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Ist Valenz eine universelle Eigenschaft von Verben?

Klaas Willems
Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik
Bd. 73, H. 1 (2006), pp. 55-76
Published by: Franz Steiner Verlag
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40505159
Page Count: 22
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Ist Valenz eine universelle Eigenschaft von Verben?
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Abstract

The present article examines the idea that valency or the presence of an argument structure is a universal characteristic of verbs, an idea implicit in modern valency theory. This claim, which is general in modern theories of universal grammar, becomes problematic when one follows Coseriu's "functional syntax", a concept based on Humboldt's theory of language, and seeks to establish it on the basis of the grammatical systems of individual languages. Through comparison of German with Japanese, we can see that the Japanese verb exhibits neither syntactic nor semantic valency. If one merely describes the Japanese particles which define sentence structure (joshi) in terms of the categories which were developed for the (Indo-) European languages (in particular valency, thematic roles, case and transitivity), one cannot provide an adequate description of the peculiar grammatical structure of the sentence in Japanese. In Japanese, the verb is only the semantic and not the structural core of the sentence. The only universal which can be applied to the verb is the categorical, its role as a part of speech, while the lexical sense of the verb is specific to the individual languages.

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