Verbs of pure change of state in Englishprojection, constructions and event structure

  1. Beatriz Martínez Fernández
Supervised by:
  1. Francisco Javier Martín Arista Director

Defence university: Universidad de La Rioja

Year of defence: 2007

  1. Francisco José Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez Chair
  2. Lorena Pérez Hernández Secretary
  3. Eulalia Sosa Acevedo Committee member
  4. Francisco José Cortés Rodríguez Committee member
  5. Ricardo Mairal Usón Committee member

Type: Thesis


Role and Reference Grammar (RRG) is a theory of clausal relations whose strength lies in its typological validity and eclecticism. However, its system of lexical representation has some weaknesses, as it fails to satisfactorily explain the semantics of those structures that extend beyond the basic meaning of the verb, like resultative constructions or other expressions of event composition. Thus, this dissertation can be considered as a contribution to the development of the system of lexical representation of RRG. For that purpose, and following Mairal and Van Valin (2001) I turn to Pustejovsky's Generative Lexicon (GL), which captures lexical meaning by splitting lexical information into four different levels of representation, namely argument structure, qualia structure, event structure and lexical inheritance structure. The close analysis of those levels of representation has provided the necessary input to strengthen RRG's system of lexical representation. Furthermore, I also draw from other lexical-semantic theories like Levin and Rappaport Hovav's which, being less projectionist than RRG, expand their scope beyond the predicate. Levin (1993) claims that what determines the syntax of a verb is found in the properties of whole verbal classes rather than in the properties of individual verbs. Hence, I have selected a verbal class that allows me to make syntactic generalisations from the behaviour of verbs as a class. The analysis has proved that the three levels are interrelated, and the three of them contribute to the meaning definition of break verbs. The analysis of syntactic and semantic valence, of argument-adjuncts, and of adjuncts, has contributed to the definition of those meanings that fall out of the scope of the meaning of the predicate; and the analysis of subeventual structure and temporal sequence has endowed the event with duration, another fundamental feature of changes of state. Following Faber and Mairal (1999) y Mairal y Faber (2002), I have propounded the incorporation into logical structures of adjuncts with a semantic impact, and I have developed the notion of merge as an alternative to Goldberg¿s constructions. In short, this dissertation has contributed to the development of a more accurate system of lexical representation for RRG.