Grammatical Functions, Thematic Roles, and Phrase Structure: Their Underlying Disunity

  • Frederick J. Newmeyer
Part of the Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory book series (SNLT, volume 52)


The purpose of this chapter is to argue against a position that nobody would have thought to adopt throughout most of the history of transformational syntax: the ‘Deep Alignment Hypothesis’ (DAH)1.According to the DAH, € rammatical functions (or relations), thematic roles, and configurational structure are in alignment at an underlying grammatical level. That is, a particular value for one implies a particular value for the others. Section 2 below traces the gradual development of the DAH over the past several decades. Section 3 critiques the hypothesis, arguing that the generalization that it embodies cannot be sustained. Section 4 is a brief conclusion.


Phrase Structure Main Clause External Argument Thematic Role Subordinate Clause 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

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  • Frederick J. Newmeyer

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