The Agent role has a 'privileged' status in many languages. In accusative languages, it is typically encoded as a subject (in the nominative case); in ergative languages, it is associated with a special case, the ergative. Irrespective of the alignment system of a language, the Agent role is plays a crucial role in various syntactic constructions, e.g. specific types of control structures and imperatives.
In the following examples Miguel is the Agent:
- Miguel chased Gianni.
- Miguel gave Pedro some water.
- Pedro was hit by Miguel. (passive voice)
- Grimshaw, J. 1990. Argument Structure, MIT-press, Cambridge, Mass.
- Gruber, J. 1965. Studies in lexical relations, doctoral dissertation, MIT
- Jackendoff, R. 1990. Semantic Structures, Cambridge, MIT-Press.
- Jackendoff, R. 1972. Semantic interpretation in generative grammar, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.