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LINGUIST List 21.2406

Sun May 30 2010

Diss: Cog Sci/Semantics/Syntax: Dekova: 'Lexical Encoding of Verbs ...'

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        1.    Rositsa Dekova, Lexical Encoding of Verbs in English and Bulgarian

Message 1: Lexical Encoding of Verbs in English and Bulgarian
Date: 30-May-2010
From: Rositsa Dekova <rosdekdcl.bas.bg>
Subject: Lexical Encoding of Verbs in English and Bulgarian
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Institution: Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Program: Department of English
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Rositsa Panayotova Dekova

Dissertation Title: Lexical Encoding of Verbs in English and Bulgarian

Dissertation URL: http://ntnu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?searchId=1&pid=diva2:124394

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
                            Semantics
                            Syntax

Subject Language(s): Bulgarian (bul)
                            English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Mila Dimitrova-Vulchanova

Dissertation Abstract:

The project investigates the information which is lexically-encoded in
verbs, its semantic representation and the mapping of semantic participants
onto syntax, reflected in various syntactic patterns and alternations.

For the purposes of the project, empirical data from two Indo-European
languages, English and Bulgarian, were analysed for the type of semantic
participants involved in the situations lexicalized by a selected set of
verbs (Verbs of Force emission) and the possible syntactic realizations of
these participants. Each of the participants in the situations denoted by
the verbs was ascribed a bundle of semantic features characterizing it on
different dimensions which reflected the various aspects of involvement of
the participant in the situation at hand. The representational format
follows the format and assumptions adopted in The Sign Model
(Dimitrova-Vulchanova 1996/99).

The corpus data analyses provided evidence for a distinction between two
basic types of situations lexicalized by the verbs at hand, respectively
dubbed Contact (situation) and (a situation of) Conditioning or Conditioned
event. The examined verbs displayed a strong tendency to group according to
the type of situation they can lexicalize. Thus, verbs denoting Contact
situations shared patterns of alternation as opposed to verbs denoting a
Conditioned event. Hence, two groups of verbs emerged based on similarities
in their syntactic behaviour, which in turn was assumed also to reflect the
target semantic features ascribed to participants in the situations
lexicalized by the verbs at hand. In addition, both languages attested the
so-called Dual Lexicalization Pattern, in that some verbs can apparently
encode events of both types. Thus, these verbs can choose a frame
(representational format) according to the type of situation they
lexicalize. Therefore, the verbs could not be merely listed as members of
more than one list. Instead, a more net-like pattern of distribution was
employed, accounting for the possibility of one verb to lexicalize
situations of different types. Thus, the verbs were linked to each other
and grouped in accordance with the types of situations they can lexicalize
and the set of values of their participants.

The information extracted from the corpus data analyses and the respective
lexical representations outlined for the verbs at hand were then checked
against native speakers' intuitions. Following the adopted model of lexical
encoding of verbs I have expected higher percentages of continuation
related to participants included in the verbs' suggested representations.
These expectations were based on recent research by Koenig et al (2002,
2003) showing that lexically encoded participant information is activated
upon recognition of the word and is more likely to appear in a language
production task. The results received in the online sentence continuation
studies unambiguously confirmed the predictions made in advance, thus
substantiating the outlined representational format. Namely, there were
higher percentages of continuations related to participants assumed to be
lexically encoded in the verbs at hand. In addition, the responses in the
continuation task substantiated the grouping of the verbs outlined above
and the multi-dimensional model of representation.



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