Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Source As A Semantic Role


Source is the semantic role of the following referents:

  • The place of origin (with verbs of motion, locomotion, and propulsion)
  • The entity from which a physical sensation emanates (with verbs of sensation, attention, and speech)
  • The original owner in a transfer (with verbs of acquisition, transfer, and grab)


  • As the place of origin:
    • John fell off the chair.(with a motion verb)

    • The baby crawled from the kitchen to the door. (with a locomotion verb)

    • John threw the knife into the box. (with a propulsion verb)

    • NOTE: With propulsion verbs, the source is coreferential with the agent.

  • As the entity from which a physical sensation emanates:

    • John smelled the odor of onions. (with a sensation verb)

    • The people watched the performance of the dancers. (with an attention verb)

    • The mother told her child a story. (with a speech verb)

    • NOTE: With speech verbs, the source is coreferential with the agent.
  • As the original owner in a transfer:

    • John obtained an application form from the office. (with an acquisition verb)

    • John bought the book from Tom. (with a transfer verb)

    • John grabbed the book from Tom. (with a grab verb)


Glossary Hierarchy