Assignment by Default

  • Mário A. Perini


The assignment of thematic relations to individual complements is a more complex mechanism than usually shown in the literature. In this chapter it is shown that in many cases assignment must be done by default, that is, by associating a sentence complement with a cognitive relation directly taken from the schema evoked by the main verb. Assignment in such cases is subject to cognitive and also linguistic constraints. Some examples are given of the action of assignment by default to particular sentences, and it is argued that the traditional system results in unnecessary repetition of information. Assignment by default is also convenient in describing the occurrence of thematic relations not formally realized, as in the children have eaten, where an “eaten thing” is necessarily understood, although no complement exists in the structure that can be assigned this relation; no grammatical marking is needed in order to account for this.


Assignment by default Cognitive filters Schema variables Understood relations 


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Authors and Affiliations

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

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