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2.1.6. Summary

The previous sections have discussed the syntactic classification of verbs with nominal arguments. We argued that the traditional classification, which takes the adicity of the verb as its point of departure, results in grouping verbs together which actually have very little in common, and that it is better to base the classification on the type of arguments the verb takes. This has led to the classification in Table 6. The unaccusative verbs in this table can be subdivided further into verbs selecting the perfect auxiliary hebben and verbs selecting the perfect auxiliary zijn. The class of undative verbs is normally not distinguished, but we have given some arguments in favor of its existence. Observe that Table 6 is virtually identical to the one given as Table 1 in the introduction to Section 2.1, the only difference being that the latter refers to thematic roles instead of (derived) syntactic functions.

Table 6: Classification of verbs according to the nominal arguments they take (final)
  name external argument internal argument(s)
no internal
intransitive nominative (subject)
one internal
transitive nominative (subject) accusative (direct object)
  unaccusative nominative (DO-subject)
two internal
ditransitive nominative (subject) dative (indirect object)
accusative (direct object)
  dyadic unaccusative
dative (indirect object)
nominative (DO-subject)
  undative nominative (IO-subject)
accusative (direct object)

For completeness' sake, we want to note that the classification in Table 6 is based on the so far silent assumption that the presence of recipient/experiencer requires a theme argument to be present as well. This is, of course, related to meaning; in order for a goal or an experiencer to be present there must be some other argument that can be located/experienced; an external argument cannot subsume this role since, if present, it functions as the originator of the event (see Section 1.2.3, sub II, for this notion), and this implies that the located/experienced argument must be realized as a theme.

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