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On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 2:57 PM, Eldin Raigmore
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Among the possible problems are, what exactly is meant by "valency"?
> Is the valency of a verb (while sitting, unused but ready for use, in the
> lexicon),
> * the number of _arguments_ it _allows_ (including oblique arguments)?
> * the number of _arguments_ it _requires_ (including obligatory obliques)?
> * the number of _core_ arguments it _allows_ ?
> * the number of _core_ arguments it _requires_ ?
>
> Or does "valency" refer to the verb as actually used in a given clause?
> * the number of _arguments_ actually showing up (including oblique
> arguments)?
> * the number of _core_ arguments actually showing up?

Perhaps a little computer science terminology could be borrowed to
disambiguate at least between those two broad groups?  Programmers
draw a distinction between a subroutine's *parameters* (the things it
expects to receive; meaningful when talking about the subroutine in
the abstract independently of any call) and its *arguments* (the
things it actually receives; meaningful when talking about a
particular call to the subroutine, but also when talking abstractly
about the relationship between arguments and parameters within a given
parameter-passing style).

I'm afraid that even in CS-land the definition of "valency" is still
an open question where subroutines with a variable number of
parameters are concerned.

-- 
Mark J. Reed <[log in to unmask]>