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Intransitive accomplishments and the lexicon : the role of implicit arguments, definiteness, and reflexivity in aspectual composition

  • Theories of aspectual composltlon assume that accomplishments arise when a transitive verb has an incremental theme argument which is realized as a quantized NP-foremost, an NP which is not a mass noun or a bare plural-in direct object position. A problem confronting this assumption is the large number of intransitive, unergative verbs in Getman and English that occur in accomplishment expressions. The paper argues that this problem can be solved within a Standard theory of aspectual composition if additional, independently motivated lexical assumptions about argmnent structure, the representation of implicit arguments and lexical presuppositions are made. It turns out that a distinction between lexically detennined definitcness versus non-definiteness of implicit arguments in particular plays a cmcial role, as weil as one between implicitly reflexive and non-reflexive arguments in that implicitly definite and implicitly reflexive arguments allow for accomplishment expressions. This is explained by the semantics of definiteness and refl.exivity, respectively. Apart from these verbs, there is another large group of unergatives which show that, in contrast to a common assumption in aspectual composition theory, verbs thermselves and not only VPs can be quantized. This leads to a lexical distinction between "mass" and "count" verbs.

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Author:Stefan EngelbergORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Journal of semantics
Publisher:Oxford Univ. Press
Place of publication:Oxford
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2002
GND Keyword:Deutsch; Syntax; Verb
Page Number:48
First Page:369
Last Page:416
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 420 Englisch
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 430 Deutsch
Open Access?:ja
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell-Keine Bearbeitung 3.0 Deutschland