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Theme and Patient are often described as distinct thematic roles. My understanding is that Themes undergo an action but does not change their state, while Patients undergo an action and do change their state. Despite this, it seems that in a lot of languages the thematic roles of theme and patient are treated the same way and marked the same way syntactically within a sentence, so I am interested in what basis there is to distinguish them. Are there any languages that indicate these thematic roles differently, marking them as different kinds of arguments in a sentence?

  • It seems that Finnish did that, using partitive vs accusative case marking. – Xwtek Nov 2 at 1:19

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