Argument (linguistics)

The argument is called in linguistics, the counterpart of a predicate, both terms have both a logical and a grammatical meaning. In logic, a predicate is an expression that is unsaturated and has to associate only with arguments to collectively form a statement that can be true or false. For example, the verb is represented as sleep sleep a logical predicate that combines with an argument as the expression Hans to sleep the statement ' (Hans) to form (the " Hans sleeps" the German sentence is ). The name argument in importance as a grammatical term refers in accordance thereto on those parts of a natural language sentence that denote logical arguments. The subject of the German sentence Hans is sleeping, so the noun Hans a syntactic argument of the verb, then sleep, referred to this aspect as a grammatical addition.

Syntactic arguments can in this case also an argument role or semantic role attributed ( as agent, undergoer, etc.). Under the terms of their importance syntactic arguments are referred to as players, participation certificates or actants. The concept of valence of a predicate refers in a general sense, opened by a predicate " blank spaces " ( syntactic or semantic valence ) that are to be filled by arguments.

The formal representation of syntactic arguments which requires a predicate that is different in different traditions as " argument structure ", etc. " Rektionsmodell " referred to.

Argument types

In the typical case of a simple sentence is the predicate to a verb and the arguments to noun phrases. The semantic roles ( agent / undergoer ... ), which are taken over by the arguments, syntactic functions assigned in a language, such as subject and object. Languages ​​, however, differ in how they divide grammatical functions of the type subject / object.

In the following example (1), Hans (semantic role: agent, syntactic function: subject) and bread (semantic role: patientive, syntactic function: object) the arguments of eating (the arguments are bold and predicates in italics ):

Also sets can occur as arguments:

Similarly, nouns, adjectives or prepositions can be used as predicates take arguments to himself:

Argument encoding

To make syntactic arguments, in particular the arguments of the verb identified and their function (such as subject / object ) display, use languages ​​three basic strategies or combinations thereof.

1 word order

The arguments are placed depending on the function before or after the verb, such as in English:

Second case

The arguments are labeled with different case that indicate their function such as in Latin:

3 indexing

Properties of arguments and / or their semantic role be marked on the verb ( " indexed " ) so that they can be retrieved in a sentence on the basis of the relevant grammatical features (person, gender, number ). This is, for example, be seen in the Navajo:

  • Theoretical Linguistics
  • Syntax
  • Verbvalenz