Abstract and Keywords
This article presents a theory of case assignment based on a hierarchy of grammatical functions. It focuses on the assignment of the syntactic cases nominative and accusative, singling out two phenomena: nominative objects and case alternations on adverbials of duration. A hierarchical as opposed to a structural analysis of nominative case provides a simple account for the occurrence of nominative objects with dyadic verbs which take oblique subjects, a phenomenon found in many genetically unrelated languages including Icelandic, Finnish, and Korean. Less common are languages in which adverbial noun phrases exhibit case alternations. This article reviews a complex array of case patterns focusing on certain adverbials which are sometimes marked accusative, sometimes nominative, depending on other properties of the clauses in which they occur.
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