SubjectsSubjects(version: 861)
Course, academic year 2019/2020
Valency in English - AAA500167
Title: Valency in English
Guaranteed by: Department of the English Language and ELT Methodology (21-UAJD)
Faculty: Faculty of Arts
Actual: from 2019
Semester: winter
Points: 0
E-Credits: 5
Examination process: winter s.:
Hours per week, examination: winter s.:0/2 C [hours/week]
Capacity: unknown / 13 (unknown)
Min. number of students: unlimited
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Additional information:
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
Guarantor: Mgr. et Mgr. Jakub Sláma
Teacher(s): Mgr. et Mgr. Jakub Sláma
Annotation -
Last update: Mgr. et Mgr. Jakub Sláma (25.10.2019)
The course will extend the student’s knowledge of the valency of verbs, but will also deal with the valency of nouns, adjectives and adverbs. It introduces the tools and resources useful for studying valency (valency dictionaries, specialized databases, and syntactically annotated corpora), and it contrasts various theoretical approaches to valency (or argument structure) and discusses the results of various empirical studies of valency (including psycho- and neurolinguistic studies as well as studies of language acquisition). Various specific issues will be addressed, including valency alternations and the interaction of valency and morphology. The course will also include practical activities and exercised based mainly on corpus data.
Course completion requirements -
Last update: Mgr. et Mgr. Jakub Sláma (25.10.2019)

attendance, required reading, homework assignments, final test

Literature -
Last update: Mgr. et Mgr. Jakub Sláma (25.10.2019)

Required reading:

Week 3Panevová, J. (1999): Valence a jejíuniverzální a specificképrojevy. Čeština – univerzália a specifika 1, 29–37. Brno.

Week 4Fillmore, C. (1970): The Grammar of Hitting and Breaking. In: R. Jacobs & P. Rosenbaum (eds.), Readings in English Transformational Grammar, 120–133. Washington: Georgetown University Press. and Levin, B. (1993): English Verb Classes and Alternations. A Preliminary Investigation. Chicago & London: The University of Chicaho Press; pages 1–12.

Week 5: Goldberg, A. E. (2003): Constructions: A new theoretical approach to language. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7(5): 219–224.

Week 6Hilpert, M. (2014): Construction Grammar and its Application to English. Edinburgh University Press; pages 45–47and Perek, F. (2015): Argument Structure in Usage-Based Construction Grammar. John Benjamins Publishing Company; pages 145–151.

Week 7Herbst, T. (1988): A valency model for nouns in English. Journal of Linguistics 24(2): 265–301.

Week 8: Aikhenvald, A. (2015): The Art of Grammar. A Practical Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press; pages 141–147.

Week 9choose Denison, D. (2009): Argument structure. In: G. Rohdenburg & J. Schlüter (eds.), One Language, Two Grammars? Differences between British and American English, 149–165. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. or Rohdenburg, G. (2009): Reflexive structures. In: G. Rohdenburg & J. Schlüter (eds.), One Language, Two Grammars? Differences between British and American English, 166–181. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Week 10Casenhiser, D. M. & G. M. L. Bencini (2015): Argument structure constructions. In: E. Dąbrowska & D. Divjak (eds.), Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics, 579–594. Berlin & Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.

Week 11Saicová Římalová, L. (2018): Is there such a thing as nonverbal valency? Prace Filologiczne 72: 321–331.


Recommended reading:

Week 7:

  • Mackenzie, J. L. (1997): Nouns are avalent – and nominalizations too. In: K. van Durme (ed.), The Valency of Nouns, 89–118. Odense: Odense University Press.
  • Spevak, O. (2014): Noun valency in Latin. In: O. Spevak (ed.), Noun Valency, 183–210. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Week 9:

  • Deshors, S. C. & S. Th. Gries (2016): Profiling verb complementation constructions across New Englishes. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 21(2): 192–218.
  • Thompson, S. A. & P. J. Hopper (2001): Transitivity, clause structure, and argument structure: Evidence from conversation. In: J. Bybee & P. Hopper (eds.), Frequency and the Emergence of Linguistic Structure, 27–60. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.



  • Ágel, V. et al., eds. (2003): Dependenz und Valenz. Ein internationales Handbuch der zeitgenössischen Forschung. Dependency and Valency: An International Handbook of Contemporary Research, Vol. 1. Walter de Gruyter.
  • Aikhenvald, A. (2015): The Art of Grammar. A Practical Guide. Oxford University Press.
  • Allerton, D. J. (2006): Valency Grammar. In: K. Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics, Vol. 13, 301–314. Elsevier.
  • Alsina, A. (2006): Argument Structure. In: K. Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics, Vol. 1, 461–468. Elsevier.
  • Bybee, J. & P. Hopper, eds. (2001): Frequency and the Emergence of Linguistic Structure. John Benjamins.
  • Chomsky, N. (1965): Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. MIT Press.
  • Chomsky, N. (1972): Studies on Semantics in Generative Grammar. Mouton.
  • de Almeida, R. G. & C. Manouilidou, eds. (2015): Cognitive Science Perspectives on Verb Representation and Processing. Springer.
  • Goldberg, A. E. (1995): Constructions. A Construction Grammar Approach to Argument Structure. The University of Chicago Press.
  • Goldberg, A. E. (2006): Constructions at Work. Oxford University Press.
  • Goldberg, A. E. (2019): Explain Me This. Creativity, Competition, and the Partial Productivity of Constructions. Princeton University Press.
  • Grimshaw, J. (1990): Argument Structure. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Herbst, T. & K. Götz-Votteler, eds. (2007): Valency: Theoretical, Descriptive and Cognitive Issues. Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Malchukov, A. & A. Spencer, eds. (2009): The Oxford Handbook of Case. Oxford University Press.
  • Müller, P. O., I. Ohnheiser, S. Olsen & F. Rainer, eds. (2015): Word-Formation. An International Handbook of the Languages of Europe, Vol. 2. De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Skwarska, K. & E. Kaczmarska, eds. (2016): Výzkum slovesné valence ve slovanských zemích. Slovanský ústav AV ČR.
  • Spevak, O., ed. (2014): Noun Valency. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • Taylor, J. R. (2012): The Mental Corpus. Oxford University Press.
  • Tutunjian, D. & J. E. Boland (2008): Do we need a distinction between arguments and adjuncts? Evidence from psycholinguistic studies of comprehension. Language and Linguistics Compass 1: 631–646.
  • Van Valin, R. D. & R. J. LaPolla (1997): Syntax, Structure, Meaning and Function. Cambridge University Press.
Last update: Mgr. et Mgr. Jakub Sláma (25.10.2019)

October 7: Introduction & overview

October 14: Lexicalist approaches I

  • overview of approaches;
  • linking / mapping;
  • transparency principles;
  • thematic role hierarchies

October 21: Lexicalist approaches II: Functional Generative Description

  • Functional Generative Description;
  • valency frames;
  • valency dictionaries;
  • the CzEngClass project

November 4: Verb classes and alternations I

November 11: Constructionist approaches

  • arguments against lexicalist accounts;
  • argument structure constructions

November 18: Verb classes and alternations II

  • argument structure competition;
  • statistical preemption;
  • frequency & argument structure

November 25: Morphology & valency I

  • word formation & argument structure;
  • nominalization & noun valency;
  • adjective & adverb valency

December 2: Morphology & valency II

  • voice & diatheses;
  • valency-changing derivations;
  • cross-linguistic perspectives

December 9: Empirical perspectives on valency I

  • the variability of valency across registers;
  • the variability of valency across English dialects;
  • evidence from conversation

December 16: Empirical perspectives on valency II

  • the acquisition of argument structure constructions;
  • priming studies of argument structure;
  • neuroimaging studies of argument structure

January 6: Empirical perspectives on valency III

  • second language acquisition and valency;
  • gesture and valency
Entry requirements -
Last update: Mgr. et Mgr. Jakub Sláma (25.10.2019)

a) basic knowledge of English syntax (at a level corresponding to the compulsory BA course on syntax);

b) ideally (not necessarily) basic knowledge of linguistic theory (at a level corresponding to the compulsory MA course Modern linguistic descriptions of English, or a similar course)

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