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  1. #21
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    Re: difference between complement and object

    Dawnstorm, I enjoyed reading your post.


    [1] I agree that passivisation is not a reliable test (i.e., that all transitive verbs can be passivised is not true); its the verb's meaning that plays the major role and the example change trains as in to transfer is a perfect example of this: transfer money (to move the money from here to there) and transfer trains (to move oneself from here to there) express different meanings, and it is the words money and trains that make that difference possible--pragmatics, as you have pointed out.

    [2] adverbial complements answer the questions where, when, etc; e.g. she is upstairs. In chang[ing] trains, the noun trains isn't a place or a time, which makes it seem unlikely that it's adverbial in function.


    [3] Could you explain the following point further?
    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."

  2. #22
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    Re: difference between complement and object

    You're really making me think there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    [2] adverbial complements answer the questions where, when, etc; e.g. she is upstairs. In chang[ing] trains, the noun trains isn't a place or a time, which makes it seem unlikely that it's adverbial in function.
    This raises a lot of questions I'd rather not mention in this thread, for fear of sidetracking it.

    Actually, I think "change trains" carries a hint of an elided prepositional phrase ("change from one train to another" or something). Similarly: "jump ship" = "jump off the ship"; "fled the room" = "fled out of the room".

    While "change trains" and "jump ship" are idiomatic, "flee something" is more formulaic, since the noun phrases vary and take the article. If you google "fled the", you'll find most of the things you flee are places. There are notable exceptions:

    "fled the violence", "fled the Nazis", ...

    The question is whether the constructions above have a stronger sense of being surrounded than the versions "fled from the violence", "fled from the Nazis"... [Interestingly, my Oxford Dictionary of English calls the noun phrases in this case "objects", hehe, so perhaps I should treat this differently, on account of being less idiomatic and more prone to word-creativity.]

    I do think that in all such constructions there's a predominant sense of location to the noun-phrases.

    [3] Could you explain the following point further?
    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."
    What I'm saying here is that I, instinctively, parse "change trains" as a single process before I think about participant roles. Rather than asking who's involved with "changing" and coming up with "We" and "trains", I'd ask who's involved with "changing trains" and come up with "we". "Change" alone can take that function.

    You can't do that with complements as easily. You can of course elide complements:

    "He's captain, now." - "Yeah, they appointed him yesterday."

    But the lexical meaning of "appoint" doesn't change. On the other hand, the meaning of "change" and "change trains" appears to be the same. I do think that "trains" is implied in "change" rather than an deictic ellipsis. Actually, I think that "change trains" is the marked version of "change" (but I'd have to look at usage to be sure).

    In summary, I think the term train relates more closely to the verb itself than to the verb's subject.

    This is different from "She is upstairs," actually. (And now I can't resist poking the hornets nest...) To me, upstairs is more closely related to the subject than to the verb. ("Sally?" - "Upstairs.") I do think linking-to-be is merely a dummy verb; little more than a grammatical function. (See how the hornets come buzzing now? This is a discussion that involves various concepts such as "intransitive prepositions". I should leave things alone...)
    Last edited by Dawnstorm; 11-Jun-2008 at 08:07. Reason: whose --> who's

  3. #23
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    Re: difference between complement and object

    Homophone alert! (who's/whose)



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    Re: difference between complement and object

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    Homophone alert! (who's/whose)


    Oops, corrected.

  5. #25
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    Re: difference between complement and object

    You're right here, "I think that "change trains" is the marked version of "change", which is why you--and I both--got the meaning from one train to another. The noun train,as you know, doesn't express that meaning. The verb's meaning to tranfer houses that information, but trains has an important role to play as well. It alters the verb's meaning (transfer/change; i.e., change money vs change trains).

    _________________
    Ex: She is upstairs.

    The adverbial complement upstairs answers the question where. It doesn't get any deeper than that. Prepositions are directional; i.e., anything a cat can do. The adverb upstairs represents a location, which can also be expressed using a prepositional phrase (up the stairs). "Adverb" is its categorical form in that context. Its function, that of an adverb because it tells us where the subject is located (she is upstairs), thus making it a complement--but not a subject complement as that term is reserved for nominals.

  6. #26
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    Re: difference between complement and object

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    You're right here, "I think that "change trains" is the marked version of "change", which is why you--and I both--got the meaning from one train to another. The noun train,as you know, doesn't express that meaning. The verb's meaning to tranfer houses that information, but trains has an important role to play as well. It alters the verb's meaning (transfer/change; i.e., change money vs change trains).
    I agree. (And I'm not insisting on the category adverbial, either). The key sentence here, to me, is "[Trains] alters the verb's meaning". Yes, it does. That is my point.

    Your avarage complement, say subject or object complements, do not alter the meaning of the verb; they expand the meaning of the subject/object.

    He is a man. --> Man = aspect of He
    They appoint him captain. --> Captain is aspect of "him".

    But: They change trains. --> At no point "trains" is an aspect of "they". "Trains", considered as an aspect of "they", is at best a projection of the material part of the intended action as far as "they" are "knowledgeable agents". But this means little more than that "trains" is an aspect of the action. This is very different from subject or object complements.

    In that sense, "trains" has actually more in common with objects than with complements. Consider the relation between the Subject and object in "Bill drank beer." From the perspective of Bill, "beer" is a projection of the material part of the intended action of "drinking beer".

    Ex: She is upstairs.

    The adverbial complement upstairs answers the question where. It doesn't get any deeper than that.
    One reason I don't venture out of the linguistics forum much anymore is that this sort of terminology is so predominant, but I can't really find it very useful.

    Yes, "upstairs" answers the question where, but the question, in Cavemanspeak, I see is: "Where she?" not "She: where be?" Or differently put, I'd argue that "where is" questions do not constitute adverbials. Only "where does" questions do. (This is exactly analogous to "How is" vs. "how does"; "he is nice," vs. "he sings nicely." The only difference with prepositional phrases (and, yes, I do consider "upstairs" a prepositional phrase") is that they do not have a different form for adverbial use than adjectives have.)

    Prepositions are directional; i.e., anything a cat can do.
    I doubt that anyone would deny the "in" in "The cat is in the garden," is a preposition, or that it is locative rather than directional.

    The adverb upstairs represents a location, which can also be expressed using a prepositional phrase (up the stairs). "Adverb" is its categorical form in that context.
    Again, this depends on what terminology you're using. Personally, I'd describe it as an "intransitive preposition" (which can, but doesn't have to, occur in an adverbial).

    Its function, that of an adverb because it tells us where the subject is located (she is upstairs), thus making it a complement--but not a subject complement as that term is reserved for nominals.
    Hm, the definitions I know would at the very least include adjectives:

    He is nice./"Nice" = subject complement.
    ***

    Again, it's mostly a question of terminology. I know of a definition that contrasts "complements" and "adjuncts", and assign the meaning of "mandatory elements" and "optional elements". At the very least this is the usage found in *pdf-warning*valency grammar. [Aside: If you're looking at that article, Emon's category E5 is pretty compatible with what I consider complements.] Notice that this would make "subjects" and "objects" subcategories of complements, and that this isn't what we're talking about here, but the distinction between "complement" and "adjunct" does seem to be a factor of both our respective definitions.

  7. #27
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    Re: difference between complement and object

    I like this argument:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
    But: They change trains. --> At no point "trains" is an aspect of "they". "Trains", considered as an aspect of "they", is at best a projection of the material part of the intended action ... . But this means little more than that "trains" is an aspect of the action. This is very different from subject or object complements.

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