1932

Abstract

Evidence from the study of verbal argument alternations suggests that the syntactic structure of an event-denoting clause often reflects the structure of the event it denotes, in the sense that parts of the clause refer to aspects of the event. The patterns of such mappings between clause structure and event structure tend to be crosslinguistically uniform. Proffered explanations for these phenomena fall into two distinct theoretical currents. Lexicalists explain these phenomena in terms of the inherent paradigmatic structure of the lexicon, which leads verbs with similar meanings to have similar valence structures. Constructionists see these phenomena as evidence that the syntax itself conveys meaning that composes with the meaning contributed by the verb. The roots of this theoretical split are traced to differing perspectives on polysemy, and a partial synthesis of the two perspectives is proposed.

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2020-01-14
2024-06-13
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