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Linguistica Uralica cover
Linguistica Uralica
ISSN 1736-7506 (Electronic)
ISSN 0868-4731 (Print)
Variation in Three-Participant Constructions in Eastern Mansi; pp. 120-130
PDF | doi:10.3176/lu.2012.2.04

Susanna Virtanen

In Eastern Mansi, there are two different active constructions and one passive construction used for expressing ditransitive action. The active constructions are the so called PO/SO construction and the so called DO/IO construction (see Dryer 1986). Also a personal passive clause can contain all the same arguments as a three-participant active clause. According to my data and earlier studies, variation in Mansi three-participant constructions is based on information structure. There is certain correlation between pragmatic and syntactic functions: each syntactic role (subject, object, oblique) is usually occupied by a certain information structural function (focus, primary topic, secondary topic). The syntactic functions form a hierarchy, and the more topical the constituent is, the higher position it gets in the syntax hierarchy. The subject slot is always occupied by the primary topic, whilst the place of the direct object of an active clause is occupied by the secondary topic. When the Agent is the primary topic, we use an active construction, where the Agent takes the place of subject. The PO/SO construction occurs in situations where the Agent is the primary topic, R-argument represents secondary topic and the Patient is focal. The occurrence of DO/IO construction is quite marginal: it is restricted to such sentences that include a recipient focus. Whenever the Patient or the Recipient is the primary topic, it is promoted to Subject, and the whole clause is turned into the passive voice. Three-participant passive clauses appear particularly in situations where the R-argument is the most topical constituent.


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