The Contribution of Roots: The Division of Labor between Grammar and the Lexicon in Meaning Composition (PhD thesis)
Josep Ausensi
October 2021

This dissertation explores the division of labor between grammar and the lexicon from the viewpoint of event structural theories which take verb meanings to decompose into event templates and roots. Event templates define the temporal and causal structure of the event, while roots fill in real-world details. On this view, the semantics of the whole syntactic structure and the grammatical properties of the verbs are solely determined by the event templates, and never by roots. In this dissertation, I argue against this strong division of labor by showing that roots play a bigger role in grammar and meaning composition. I argue in favor of an event structural theory of verb meaning in which the contributions of event templates and roots are not mutually exclusive, but complement each other with grammatical consequences. Namely, root-specific entailments are shown to be grammatically relevant insofar as they restrict the syntactic structure and in turn determine the grammatical properties of verbs. I argue thus in favor of an event structural approach which needs to be sensitive to the semantic contribution of roots insofar as roots impose restrictions on their syntactic contexts.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/006242
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Universitat Pompeu Fabra dissertation
keywords: event structure, argument structure, roots, semantics, syntax
previous versions: v1 [October 2021]
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