• Agentive And Patientive Verb Bases In North Alaskan Inupiaq

      Nagai, Tadataka; Kaplan, Lawrence D. (2006)
      This dissertation is concerned with North Alaskan Inupiaq Eskimo. It has two goals: (i) to provide a grammatical sketch of the Upper Kobuk dialect of this language; (ii) to investigate agentive and patientive verb bases. Chapter 2 is a grammatical sketch of the Upper Kobuk dialect of North Alaskan Inupiaq. Chapter through 5 deal with two types of verb bases in this language, called agentive and patientive. As we see in Chapter 3, agentive and patientive verb bases are verb bases that can inflect either intransitively or transitively, and they differ in the following ways: (i) prototypical agentive bases have the intransitive subject corresponding with the transitive subject, and do not require a half-transitive postbase to become antipassive; (ii) prototypical patientive bases have the intransitive subject corresponding with the transitive object, and require a half-transitive postbase to become antipassive. In Chapter 4, I present the polarity---the property of being agentive or patientive---of all the verb bases that can inflect either intransitively or transitively, sorted by meaning, in order to uncover semantic features that characterize agentive and patientive bases. I identify 13 semantic features, such as indicating the agent's process for agentive bases and the lack of agent control for patientive bases. All these semantic features are related with the saliency of the agent or patient. In Chapter 5, I investigate several pieces of evidence that show that the dividing line between the agentive and patientive classes is not rigid: (i) There are verb bases that can have the intransitive subject corresponding with either the transitive subject or object. (ii) Some verb bases may or may not take a half-transitive postbase to become antipassive. (iii) Certain postbases or a certain verb mood turn agentive bases into patientive or patientive bases into agentive. Although two classes of verbs similar to the agentive and patientive classes in Inupiaq are found in many languages, such phenomena as described in this chapter are seldom studied. This chapter purports to be the fast coherent study of its kind. The appendices contain two Inupiaq texts.