Person marking on verbs

This parameter considers person marking (PM) [1] of verbal arguments[2] A and P on transitive verbs. Person refers to the number of persons distinguished in the pronominal paradigm.[3] Independent sentences should be examined in which the transitive verb appears in the present tense, indicative mood, and active voice; A (animate, conscious performer of action) and P should be represented by nouns or personal pronouns; and the verb shows the maximum possible agreement in terms of person. (Examples in which P is represented by first- and second-person pronouns should also be considered.)

Since this parameter looks specifically at person agreement, other forms of agreement the verb may display with A and P should not be considered here, such as gender, definiteness, referentiality, or animacy. Furthermore, agreement that is limited to a specific person is similarly insufficient for the purposes of this parameter.[4] The values SpecPM (as well as SpecAPM and SpecPPM) only apply if person agreement occurs under special circumstances. Examples include agreement that is optional; occurs only with pronouns or only with nouns; depends on word order; depends on verb tense, aspect, or mood; or depends on polarity (whether the sentence is affirmative or negative) or status of subordination. Any such special circumstances should be described in the commentary.


NoPM: No arguments of the verb show any person agreement.

SpecPM: The verb displays person agreement, under certain circumstances, with both A and P.

SpecAPM: The verb displays person agreement with P and, under certain circumstances, with A.

SpecPPM: The verb displays person agreement with A and, under certain circumstances, with P.

APM: The verb displays person agreement with only A.

PPM: The verb displays person agreement with only P.

A~PPM: The verb displays person agreement with either A or P, but not simultaneous agreement with both.

PM: The verb displays obligatory agreement with both A and P in terms of person.


[1] Zero-valency (avalent) intransitive verbs and ditransitive verbs are not considered in this parameter. Person agreement may be marked through the use of analytic (referring to only one argument) or synthetic (referring to both function simultaneously) affixes or stem variation.

[2] A (agent) refers to the conscious, active, willful performer of the action; P (patient) refers to the entity resulting from or affected by the action.

[3] Most languages evaluated for this parameter will feature at least six distinct persons. If the given language features distinctly inclusive and exclusive pronouns in the non-singular first person, these pronouns also represent distinct persons for the purposes of this parameter.

[4] It should be mentioned, however, in the commentary. For example, the verb might only display agreement with the subject in second person.