Another look at accomplishments and incrementality

Susan Rothstein

in Telicity, Change, and State

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693498
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741715 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Theoretical Linguistics

Another look at accomplishments and incrementality

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The chapter reexamines the semantics of accomplishments predicates and argues that despite recent proposals to the contrary, there is a genuine class of accomplishment verbs which is linguistically useful. The chapter argues that lexical classes in general characterise the underlying types of events denotes by verbs. Following Kamp (1979 a,b,) the chapter suggests that the two basic types of events are states and instantaneous changes (what Vendler called States and Achievements). Activities are extended dynamic events, which are iterations of the series of changes which constitutes the minimal activity event (Dowty 1979; Rothstein 2004, 2008a). Accomplishments are likewise extended and dynamic, but are not iterable, since the lexical definition of the event type determines its endpoint. However, within this characterisation of accomplishments, there are subclasses of accomplishments, since different kinds of extended, dynamic, non-iterable events have different properties and may determine their endpoints in different ways. These different subclasses of accomplishments have different grammatical properties, and crosslinguistically the differences may show up in different ways.

Keywords: accomplishments; event composition; state; change; incrementality; telicity; iterability

Chapter.  19489 words. 

Subjects: Semantics

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