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Lexical Economy and Case Selection of Psych-Verbs in German

  • Psych-verbs, exhibiting a wide range of construction types, challenge the assumption that verbs sharing the same theta-grid and event structure select the same case patterns. Consequently, previous research has tried to trace back the constructional variants of these verbs to differences in deep syntactic or semantic (event- or causal) structure. However, in German a construction type may exhibit semantically distinct subclasses, and a semantic subclass may have different syntactic realizations. Thus, it is difficult to find general linking patterns of psych-verbs. On the other hand, it is characteristic of psych-verbs to have non-psych-readings as well. We argue that these readings determine case selection. In the centre of our argumentation is the principle of Lexical Economy according to which entries in the mental lexicon are as simple as possible. The case frame must be compatible with all readings of the verb. Thus, the reading with the strongest thematic distinctiveness of each argument is crucial for case selection, typically a reading with a volitional agent and a strongly affected patient. Such readings impose stronger restrictions on case selection than psych-readings. The linking theory of our approach is based on Dowty’s theory of proto-roles (1991) and its modification and implementation in Optimality Theory in Primus (2002).

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Author:Katarina Klein, Silvia Kutscher
Document Type:Working Paper
Year of first Publication:2005
Date of Publication (online):2015/01/21
GND Keyword:Deutsch; Gefühl; Kasus; Verb
Überarbeitete Fassung von: Klein, Katarina/Kutscher, Silvia (2002):
Psychic Verbs in German and the Principle of Lexical Economy. Arbeitspapiere des SFB 282 Theorie des Lexikons, Nr. 122. Düsseldorf: Universität.
Dewey Decimal Classification:400 Sprache / 430 Deutsch / 435 Deutsche Grammatik
Open Access?:Ja
Licence (German):Es gilt das UrhG