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  1. #11
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    Default Re: difference between complement and object

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    Consider that its semantic contribution is intransitive;i.e., synonymous with transfer.

    Active: We have to transfer trains.
    Passive: Trains have to be transferred [by us].

    Additionally, do you see a pattern here?
    Ex: We were asked to/were told to/were made to/need(ed) to/want(ed) to transfer trains at Victoria station.
    Well, compare:

    We changed trains.
    She jumped ship.
    He fled the room.

    to:

    I lost face.
    I lost heart.

    The relation in the first set is usually expressed via prepositional phrases, while the relation in the second set is usually expressed via objects ("lose" = transitive verb). Yet I doubt the second set allows passivisation.

    What kind of complement are we talking about here? How many types of complement are we talking about here? (Notice I could have said: "How many types of complement are we talking here?")

    They're not your traditional subject/object complements. And the category of "adverbial complement" confuses me a bit.

    I do see the patterns, but I don't know what to make of them (in theory).

  2. #12
    rj1948 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: difference between complement and object

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
    Well, compare:

    We changed trains.
    She jumped ship.
    He fled the room.

    to:

    I lost face.
    I lost heart.

    The relation in the first set is usually expressed via prepositional phrases, while the relation in the second set is usually expressed via objects ("lose" = transitive verb). Yet I doubt the second set allows passivisation.

    What kind of complement are we talking about here? How many types of complement are we talking about here? (Notice I could have said: "How many types of complement are we talking here?")

    They're not your traditional subject/object complements. And the category of "adverbial complement" confuses me a bit.

    I do see the patterns, but I don't know what to make of them (in theory).
    Dear Dawnstorm,
    Ignore the previous posts.
    Germany appointed Beckenbauer captain.
    If we can change the voice with captain as one of the objects,it is a direct object.
    If not, it is a complement.It is as simple as that.

    regards,
    rj1948.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: difference between complement and object

    Quote Originally Posted by rj1948 View Post
    Dear Dawnstorm,
    Ignore the previous posts.
    Germany appointed Beckenbauer captain.
    If we can change the voice with captain as one of the objects,it is a direct object.
    If not, it is a complement.It is as simple as that.

    regards,
    rj1948.
    But I don't think that "if it's not an object, it's a complement," is a satisfactory definition of complement. It's a good rule of thumb, but it explains nothing.

    Actually, voice change makes for an interesting question:

    Germany appointed Beckenbauer captian. Beckenbauer = object; captain = object complement.

    Beckenbauer was appointed captain. Beckenbauer = subject; captain = (?subject?) complement

    The question remains: what defines complementation? Is it a syntactic category? Is it a semantic category? (Voice has similar problems in that the only marked voice in English - the passive - is a periphrastic construction.)

    There is a difference in complentation between:

    Beckenbauer is the captain. (predicative complement)
    Beckenbauer is appointed captain. (?resultative? complement)

    It seems that the patient-role does change the way complementation works, even if the patient is in subject position (so that "subject complement" and "object complement" may not be perfect terms).

    I may well be overcomplicating things. Just thinking out loud. (But this is the linguistics forum, isn't it? )

  4. #14
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    Default Re: difference between complement and object

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
    The question remains: what defines complementation? Is it a syntactic category? Is it a semantic category?
    It's a semantic one, of course (i.e., an object is acted upon) which is why stative verbs take complements, not objects. A complement functions as modification: it further defines its noun:
    She is a doctor. <complements the subject>
    They call him Max. <complements the object>
    We gave money. <verb's semantic object>
    Passive voice is a common test used to determine whether a verb takes a direct object:
    A doctor is she. <subject complement>
    Max is called him. <object complement>
    Money was given. <verb's semantic object>
    With the verb phrase change trains, the noun trains is not acted upon, which makes it a complement, not an object.
    We changed/transfered trains. <complement>
    We changed from one train to the next.
    Trains were changed [by us].
    That's the criteria.

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    Default Re: difference between complement and object

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    With the verb phrase change trains, the noun trains is not acted upon, which makes it a complement, not an object.
    We changed/transfered trains. <complement>
    We changed from one train to the next.
    Trains were changed [by us].
    That's the criteria.

    But this makes "complement" a throwaway category, that has little meaning beyond "verb argument that's neither subject nor object". Why shouldn't I make up a new name for it? A new category?

    To me, "changed trains" is different from both object and subject complements in that the "complement" doesn't complement anything. I notice that you evade the issue, simply saying <complement> rather than <complements X>, as you did for subject and object complements.

    Also, if its a semantic concept the complement in:

    Beckenbauer was appointed captain.

    Would still be an "object complement", because we'd be really talking about the patient, not the object, in the distinction and "object complement" would be a misnomer (much like "past participle".)

    Next, passivisation. How do you tell that the inability to transform an argument into the subject is due to complement status?

    Yes: I lost heart.
    No: Heart was lost.

    Now, to me "heart" looks a lot like an object, as "to lose" is a transitive word in this meaning. The reason you can't passivise this is that this particular collocation has idiom status. (Now you don't have to buy the argument; but we need to be able to correct for interfering factors.)

    I see that subject and object complements have something in common, in that the complement is related to another argument via the verb. "trains" in "We changed trains," doesn't appear to relate to another argument. There's only "we", but trains is not an aspect of ours. I can't see that. I'd argue it's functioning a lot more like an adverb than like a complement, in that it relates to action, not to its participants.

    If you're calling that a complement, too, I can't help thinking that would water down the distinction to near uselessness (much like the category "adverb" in traditional grammar). I'd like to be shown how this fits in with subject/object complementation. "It's not an object," doesn't help. It doesn't explain anything. It's like claiming that "The ball is blue," is active voice, because it's not passive voice.

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    Default Re: difference between complement and object

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
    But I don't think that "if it's not an object, it's a complement," is a satisfactory definition of complement. It's a good rule of thumb, but it explains nothing.
    Simply put, complements don't receive the action of an action verb, whereas objects do.
    Ex: Germany appointed Beckenbauer captian.

    Direct object test (passive)
    Beckenbauer was appointed captain.

    Complement test (insert BE)
    ... Beckenbauer captain = Beckenbauer (is) captian
    The noun captain is an object complement because it modifies the direct object Beckenbauer. Note that, inserting BE to test this doesn't make Beckenbauer a subject, nor captain a subject complement:
    Germany appointed Beckenbauer <subject> (is) captain <subject complement>
    The sentence is Germany appointed X Y, not *Germany appointed X is Y.

    You've lost me with emphatic the here:
    1. Beckenbauer is the captain. (active)

    Subject: Beckenbauer
    Subject complement: the captain


    2. Beckenbauer is appointed captain. (passive)

    Structural subject & Semantic object: Beckenbauer
    Structural object & Object complement: captain
    However, the very fact that you are using semantics to differentiate the two (i..e, 'resultative'), should tell you that semantics is the criteria here.

    I agree this is a great topic, and I'm looking forward to discussing it further with you.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: difference between complement and object

    Dawnstorm, I'm not sure how you would like me to 'compare' group A 'to' group B:
    Group A
    We changed trains.
    She jumped ship.
    He fled the room.

    (Note, the trains, the ship, and the room were not acted upon.)

    Group B
    I lost face.
    I lost heart.

    (Note, are you looking at the figurative or literal meaning here? After all, they are idiomatic.)
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    Adverbial complement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complement_(linguistics)

  8. #18
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    Default Re: difference between complement and object

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    Simply put, complements don't receive the action of an action verb, whereas objects do.
    Ex: Germany appointed Beckenbauer captian.

    Direct object test (passive)
    Beckenbauer was appointed captain.

    Complement test (insert BE)
    ... Beckenbauer captain = Beckenbauer (is) captian
    The noun captain is an object complement because it modifies the direct object Beckenbauer. Note that, inserting BE to test this doesn't make Beckenbauer a subject, nor captain a subject complement:
    Germany appointed Beckenbauer <subject> (is) captain <subject complement>
    The sentence is Germany appointed X Y, not *Germany appointed X is Y.
    We have to be careful with the distinctions between agent/patient (semantic categories) and subject/object (syntactic category). In the passive sentence:

    Beckenbauer is appointed captain.

    "Beckenbauer" is the sentence's subject; that's a feature of the passive sentence that the patient of the verb appears in the subject slot. As far as the verb is concerned, passivisation reduces it's valency. A passive verb has a valency of 1; and the minimum argument a verb needs in English the subject.

    The question that I had is: Does moving the patient from the object slot in the active voice sentence to the subject slot in the passive voice sentence change the object complement to a subject complement?

    It's in part a terminology question. But not only.

    To me the complements in the sentence:

    Beckenbauer is captain.
    and

    Beckenbauer is appointed captain.
    are different, even though they both - formally speaking - complement the sentence's subject.

    You've lost me with emphatic the here:
    Sorry. That had no meaning. When I typed that - for some reason - "Beckenbauer is captain," sounded incomplete.
    1. Beckenbauer is the captain. (active)

    Subject: Beckenbauer
    Subject complement: the captain


    2. Beckenbauer is appointed captain. (passive)

    Structural subject & Semantic object: Beckenbauer
    Structural object & Object complement: captain
    However, the very fact that you are using semantics to differentiate the two (i..e, 'resultative'), should tell you that semantics is the criteria here.
    Well, I've used semantics on purpose in that post, to differentiate the complements.

    I agree with the difference you're positing, but I'm uncertain how they map to the terms "subject complement" and "object complement". If it's semantic, I'd map subject ot agent and object to patient. But I'm not sure.

    Dawnstorm, I'm not sure how you would like me to 'compare' group A 'to' group B:Group A
    We changed trains.
    She jumped ship.
    He fled the room.

    (Note, the trains, the ship, and the room were not acted upon.)

    Group B
    I lost face.
    I lost heart.

    (Note, are you looking at the figurative or literal meaning here? After all, they are idiomatic.)
    1. I'm looking at the figurative meaning. As far as I'm concerned group B has no literal meaning. For the literal meaning I'd expect a determiner before "face" and "heart" (e.g. my).

    2. My point is that - to my judgement - they perform the same on the passivisation test. Yet group B looks more like an object (=semantic patient in the active voice) than group A.

    3. And, yes, these expressions are idiomatic. That's probably why they don't take the passive voice. And that's also my point. I'm not convinced that the passivisation test is completely reliable. For example, the constructions in group A could be formulaic enough to preclude passivisation. The variations simply don't exist in the passive voice.

    4. Not all sentences that can be passivised necessarily require a semantic patient. For example, I don't really have a problem with a sentence like "Many deaths were died that night." But I can't see, not even metaphorically, how "many deaths" were affected by dying. I don't see the "many deaths" as a semantic patient. (If passivisation itself bestows patient-status on "many deaths", we're caught in a cyclical argument: It's passive voice because the patient appears in subject position; it's a patient because it changes from the "object slot" to the "subject slot" in the process of passivisation.)

    Finally, I'm still not sure what "trains" in "change trains" complements. Complementation is pretty straightforward for subject/object complements (no matter how we apply the terms). So what kind of complements are the complements in group A (and B - if applicable)? Do we have objects or complements in group B? (Objects would be my choice.)

  9. #19
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    Default Re: difference between complement and object

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
    The question that I had is: Does moving the patient from the object slot in the active voice sentence to the subject slot in the passive voice sentence change the object complement to a subject complement?
    No. Word order, in this case (i.e., passive construct) doesn't alter the integrity of the semantic chain:
    appoint someone something
    someone is appointed [to be] something

    Ex: Berkensauer is appointed [to be] captain.
    Could the insertion of [to be] there tell us that captain is an object complement?

    Jumping ahead, but the question is significant, could the noun Berkensauer function as a complement, below, given its verb appoint?
    Ex: Germany appointed Berkensauer captian.
    Thematic Roles
    I think semantic roles play an important part but are not the primary criteria here. The key in determining whether a noun functions as an object or a complement is in whether or not its verb is non-stative and, most importantly, what kind of non-stative it is?


    Idiomatic Expression
    1. I lost face.
    2. I lost heart.

    Let's test them:

    1. Face was lost.
    2. Heart was lost.

    If you can accept the grammaticallity of the passive forms, then both face and heart are direct objects. If not, and the meanings sit awkward with you, then they are complements. Here's another example,
    Max hit the roof.
    Literal: She used her hand to slap the roof.
    Figurative: She got angry.
    In which example does the noun the roof function as an object?
    The roof was hit.
    => She got angry
    Quote Originally Posted by Dawnstorm
    Finally, I'm still not sure what "trains" in "change trains" complements. Complementation is pretty straightforward for subject/object complements (no matter how we apply the terms). So what kind of complements are the complements in group A (and B - if applicable)? Do we have objects or complements in group B? (Objects would be my choice.)
    The way I see it, if a noun isn't an object, then it isn't acted upon by its verb. Which tells us we are dealing with a verb that's neither dynamic nor stative, but rather somewhere between the two.

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    Default Re: difference between complement and object

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    No. Word order, in this case (i.e., passive construct) doesn't alter the integrity of the semantic chain:
    appoint someone something
    someone is appointed [to be] something

    Ex: Berkensauer is appointed [to be] captain.
    Could the insertion of [to be] there tell us that captain is an object complement?
    I think, now we're on the same page. In my terminology, we'd have - in the passive sentence - an object complement complementing a subject. The subject is not merely a case of word order; the subject behaves in different ways concerning verb agreement (They appoint --> Beckenbauer is appointed) and case (see pronoun substituion "appoint him" --> "he is appointed).

    If we were talking about German, where the case system is implemented not only on the pronoun level, we'd see that "captain" is in the dative case (following a preposition), a case object complements share with indirect objects. If we accept that English has a covert case system similar to German, than the translation test would also point towards an "object complement" (more accurately called "objective-case complement").

    Thematic Roles
    I think semantic roles play an important part but are not the primary criteria here. The key in determining whether a noun functions as an object or a complement is in whether or not its verb is non-stative and, most importantly, what kind of non-stative it is?
    We do seem to be speaking primarily about participant roles, not so much about thematic roles. But "thematic roles" are again different from "subject" and "object", in that thematic roles change with inversion: "Him I can't abide!"

    Jumping ahead, but the question is significant, could the noun Berkensauer function as a complement, below, given its verb appoint?
    Ex: Germany appointed Berkensauer captian.
    I don't think so. But it's a very interesting question.

    First, complements and the nouns they complement are not always exchangeable, as the semantic relationship is often one-way.

    Sometimes, their semantically exchangeable, and all that changes are the thematic roles:

    Pixie is the name of my cat. --> The name of my cat is Pixie.

    But at other times, the semantic relationship isn't equivalence; rather there a different levels of abstraction involved.

    Pixie is a cat. --> *A cat is Pixie.

    Similarly, "captain" is more abstract than "Beckenbauer", so that "captain" is a possible aspect of "Beckenbauer", while "Beckenbauer" is one element of the set of "captain". The verb appoint cannot - according to its meaning - "act" on an element of the objects set; rather it confers a new aspect on the object. I think that verb semantics would even override "unusual wordorder", given that you know about "Beckenbauer", "captains" and "appointing":

    They appointed captain Beckenbauer.
    Interestingly, though, if you remove the noun Beckenbauer, and talk in general only, you can have something like this:

    They have the power to appoint captains.
    And then even passivisation is possible:

    Three captains were appointed by them this year, but none lived up to their expectations.
    So apparantly it's possible to promote the object complement to object, by deleting the object. Interesting.

    Idiomatic Expression
    1. I lost face.
    2. I lost heart.

    Let's test them:

    1. Face was lost.
    2. Heart was lost.

    If you can accept the grammaticallity of the passive forms, then both face and heart are direct objects. If not, and the meanings sit awkward with you, then they are complements. Here's another example,
    Max hit the roof.
    Literal: She used her hand to slap the roof.
    Figurative: She got angry.
    In which example does the noun the roof function as an object?
    The roof was hit.
    => She got angry
    My hypothesis is that in idioms such as "She hit the roof!" the unavailability of the passive voice is not a function of grammar, but of pragmatics. Idioms work on pattern recognition, and breaking the pattern may keep us from recognising the idiom. Of course, this needs research.

    So, basically, in expressions such as "She hits the roof," idiomacity prevents passivisation, but "the roof" still functions as an object. It's obviously still a patient: the roof is still affected by the hitting; that the entire action of "hitting the roof" is figurative doesn't change that, and neither does the fact that the collocation is idiomatic.

    What I think we need is a methodology to assess the reliability of the passivisation method. Of course, if you define complementation over the passivisation, then that's that. But I wouldn't consider that a very useful definition. We wouldn't have to go to semantics at all, for this, since passivisation can be described in purely syntactic/formal terms.

    The way I see it, if a noun isn't an object, then it isn't acted upon by its verb. Which tells us we are dealing with a verb that's neither dynamic nor stative, but rather somewhere between the two.
    I'm not sure how you're using "dynamic" and "stative" verbs here. To my mind, this is entirely unrelated to having an object or not; it's about progressive aspect or not, among other distinguishing features. Having objects is not one of them. Both stative and dynamic verbs can have objects.

    ***

    After thinking about this a while, I think I'd just call "trains" in "changing trains" an adverbial, as it relates very closely to the verb, even before arguments are taken in consideration. To me, "trains" sounds more like part of the process than like a participant role.

    As far as participant roles are concerned, I'd ask who's involved with "changing trains". If the context takes care of "trains", you can just leave it off.

    "Take the train for Brighton and change at East Croydon Station for East Grinstead then follow directions above." (here)

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