LINGUIST List 10.794

Fri May 21 1999

Books: Lexical Perspectives and Relations

Editor for this issue: Anthony Rodrigues Aristar <>

Links to the websites of all LINGUIST's supporting publishers are available at the end of this issue.


  1. Paul Peranteau, Lexical Perspectives on Transitivity and Ergativity.
  2. Maureen Burke, Lexical relations

Message 1: Lexical Perspectives on Transitivity and Ergativity.

Date: Thu, 20 May 1999 17:47:13 -0400
From: Paul Peranteau <>
Subject: Lexical Perspectives on Transitivity and Ergativity.

Jhn Benjamins Publishing announces the publication of this work in Syntax
and Semantics:

Lexical Perspectives on Transitivity and Ergativity.
Causative constructions in English.
Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 166
US & Canada: 1 55619 882 5 / USD 69.00 (Hardcover)
Rest of world: 90 272 3671 2 / NLG 138.00 (Hardcover)

Fusing insights from cognitive grammar, systemic-functional grammar and
Government & Binding, the present work elaborates and refines Davidse's
view that the English grammar of lexical causatives is governed by the
transitive and ergative paradigms, two distinct models of causation
(Davidse 1991, 1992). However, on the basis of extensive synchronic and
diachronic data on verbs of killing (e.g. kill, execute, choke or drown),
it is shown that 'transitivity' and 'ergativity' are not absolute but
prototypical characteristics of verbs which may be overruled by the
semantics of the construal in which they occur. The variable transitive or
ergative character of the verbs reveals the complex interaction between
the semantics of the construction and that of the verb. The diachronic
analyses further illustrate how in the course of time verbs may change
their paradigmatic properties, either temporarily (e.g. the ergativization
of strangle, throttle and smother) or permanently (e.g. the
'causativization' of starve or the partial transitivization of abort). The
analyses show that these changes are semantically well-motivated and
further illustrate the cognitive reality of the two causative models. The
work explores the experiential basis of the prototypical paradigmatic
behaviour of verbs (e.g. the ergative predilection of the SUFFOCATE
verbs). In addition, it attempts to shed more light on the semantics and
restrictions of certain constructions, such as the medio-passive, the
derivation of adjectives in -able, or the derivation of agentive nominals
in -er.

				John Benjamins Publishing Co. 
Offices:		Philadelphia				Amsterdam:
Phone:		+215 836-1200				+31 20 6762325
Fax: 		+215 836-1204				+31 20 6739773
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Message 2: Lexical relations

Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 09:42:45 -0700
From: Maureen Burke <>
Subject: Lexical relations

Koenig, Jean-Pierre. (SUNY Buffalo); LEXICAL RELATIONS; ISBN: 1-57586-176-3
(paper), 1-57586-177-1 (cloth); 214 pp. CSLI Publications 1999: email:

Recent work in syntax has shown that much of a language's behavior stems
from the information structure associated with its words. The thrust of
this book is to provide a model of lexical relations which reconciles the
lexicon's idiosyncratic and productive aspects. Building on work in
Head-Driven phrase-Structure Grammar, an organization of lexical
knowledge--called the Type Underspecified Hierarchical Lexicon--is
proposed, through which partial regularities, medium-size generalization,
and truly productive processes receive a unified model. Its basic thesis is
that all lexical relations reduce to categorization (the membership of the
two related lexemes in a common category) and that category intersection is
the only mechanism needed to model lexical processes provided lexical items
can be stored partially underspecified as to their category membership.
Aside from the conceptual simplification that results from this move, the
book demonstrates that several empirical and theoretical benefits accrue to
this architecture; in particular, many salient properties of morphological
processes are shown to reduce to inherent, formal properties of the
organization of the lexicon.

CSLI Publications
Ventura Hall
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-4115
Telephone (650) 723-1839
Fax (650) 725-2166
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The following contributing LINGUIST publishers have made their backlists available on the World Wide Web:

1999 Contributors

  • Arnold Publishers
  • Blackwell Publishers
  • Cascadilla Press
  • CSLI Publications
  • Elsevier Science, Ltd.
  • Finno-Ugrian Society
  • Indiana University Linguistics Club Publications
  • John Benjamins Publishing Company
  • Kluwer Academic Publishers
  • Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc.
  • Lincom Europa
  • MIT Press--Books Division
  • MIT Working Papers in Linguisticsi
  • Mouton de Gruyter
  • Pacific Linguistics
  • Summer Institute of Linguistics
  • Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
  • Vaxjo:Acta Wexionesia