A Frequency Dictionary of Contemporary American English: by Mark Davies, Dee Gardner

By Mark Davies, Dee Gardner

A Frequency Dictionary of up to date American English: be aware sketches, collocates, and thematic listsis a useful software for all beginners of yankee English, delivering an inventory of the 5,000 most often used phrases within the language.

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Extra info for A Frequency Dictionary of Contemporary American English: Word Sketches, Collocates and Thematic Lists

Sample text

In accounting for how the tense and modal markers that occur in the absolutive position are assigned, I have avoided forms with ergative agreement. This has mainly been done for ease of exposition. However, under a descrip­ tion like (46), ergative agreement becomes a crucial test ground, because in the structure proposed the ergative marker is structurally higher than the modal, since it belongs in a higher projection (recall (26)). When a Tense morpheme is present, the presence of the ergative marker, adjoined to Tense, does not affect the hierarchical relation of Tense with re­ spect to the inflected form.

The number of verbs that can be inflected in this manner is very small, and older stages of the language had a much larger set of synthetic verbs (see Lafon 1944). ; some other verbs, like atxeki "attach", jarraiki "follow", esan "say", eman "give" or entzun "hear", are occasionally used in synthetic fashion in literary language. It is not at all clear what syntactic or semantic feature, if any, defines the set of synthetic verbs; I will assume that it is a lexical idiosyncracy, and that synthetic verbs are already marked as such in the lexicon.

This phenomenon has re­ ceived a number of names, depending on the point of view taken to analyze it; for convenience, I will refer to it as 'Ergative Displacement'. It is traditionally described as follows: (49) ERGATIVE DISPLACEMENT: if an inflected form has a) a third person absolutive agreement clitic and b) a non-third person ergative agreement clitic and c) it contains either the past tense morpheme or the modal morpheme or the conditional morpheme then a) the clitic corresponding to the ergative appears in the canonical place of the absolutive, and b) the absolutive clitic does not appear.

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