What Is a Patient?

  • Mário A. Perini


The semantic role Patient is poorly defined in the literature, so often one has to work with vague, nonoperational definitions. In this chapter it is shown that defining the Patient as the “entity that undergoes a change of state” accounts for part of the cases usually so analyzed; but in many cases this definition fails to work, and besides such cases cannot be brought under any single definition. For these cases, the solution here proposed is to leave the complements blank for semantic roles, and let them be filled in by default; the examination of many examples shows that this solution works adequately to account for the data. Finally, it is shown that the definition must be refined into the “entity that undergoes a nonpsychological change of state” because psychological change of state corresponds to another well-defined role, namely, the Experiencer.


Change of state Patient Profiling Transitive construction 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mário A. Perini
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil

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