In this infinite cosmos we have only one life each. A life in this infinite cosmos is just like a dust in the world. Born by chance and die in necessity. Feeble life and boundless world, two facts we face. Even if you spend your whole life solving them. You will get nothing. - 1998

Friday, April 23, 2004


Semantic correlates of syntactic roles
syntactic: subject, direct object, indirect object, prepositional objects
semantic: agent, patient, benefactive, instrument-loc-source

Roles Suggested in Linguistc Work
Fillmore's (1968 ) 5 roles
agentive: typically animate perceived instigator
instrumental: inanimate force or object causally involved
dative: animate being resulting from the action
locative: location or spatial orientation of the action
objective: other entities invovled in the action

Frawley's (1992) 4 roles
logical actors: agent, author, and instrument
logical recipients: patient, experiencer, and benefactive
spatial role: theme, source, and goal
non-participant roles: locative, reason, and purpose

Jackendoff's (1972) 3 primitive roles:
CAUSE, CHANGE and BE later adopted by Dowty (1979) in Montague Grammar.

Dowty's (1989) 2 `thematic-role-like concepts' for verbal predicates:
the proto-agent and proto-patient role.
subjecthood vs. objecthood, agentivity vs. patientivity
Contributing properties for the proto-agent role
-- Volition; sentience (and/or perception); causes event; movement.
Contributing properties for the proto-patient role
-- Change of state (including coming-to-being, going-out-of-being); incremental theme (i.e. determinant of aspect); causally

affected by event; stationary (relative to movement of proto-agent).

Sowa's (1984) "Conceptual Structures" text
two dozen or so thematic relations and 37 conceptual relations [url]
Sowa's (1999) "Knowledge Representation" text
19 themantic roles [url=]

Upper Cyc Ontology (1997)
100+ themantic roles [url=]

FrameNetII countless frames
every sense of every word (i.e., every lexical unit) has its own frame. [url=]

A list of the most popular semantic/thematic-roles/relations and the properties usually associated with them is given below.
Agent: A participant which the meaning of the verb specifies as doing or causing something, possibly intentionally. Examples:

subjects of kill, eat, hit, smash, kick, watch.

Patient: a participant which the verb characterizes as having something happen to it, and as being affected by what happens to it. Examples: objects of kill, eat, smash but not those of watch, hear, love.

Experiencer: A participant who is characterized as aware of something. Examples: subject of love, object of annoy.

Theme: A participant which is characterized as changing its position or condition, or as being in a state or position. Examples: objects of give, hand, subjects of walk, die.

Location: The thematic role associated with the NP expressing the location in a sentence with a verb of location. Examples: subjects of keep, own, retain, know, locative PPs.

Source: Object from which motion proceeds. Examples: subjects of buy, promise, objects of deprive, free, cure.

Goal: Object to which motion proceeds. Examples: subject of receive, buy, dative objects of tell, give. (adapted from ([Dow89])


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