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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2002, Vol. 33, No. 2, Pages 183-224
(doi: 10.1162/002438902317406696)
© 2002 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Transitivity
Article PDF (199.17 KB)
Abstract

It is argued in this article that there is a functional category Tr (= transitivity) located between v/Pr and V, which is universally present in all transitive sentences, regardless of whether they are active, passive, middle, or impersonal in form. Tr may contain a probe with (object) φ-features and assign accusative Case. In contrast to v/Pr, Tr does not assign a θ-role in its specifier position. Hence, the functions of the traditional light verb category “v” are split between v/Pr and Tr. Empirical evidence from English, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Icelandic, Ukrainian, and German supports this claim.