• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Ideal in introductory courses dealing with grammatical structure and linguistic analysis, Introduction to Typology overviews the major grammatical categories and constructions in the world's languages. Framed in a typological perspective, the constant concern of this primary text is to underscore the similarities and differences which underlie the vast array of human languages.

Valence
Valence

The term valence was borrowed into linguistics by the French linguist Lucien Tesnière (1959). Originally, it was used in chemistry where it denoted the capacity of an element to bond with other chemical elements. Similarly, in linguistics the term refers to the number of arguments that can combine with a verb. To understand how the nomenclature of valence is applied to language, consider the following English examples:

    • I am sleeping.
    • I touched the Mona Lisa.
    • I gave the million dollars to a waitress.

In (1a), the valence of the verb is “1” because only a single argument is required. Any additional noun phrases or prepositional phrases that might be added to the sentence (e.g., “I am sleeping in typology class”) are considered to be “adjuncts” ...

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