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:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Lexical Decomposition in Modern Syntactic Theory

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology


Show Summary Details


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

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.