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VP-Structure and the Syntax-Lexicon Interface

Arad, Maya; (1998) VP-Structure and the Syntax-Lexicon Interface. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The thesis is concerned with the correlation between aspects of verbs' meaning and aspects of verbs' syntax. This research domain is known as "The syntax-lexicon interface". Previous work has established a strong correlation between the two. In this thesis, I focus on some cases where the correlation between meaning and syntax is not as simple as with standard verbs. Chapter one introduces the basic approaches to the syntax-lexicon interface, and establishes the approach of the thesis, as a predicate-based, aspectual approach. Chapter two gives an overview of the structure of the VP, the domain in the syntax which interfaces with the lexicon. I give an account of the interaction of the structure of the VP with specific verbs' meanings, with special reference to verb alternations. The next three chapters are case studies of special problematic cases: Chapter three deals with the problem of agents (i.e. wilful actors) vs. causers, which, although structurally indistinct, behave differently with respect to some syntactic phenomena. Chapter four examines the structure of complex, causative verbs; special attention is given to Hebrew causative verbs, where causativization applies more freely than in English. Chapter five discusses psychological verbs (i.e. verbs describing psychological states, such as frighten, amuse), which are known to exhibit different syntactic properties from those of standard verbs. Based on the behaviour of such verbs across six languages, I suggest a structure for psychological verbs based on the analogy with ditransitive verbs (cf. insult X and give x an insult). Also, I show that these verbs have special properties only on their stative reading, and that on their non-stative reading they behave like standard verbs. This establishes the role of stativity vs. non-stativity, as well as aspectual properties in general, in determining a verb's behaviour.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: VP-Structure and the Syntax-Lexicon Interface
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics; Verbs
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10105111
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