Differential object marking: Nominal and verbal parameters

Keith Tse


Rich comparative-typological work has established differential object marking (DOM) as a linguistic universal based on various dimensions of nominal and verbal markedness where more marked categories are more likely to be morphologically marked than unmarked ones (Aissen 2003). However, despite the seemingly uniform and homogeneous properties in the world’s examples, the great variety and diversity of lexical sources raise the possibility of there being microvariations between different types of DOM. Romance preposition ad and Chinese co-verb ba are two mainstream examples of DOM and a comparison shows that different lexical sources can give rise to nominally-driven and verbally-driven mechanisms of DOM, since while Romance ad is reanalysed as a nominal Case-marker and is extended to all relevant types of object nouns (animate/referential), Chinese ba is embedded in the verbal domain where it selects transitive/affective types of verb phrases. This comparison opens up new perspectives on the mechanisms of DOM, namely the clustering of nominal and verbal parameters which can be shown to correlate with the lexical sources of DOM-markers.


Chinese; Latin; Romance; differential object marking; Case marking; differential argument marking

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v5i1.4748

Copyright (c) 2020 Keith Tse

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