On the semantics of affectedness and its implications for argument structure in the Ka'apor language

Fábio Bonfim Duarte


This article investigates the syntactic and semantic scope of the particle [ke] in the Ka'apor language. The analysis shows that the semantic denotation of [ke] is one of affectedness, such that this is the meaning that [ke] contributes to the D/NP that it marks. It is also demonstrated that this particle marks agents, themes/patients and goals. Based on this distribution, the paper assumes that the main role of [ke] is to cover both spatial concepts and notions of control. This explains why [ke] groups these core arguments together as a natural class. It is also posited that [ke] is a morphological spell-out of an abstract Case that is used to mark patients, agents with reduced control over actions and goals. Based on Woolford (2006) and Butt (2006), the proposal is that [ke] instantiates an abstract inherent Case, as it is highly associated with the semantics of affectedness. Finally, assuming a bieventive analysis (Pylkkänen, 2008), it is proposed that the affected agents are not introduced by the Voice head, but by
a functional head that is located between VoiceP and CausP/VP. The immediate consequence of this analysis is that Voice and Cause are not fused into one head. Another conclusion is that the main role of this head is to introduce the affected agents and to assign inherent dative Case to them.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.31513/linguistica.2014.v10n1a4582


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