A Functional Analysis of Prepositional Phrases in Persian

Vali Rezai, Homayoon Saeedi

Abstract


Prepositional phrases may take different roles in Persian sentences as independent constituents. They can also act as constituents dependent to nominal, adjectival and adverbial phrases. Role and Reference Grammar presents a general classification of prepositional phrases. This classification is applied to prepositional phrases in Persian in this paper. In this theory, prepositions are categorized as either predicative or non-predicative. The former provides semantic information for the clause in which it occurs. The latter bear no semantic information for the clause and the nominal phrase occurring with them is determined by the predicate.The prepositional phrases are also classified into three groups of adjunct prepositional phrases, argument -marking, and argument- adjunct. In the first group, the predicative prepositions as heads, take the syntactic adjunct position. In the second group, the non-predicative prepositions don’t add substantial semantic information to the clause and the nominal phrase occurring with them is determined by the predicate. It means that the prepositional phrase is one of the arguments of the predicate. The third group contains predicative prepositions that add to the meaning of the sentence. In addition, argument-adjunct prepositional phrases introduce one of the participants in the event. This study demonstrates that the prepositional phrases in Persian have different functions. They not only take an adjunctive role but also act as argument for the predicates of different kinds in this language. Ultimately, we conclude that Role and Reference Grammar accounts for prepositional phrases in Persian.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v4i4.2405

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