Describing Verb Valency

Practical and Theoretical Issues


The elaboration of linguistic theories depends on the existence of adequate descriptions of particular languages; otherwise theories will be poorly grounded on empirical data. This book starts from theoretical points of wide acceptance among linguists and goes on to present a descriptive metalanguage, able to express the facts of verb valency, which constitute one of the core areas in linguistic description. Most of the data come from an extensive survey under way of the valency of Portuguese verbs; but the present work’s relevance goes well beyond that, and incorporates a proposal applicable to other European languages, illustrated by the wealth of English examples included in the exposition. Among the topics discussed are the syntactic component of constructions (following here a proposal recently published in Culicover and Jackendoff’s Simpler Syntax); delimitation and definition of semantic roles; the role of linking rules and their relation to prototypes; and the connection between linguistic expressions and cognitive units such as frames and schemata. The result is a notational system flexible and robust enough to describe all aspects of verb valency.

  • Springer International Publishing; September 2015
  • ISBN 9783319209852
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Describing Verb Valency
  • Author: Mário Alberto Perini
  • Imprint: Springer

About The Author

Mário A. Perini holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Texas and did postdoctoral work at the University of Illinois. He taught Linguistics and Portuguese at three Brazilian universities (UFMG, UNICAMP and PUC-Minas) and two American ones (Illinois and Mississippi). To date, he has published twelve books on Linguistics and on the Portuguese language, including the first ever grammar of spoken Brazilian Portuguese. His main areas of interest are Portuguese Grammar, Cognition, Construction Grammars, Methodology, and Linguistic Theory and Analysis. He is currently developing research on verb valencies at Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil (UFMG), where he leads a project involving researchers from four Brazilian universities; the project aims at the construction of a valency dictionary of Brazilian Portuguese.