University Herald. Russian & Foreign Philology / Vestnik Pe;2014, Issue 4, p99
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Cognitive linguistics deals with the semantic units as elements of the language structure which underlie the mental process. A considerable progress has been made lately in the field of lexical semantics, whereas the cognitive approach to syntax remains a less investigated area. The article presents the results of the analysis of the deep semantic structure, namely the passive form in English and the generic construction (with a dropped subject) in Russian, which greatly differ in their abstract structure of configuration. Ch. Fillmore’s case grammar, W. Chafe’s semantic theory and A. Kibrik’s cognitive typology can be regarded as a base for investigation of the “underlying” semantic relations from a contrastive point of view. The investigation comprises 4 levels: thematic relations, topic-comment structure and pragmatic factors - reference (person / animal / thing) and deixis (the speaker /the third person). The first level shows the semantic roles of the participants, which can be either a patient or a recipient but in both cases can be characterized as “non-agent”; in Russian it is represented by the syntactic position of the object in the form of any objective case. Level 2 describes the information structure; the initial position of the “non-agent” - a subject in the passive sentence and an object in the Russian generic construction - corresponds to the communicative function of the topic or theme. The pragmatic factors help to highlight subtle distinctions between the passive form and the generic construction from a contrastive point of view as well as within the Russian language, including the sentences with so called “impersonal” modal verbs. Special attention is paid to the fact that neither subject nor agent can be considered language universals as they correlate mainly with nominativeaccusative languages. The problem of “non-agent” constructions is closely connected to ergative languages, in which the single argument behaves like a patient. Therefore, the contrastive linguistics approach brings to light 1) the similarity of the “non-agent” constructions, which greatly differ in their surface structure; 2) the subtle distinctions in pragmatic factors between them; 3) their connection to the “ergative past” of Indo-European languages, Russian preserving its rudiment features to a greater extent than English.
ACCESSION #
111161095

 

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