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Title: Notions of "subject"
Authors: LaPolla, Randy J.
Keywords: Humanities::Linguistics
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: BRILL
Source: LaPolla, R. J. (2017). Notions of "subject". In R. Sybesma, W. Behr, Y. Gu, Z. Handel, J. C.-T. Huang, & J. Myers (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics. Leiden, Boston: BRILL.
Abstract: The title of this article presupposes there is some global category of all languages called "subject" that we can talk about. Up to the early 1970's that would have been a generally common assumption, though there was much disagreement about and no universal notion of "subject" (Platt 1971; Van Valin 1977, 1981; Foley & Van Valin 1977, 1984; Gary & Keenan 1977; Comrie 1981), though most theories assumed some conception of syntactic functions. The concept of "subject" began with Aristotle's theory of truth, but Aristotle defined subject (Greek hypokeímenon—Latin subject is a translation of this word) as the entity that the proposition is about, i.e. the topic. He did not have a separate term for grammatical subject. This led to centuries of debate about the nature of subject (see Seuren 1998, §2.6.3 for an overview), including attempts to distinguish grammatical subject and psychological subject (e.g. von der Gabelentz 1869:378), the latter essentially topic, and what became "theme" in the Prague School terminology. A third term, "logical subject", was sometimes used, but could be associated with grammatical subject (often now seen as agent) or with psychological subject (particularly in logic), depending on the scholar. Bloomfield (1914:60-61, cited in Seuren 1998:131) used the term "subject" to refer to topics and also to heads of phrases.
ISBN: 978-9-00-418643-9
Schools: School of Humanities 
Rights: © 2017 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. All rights reserved. This book is made available with permission of Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Books & Book Chapters

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