66 Experiencer constructions with ‘headache’


In this and the following two features, we will look at different kinds of experiencer constructions, expressing situations involving 'headache' (Feature 66), 'liking' (Feature 67), and 'fear' (Feature 68). There is little systematic typological literature on experiencer constructions.

In the questionnaire, we asked for the expression of 'headache', but some contributors could not provide a ‘headache’ example from their language. In this case, examples expressing similar pain experiences were also accepted.

So this feature is about the type of constructions expressing pain, and more specifically headache, as in English She has a headache. Such headache-constructions involve three participants, an experiencer who experiences the pain sensation ('she'), the sensation itself ('ache'), and potentially a body-part ('head') to which this sensation is related.

There is a lot of interesting variation in such constructions. However in this feature, we mainly focus on the question which of the three participants is coded in subject position. Subject is defined here as an argument that is coded like the typical agent in a monotransitive clause, or the single argument of an intransitive clause.

Many languages are reported to have several different ‘headache’ constructions.


Susanne Maria Michaelis and the APiCS Consortium


Experiencer is subject162036
Body-part is subject312455
Pain is subject044
Experiencer is dative123
Incorporated body-part noun011

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