Volume 15, Issue 2 (2024)                   LRR 2024, 15(2): 33-68 | Back to browse issues page

XML Persian Abstract Print


Download citation:
BibTeX | RIS | EndNote | Medlars | ProCite | Reference Manager | RefWorks
Send citation to:

Salimi F, rezai V. Prototypical Transitivity and Object Omission in Persian. LRR 2024; 15 (2) :33-68
URL: http://lrr.modares.ac.ir/article-14-55084-en.html
1- Lecturer, Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Foreign Languages, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran
2- Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Foreign Languages, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran , vali.rezai@fgn.ui.ac.ir
Abstract:   (2407 Views)
The aim of this paper is to investigate the impact of prototypical transitivity components presented by Hopper and Thompson (1980) on object omission construction in Persian. Object omission is a valency-reduction process in which a verb which is transitive in nature, appears without its object but the construction makes sense for the hearerAs this construction reduces the valency of the verb, it can be considered as a transitivity reduction phenomenon as well. Accordingly, the existence of more transitivity components with low degree in the aforementioned construction is expected. To examine this hypothesis, a data set including 435 cases of object omission was discovered and examined. The analysis revealed that unexpectedly, there are some transitivity increasing components such as kinesis (action) and mode (irrealis) in this construction. On the other hand, although some of the components have no impact on object omission, some of them including participants, aspect, punctuality and affectedness of the object, seem to be the most important factors which facilitates object omission. The impact of ten prototypical transitivity components on object omission and the reasons behind that, is what has been investigated and justified in this research.
1. Introduction
Understanding the way languages encode alternations in the transitivity of verbs is a key to understand numerous and wide-ranging phenomena in the syntactic, semantic, and morphological behavior of languages (Kageyama and Jacobsen, 2016, p.1). Transitivity, on the other hand, is connected to the notion of valency which refers to the number of arguments required for a given verb to form sentences. Natural languages have developed means to go from transitive to intransitive and from intransitive to transitive con­structions.
Object omission is a construction in which a verb which is transitive in nature, appears without its object, and is used as an intransitive verb and consequently reduces the transitivity of the clause. Accordingly, there seems to be a correlation between object omission construction and frequency of prototypical transitivity components with negative value.

2. Literature Review
The notion of “verbal valency” and processes that can change it have been the subject of attention in many research such as Helan et al. (2017). Valency refers to the number of arguments a verb needs to form a sentence. However, many processes can decrease or increase verbal valency. Some constructions like passive, anti-causative, noun incorporation, and object omission are valency-reduction processes. In this paper, an attempt is made to investigate the context-independent type of object omission and study the effect of prototypical transitivity components presented by Hopper and Thompson (1980), Tsunoda (1985), Kittila (2002) and Nᴂss (2007) on the object omission construction in Persian.
Many linguists like Goldberg (2001), Velasco and Munoz (2002), Luraghi (2004), Tsimpli and Papadopoulou (2006), Zyzik (2006), Liu (2008), Graf et al. (2015), Cennamo (2017), Eu (2018) and Glass (2020) have considered context-independent object omission.
Goldberg (2001) in a research concerning patient arguments of causative verbs explains that an object is omissible when it is indefinite and non-specific. She claims that iterative and generic contexts are appropriate conditions for object omission as well.
About iterative and generic contexts, Næss (2007) explains that these contexts are low in transitivity because they describe a set of similar actions affecting different patients. In Hopper and Thompson's opinion (1980), the object of such clauses is less individuated, since it is not unique and specific.

3. Methodology
Transitivity is one of the main and important topics in syntactic studies and many linguists such as Robins (1964), Hopper and Thompson (1980), Dixon and Aikhenvald (2000), Kittila (2002), Malchukov (2006), Nᴂss (2007) and Haspelmath (2015) have investigated it.
Linguists who have studied transitivity have generally provided definitions for this phenomenon within the framework of a specific linguistic field, which did not include all aspects of transitivity. Therefore, according to the shortcomings in these definitions, linguists such as Hopper and Thompson (1980), Tsunoda (1985), Kittila (2002) and Nᴂss (2007) by adopting a continuum approach to transitivity, focused on completing the previous definitions. In this regard, (Næss, 2007, p.85) argues that:
Transitivity is no longer a matter of a simple subdivision into transitive and intransitive verbs or clauses; modern linguistics operate with transitivity as a gradable notion, where a clause may be less transitive than a highly transitive clause but more transitive than a simple intransitive clause.
Hopper and Thompson (1980) presented ten prototypical transitivity components and valued each one as high and low. A sentence that has more components with a higher value is closer to the prototypical transitivity, and if it has more components with a lower value, it will be closer to the intransitive construction. Based on this, the presence of the object cannot be considered as the only factor in determining the transitivity of the clause. As object omission reduces the valency of the verb, the extent of transitivity will be reduced as well. It seems that by examining the ten components of transitivity, it is possible to determine the effective factors for omitting the object, reducing the transitivity of the clause, and turning it into an intransitive clause.

4. Results
Considering object omission as a valency-reduction process that consequently reduces the transitivity of the clause, it is expected that the frequency of prototypical transitivity components from the "low" column, which indicates a lower transitivity is higher in the mentioned construction. However, the investigation of the effect of the transitivity components on object omission shows that among ten prototypical transitivity components presented by Hopper and Thompson (1980), object omission construction follows participants, aspect, punctuality, object affectedness, and object individuality, and the frequency of the low value of these components is higher in the object omission construction. The findings show that agency and volitionally components have no impact on object omission, and contrary to expectations, the frequencies of the high value of kinesis, mode, and affirmation components in this transitivity reduction process have been higher than their low value. Graph (1) shows a summary of the findings related to the impact of those prototypical transitivity components that their low and high value make a distinction in the construction of object omission.

Graph 1
 The Impact of Object Individuality Components on Object Omission


Finally, according to the findings of the present research, it is possible to introduce the factors that provide appropriate conditions for object omission. Graph (2) shows these factors based on the importance of each component and in the order of frequency of each in the object omission construction.

Graph 2
The Most Effective Prototypical Transitivity Components in Object Omission
Full-Text [PDF 960 kb]   (606 Downloads)    
Article Type: مقالات علمی پژوهشی | Subject: Grammar
Published: 2024/12/30

Add your comments about this article : Your username or Email:
CAPTCHA

Send email to the article author


Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.