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Psych-Verbs and Lexical Economy

  • Psych-verbs have been a touch-stone to linking-theories, which assume that case selection is determined by thematic roles. Though psych-verbs share the same thematic grid (experiencer and stimulus), they show different case frames. Different syntactic (structural) and semantic (event- or causal structure) approaches exist, but at least in German we will show that none of the several approaches to psych-verbs cover all differences and similarities of the several formal classes of psych-verbs in that language. In this paper we argue that the case selection of psych-verbs does not depend on their psychical reading at all. While Functional Expressivity requires that different thematic roles are expressed by different forms, Lexical Economy states that lexical entries should be minimally, i.e. verbs should only provide one case frame. Thus, the case frame of a verb must be compatible to the thematic requirements of all readings of this verb. Researchers paid little attention to the fact that polysemy is characteristic for psych-verbs. Psychverbs have (or have had) other, more specific readings, as well, and occasional psychical readings are possible for most verbs. According to the proto-role approach of Dowty (1991) and its modifications by Primus (1999b, 2002a, 2002b, 2002c), case selection is determined by the grade of agentivity or patientivity of arguments. Concrete readings have stronger agents and patients and make therefore stronger restrictions to case selection, and the psychical reading of a verb is always compatible with this reading. Thus, the case selection of psych-verbs is not affected by its psychical reading.

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Author:Katarina Klein, Silvia Kutscher
Parent Title (German):Theorie des Lexikons. Arbeiten des Sonderforschungsbereichs 282 ; Nr. 122
Place of publication:Düsseldorf
Document Type:Working Paper
Year of first Publication:2002
Date of Publication (online):2015/01/28
GND Keyword:Deutsch; Gefühl; Kasus; Verb
Pagenumber:1-41, Anhang
First Page:1
Last Page:41, Anh.
Dewey Decimal Classification:400 Sprache / 430 Deutsch / 435 Deutsche Grammatik
Open Access?:Ja
Licence (German):Es gilt das UrhG