unaccusative

EnglishEdit

 
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EtymologyEdit

un- +‎ accusative, from the fact that in a nominative-accusative language, the accusative case, which marks the direct object of a transitive verb, typically marks the non-volitional role. In unaccusative verbs, the non-volitional arguments do not take the accusative case.

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AdjectiveEdit

unaccusative (not comparable)

  1. (linguistics, of a verb) Intransitive and having an experiencer as its subject, that is, the (syntactic) subject is not a (semantic) agent.
    • 2004, Andrew Radford, Minimalist Syntax: Exploring the structure of English, University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, →ISBN, OCLC 988822542, §9.6, page 352:
          The light-verb analysis sketched here also offers us a way of accounting for the fact that in Early Modern English, the perfect auxiliary used with unaccusative verbs was be (as we saw in §7.6), whereas that used with transitive and unergative verbs was have.

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NounEdit

unaccusative (plural unaccusatives)

  1. (linguistics) An unaccusative verb.
    • 1998, Eloise Jelinek, Voice and Transitivity as Functional Projections in Yaqui, in Miriam Butt and Wilhelm Geuder, eds., “The Projection of Arguments”
      We have seen that Unergatives and Unaccusatives differ in 1) permitting the derivation of an Impersonal Passive, and 2) in licensing purpose clauses, since Unergatives have active subjects, and Unaccusatives do not.

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