LINGUIST List 15.1497

Wed May 12 2004

Sum: Levin/Vendler Verb Cross-Classification

Editor for this issue: Steve Moran <>


  1. Brian Murphy, Sum: Levin/Vendler verb cross-classification

Message 1: Sum: Levin/Vendler verb cross-classification

Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 10:02:34 -0400 (EDT)
From: Brian Murphy <>
Subject: Sum: Levin/Vendler verb cross-classification

Re: (Linguist 15.1151)

Thanks for all replies! In the end I didn't receive any references to
work combining Levin and Vendler verb classes. However several
respondents wrote about work on semantic criteria that determine

Helge L�drup (University of Oslo) has written a paper on how aspectual
class and the semantic role of subjects determine passivisation of
verbs in Norwegian. It seems that there are more restrictions on verb
passivisation in Norwegian, but that in very broad terms, the criteria
are similar to those in German and English.

 Helge L�drup 2000: ''Exceptions to the Norwegian passive:
Unaccusativity, aspect and thematic roles'' in Norsk lingvistisk
tidsskrift 1, 2000. Pp. 37-54.

Alexander Loengarov (Catholic University of Leuven) makes the
interesting point that Levin's classes addresses clausal complement
alternations only marginally, concentrating on NP/PP arguments. He is
particularly interested in the indicative/subjunctive alternation in
Romance languages.

Willem Hollman (University of Manchester) wrote his 2003 PhD on a
universal account of periphrastic causatives (eg ''He was made do
it''), including their passivisation.

Bart van Bezooijen (University of Leiden) mentions the
cross-linguistic variation in the passivisation of dative
constructions. In English both the patient and the
recipient/benefactor, can be promoted to subject. However this seems
to be unusual. In Dutch only the patient can be promoted, while in
some Bantu languages only the benefactor can be promoted (when
introduced by verbal morphology).

Brian Murphy
Trinity College Dublin
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