The Variable Size of Events

Robert Truswell

in Events, Phrases, and Questions

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199577774
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725319 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Theoretical Linguistics

The Variable Size of Events

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This chapter describes the structure of core events. Core events are discrete perceptual units carved out of the continuous flow of happenings in the real world. A core event consists of two optional subevents related by direct causation: a temporally extended, unbounded process, and a culmination, or instant of change. Neither discrete events nor direct causal relations are inherent in the happenings the chapter perceives. Instead, they arise through a pragmatic process of coarse-graining. This chapter also introduces Fodor's Generalization, that a single verb phrase describes a single event. This gives a heuristic linguistic test for when two subevents can form a macroevent: if two subevents related by a relation R can be described by a single verb phrase, then that relation must be sufficient for those two subevents to form a single macroevent. Such relations are called contingent relations.

Keywords: event structure; direct causation; discreteness; boundedness; aspectual classes; Fodor; coarse-graining

Chapter.  11015 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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