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LINGUIST List 18.449

Thu Feb 08 2007

Diss: Morphology/Semantics/Syntax/Typology: Koontz-Garboden: 'State...'

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        1.    Andrew Koontz-Garboden, States, changes of state, and the Monotonicity Hypothesis

Message 1: States, changes of state, and the Monotonicity Hypothesis
Date: 07-Feb-2007
From: Andrew Koontz-Garboden <andrewkgmanchester.ac.uk>
Subject: States, changes of state, and the Monotonicity Hypothesis

Institution: Stanford University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Andrew Koontz-Garboden

Dissertation Title: States, changes of state, and the Monotonicity Hypothesis

Dissertation URL: http://personalpages.manchester.ac.uk/staff/andrewkg/diss.htm

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology

Dissertation Director:
Cleo A Condoravdi
Paul Kiparsky
Beth Levin
Peter Sells

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation examines the Monotonicity Hypothesis (MH), the widely
assumed, but rarely discussed idea that while word formation operations can
add decompositional operators to a word's lexical semantic representation,
they cannot remove them. Adopting modified versions of Dowty's (1979)
decompositional representations of states (e.g., red) and changes into
states (e.g., redden), I observe that the MH makes two strong falsifiable
predictions in this domain. First, words naming states should never be
derived from words naming changes of state, as this would involve the
deletion of a BECOME operator. Data from a number of languages are examined
and shown to bear out the prediction, with one apparent exception. Ulwa, an
endangered Misumalpan language, appears to have words naming states derived
from change of state denoting roots. Detailed examination of Ulwa verbal
and adjectival semantics and morphosyntax based on extensive primary
fieldwork shows that this is an illusion. Given the widely held view that
the semantic representation of inchoative verbs lacks the CAUSE operator
present in the representation of causative verbs, a second strong
prediction is that inchoatives should never be derived from causatives.
This is apparently falsified by anticausativization, in which an inchoative
verb is derived from a causative verb, e.g., Spanish romper `cause to
become broken' versus romper se `become broken'. Building on Chierchia
(2004), I argue instead for a reflexivization analysis of
anticausativization, showing that it captures a wide range of facts of the
phenomenon not accounted for by alternative approaches, most notably facts
showing that derived inchoatives retain the CAUSE operator of the
causatives from which they are derived. This analysis is consistent with
the MH, since it entails no deletion of decompositional operators. Finally,
I lay out several areas for future research. Formally, the relationship of
the MH to the Principle of Compositionality remains to be clarified.
Empirically, the MH makes many falsifiable predictions beyond the domain of
states and changes of state, which suggest areas for promising future
crosslinguistic investigation. Research of both kinds will shed further
light on the MH and more broadly on the semantic nature of word formation

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