Predicate's arguments are just case slots, aren't they? So predicate-argument structure and case structure are just the same thing?

  • In predicate calculus case has to be specified, along with everything else. V (NP, NP), for instance, specifies that the first NP argument is the grammatical subject of V, and the second one is the grammatical direct object (in non-ergative languages, anyway; for ergative languages you're on your own). It is of course also possible to formalize case grammar directly without resorting to predicate calculus. – jlawler Sep 4 '15 at 19:08
  • @jlawler My understanding is that, take John had a meal for example, predicate-argument structure is like [sub:NP:John] [pred:VP:had] [obj:NP:a meal], and case structure is like had(John, a meal). They are just the same thing in different form? Am I right? – speedcell4 Sep 5 '15 at 4:23
  • These are formal descriptions, so they can't be "the same thing in different form". Different form is different in formal grammar, unless there's an identity proof. So it depends on the axioms of the formal theory you're using; the forms may be equivalent, or one may include the other, or they may have overlapping truth sets, or they may be disjoint. Or something more complicated. – jlawler Sep 5 '15 at 13:43
  • @jlawler Could you please show me some examples respectively? I am just still little confused. thank you~ – speedcell4 Sep 7 '15 at 11:34
  • It might be that the theory designer had developed conventions for indicating grammatical relations like subject/direct object/indirect object, or case relations like agent/patient/receiver (these are not the same relations; though they often match in practice, transformations often change them); if so, then they are there to be followed. If not, you can make your own conventions; ask your teacher what theory this is and what notational conventions are common. It's kinda like upgrading a browser and learning new shortcuts. – jlawler Sep 7 '15 at 14:53

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