LINGUIST List 14.3350

Fri Dec 5 2003

Diss: Typology: de Alencar: 'Lexikalische...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1., Lexikalische Variation am Beispiel dynamischer Verben

Message 1: Lexikalische Variation am Beispiel dynamischer Verben

Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 21:42:21 -0500 (EST)
From: <>
Subject: Lexikalische Variation am Beispiel dynamischer Verben

Institution: University of Konstanz
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Leonel Figueiredo de Alencar 

Dissertation Title: Lexikalische Variation am Beispiel dynamischer
Verben des Deutschen und des Portugiesischen

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field: Typology, Text/Corpus Linguistics, Syntax,
Semantics, Language Description, Computational Linguistics

Subject Language: Portuguese (code: POR) German, Standard (code: GER)

Subject Language Family: Romance (code: ) Germanic (code: )

Dissertation Director 1: Christoph Schwarze
Dissertation Director 2: Dieter Wunderlich

Dissertation Abstract:

This PhD thesis focuses on the connection between the syntactic and
semantic variation of German and Portuguese dynamic verbs. Following
Lexical Decomposition Grammar (LDG), I assume that the increase in the
syntactic valency of a verb results from semantic operations that add
one or more predicates to the underlying basic verb predicate. The
verb "schlagen" 'hit', for instance, is a prototypical dynamic
verb. In this study, I demonstrate that contrasts between such German
dynamic verbs and their Portuguese counterparts result from the
different variation potential of dynamic verbs in both languages. In
the last years, Romance and Germanic languages have been the subject
of numerous contrastive studies, aiming at a more precise
classification of individual languages according to the path and
manner language distinction. In these analyses, however, Portuguese
has been so far hardly considered. This dissertation provides a
corpus-based investigation into the semantic and syntactic variation
in a sample of German and Portuguese dynamic verbs. A gap in
contrastive Germanic and Romance linguistics is thus covered here. As
a main result, it is found out that Portuguese behaves as an atypical
path language, because it licenses a mechanism that can expand its
motion verbs set, namely the resultative extension of a monovalent or
bivalent verb. Therefore, as far as the semantics and syntax of motion
verbs are concerned, Portuguese is closer to a manner language such as
German than French is. To my knowledge, no parallel lexical
flexibility was ever detected in any other Romance language.
Nevertheless, resultative extension is more restricted and less
productive in Portuguese than in German. In Portuguese, it is only
applicable to verbs of physical force exertion. Two resultative
extension operations are available in Portuguese: STRONG_RESULTATIVE
and WEAK_RESULTATIVE. The former operation adds an oblique complement
to the basic verb frame. This additional complement can be realised
either by a dynamic or by a static element, which, however, must be
spatial. In German, in contrast, the resultative predicate added by
STRONG_RESULTATIVE can be coded either by a dynamic element (e.g. a
directional PP) or by an element not marked for dynamicity (e.g. a
non-spatial AP). The operation WEAK_RESULTATIVE, which is not
available in German, differs from STRONG_RESULTATIVE in that the added
oblique must be realised by a spatial dynamic element. In this work,
it is demonstrated that the resultative templates proposed by
Wunderlich (2000) cannot account for the German and Portuguese
constitute an improvement of his proposal. In both languages, dynamic
verbs can also be extended with a possessive relation, which projects
an indirect object. Portuguese, however, is more flexible than German
in this respect. Verbs such as "werfen" 'throw' can only be extended
with a possessive relation if they are also expanded by means of
STRONG_RESULTATIVE. The Portuguese analogues, though, are not
constrained in this way. On the other hand, they also license the
successive application of both possessive and resultative extension.
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