More valence features

Now let’s think about slightly more complicated verbs. How about the verb sees, for example?

Here’s some information for the verb sees. The main difference here is that we have two VALENCE features, SUBJECT and COMPS. Obviously that’s just subject and complement. We can forget about writing VALENCE from now on. The specification for COMPS says that the complement must be accusative case, or at least not nominative. This verb hates nominative complements! Actually, ALL English verbs hate nominative complements.

Sees takes a nominative subject but hates nominative complements. So a sentence like Her sees she is definitely NO GOOD. However, what happens if we have a good sentence such as She sees her?

Here’s she again. It will work fine as our subject. What will happen in the CONTENT of the verb sees?
Here’s her. It will work as a complement because it is not nominative. The only thing you have to worry about is that the index number can’t match 1 (SEER) in sees CONTENT. It will match with 2 (SEEN) of course.
Here’s sees again. The CONTENT of she will merge with the CONTENT of SEER and the CONTENT of her will merge with the CONTENT of SEEN.

So all this feature sharing means that the CONTENT of sees will have the CONTENT of she in the SEER relation, and the CONTENT of her will be in the SEEN relation. What will that actually look like?

She sees her. As you can see from sees CONTENT, both the SEER and the SEEN are 3rd person singular female. She sees her. That’s right. She is nominative and her is not nominative, as we expect.

How about a sentence such as He sees her?

He sees her. The only difference is that the GENDER feature for SEER is male.

How about He sees us?

He sees us. Us is 1st person plural, neutral for GENDER. It is also accusative case.

Anyway, before you get too excited, check out the PowerPoint slides here.