Symmetric object languages and the analysis of objects in LFG


  • Toby Lowther University of Oxford


object symmetric languages, object symmetry, syntax, mapping theory, symmetry, argument structure, grammatical relations, grammatical functions


Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG) assumes that each object in a clause can be assigned to a distinct grammatical function, receiving a distinct syntactic representation. When this framework is applied to highly object symmetric languages like the Kordofanian language Moro, this results in a difference in syntactic representation without any corresponding difference in syntactic behaviour. In this paper, I build on previous work on objecthood and object symmetry in LFG to present a new proposal that develops the notion of a set-valued OBJ function as a solution to the problem of symmetric object languages in LFG. This proposal demonstrates the fundamental role that thematic roles and semantic properties play in the properties of objects, resulting in an analysis that takes full advantage of the modularity of the Parallel Projection Architecture to provide an empirically adequate and less redundant analysis of object properties across languages.