57 Marking of patient noun phrases

This feature is described more fully in chapter 57.


Here we look at the marking of the patient argument in typical transitive clauses (’David killed Goliath’, ‘The girl picked the flower’, etc.), i.e. what is often called direct object. We restrict our attention to full noun phrases, as pronouns are often treated in a special way.

We ask whether patient noun phrases may have case-marking or adpositional marking that distinguishes them from agents (i.e. accusative marking), and if so, under what conditions it occurs. (Of course, fixed word order may also distinguish agents and patients, but this is not considered patient marking here.) Note that by presence of marking, we mean possibility of marking. In many languages, patient marking is optional and need not occur where it can occur.


Martin Haspelmath and the APiCS Consortium


No marking of patient NPs62
Only definite patient NPs are marked2
Only animate patient NPs are marked8
Only definite and animate patient NPs are marked2
All patient NPs are marked2

Language Value Lexifier Details Source
Id Primary text Analyzed text Gloss Translation Type Language Audio Details