Theta Roles
(4,025 words)

The study of θ-roles in generative grammar begins with the work of Fillmore (1968) and Gruber (1976, based on his 1965 Massachusetts Institute of Technology dissertation). Gruber identified roles that still form the core of thematic role inventories: Theme (T – object in motion or at a location), Location (L), Source (S), Goal (G), and Agent (A – volitional performer of an action). These relations were termed ‘thematic’ because of the centrality of the Theme role to the system (Gruber 2003:257). The role Patient (P – undergoer of action), no…

Cite this page
Mark S. LeTourneau, “Theta Roles”, in: Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Managing Editors Online Edition: Lutz Edzard, Rudolf de Jong. Consulted online on 24 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004177024, 20090831

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