Article

Lexical Decomposition in Modern Syntactic Theory

Heidi Harley

in The Oxford Handbook of Compositionality

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199541072
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199541072.013.0015

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Lexical Decomposition in Modern Syntactic Theory

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English ditransitive verbs that occur in the double-object frame are treated as syntactically complex, containing formatives CAUSE and HAVE in an embedding structure. The external argument of an agentive verb does not compose with the verb itself, but with an independent predicate, which relates the external argument to the verbal event. This independent predicate contributes the notion that the external argument is the Agent or Cause of the event. In the semi-neo-Davidsonian semantics proposed in Kratzer (1993, 1996), predicates denote a relationship between an individual and an eventuality, and a compositional operation of Event Identification applies to ensure that the stative eventuality and the causative eventuality are coindexed, each modifying the same single event argument, of which only a single temporal location can be predicated.

Keywords: agentive verb; transitive alternating verbs; semantic constraints; CAUSE–HAVE hypothesis; alternating verbs

Article.  9571 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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