Revisiting the elasticity of verb meaning and the way-construction in English (pre-print version)
Josep Ausensi
January 2019

Rappaport Hovav and Levin (2010) argue that result verbs (e.g. break) are more restricted than manner verbs (e.g. wipe) with regard to argument realization, since result verbs do not permit object deletion (e.g. *John broke) or nonselected objects (e.g. *John broke his ļ¬ngers bloody). In the present paper, I argue that result verbs can permit nonselected objects, i.e. I show that they are found in the way-construction when the result state they encode is predicated of a patient that despite not being overtly realized is semantically implicit. In a similar vein, Marantz (1992), Levin (1993) and Levin and Rappaport Hovav (1995) argue that unaccusative verbs are never found in the way-construction, as only unergative verbs are per-mitted. However, as Kuno and Takami (2004) note, there are some unaccusative verbs (e.g. roll) that can appear in this construction. In this respect, I argue that unaccusative verbs permit the way-construction when they do not encode result states. Consequently, I contend that unac-cusativity is not the constraint imposed by the way-construction on the verb classes permitted, contra previously assumed. In short, I argue that both result and unaccusative verbs appear to be more elastic with regard to argument realization than previously claimed.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004434
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 23
keywords: argument realization, manner, result, unaccusativity, nonselected objects., semantics
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