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LINGUIST List 18.153

Tue Jan 16 2007

Diss: Syntax/Morphology/Semantics: Achab: 'Internal Structure of Ve...'

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        1.    Karim Achab, Internal Structure of Verb Meaning: A study of verbs of (change of) State in Tamazight (Berber)


Message 1: Internal Structure of Verb Meaning: A study of verbs of (change of) State in Tamazight (Berber)
Date: 15-Jan-2007
From: Karim Achab <kachabuottawa.ca>
Subject: Internal Structure of Verb Meaning: A study of verbs of (change of) State in Tamazight (Berber)


Institution: University of Ottawa
Program: Department of Computational Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Karim Achab

Dissertation Title: Internal Structure of Verb Meaning: A study of verbs of (change of) State in Tamazight (Berber)

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology
                            Semantics
                            Syntax

Subject Language(s): Kabyle (kab)
                            Tamajeq, Tayart (thz)
                            Tamazight, Tidikelt (tia)
                            Tamajaq, Tawallammat (ttq)
                            Tamazight, Central Atlas (tzm)

Dissertation Director:
Maria-Luisa Rivero

Dissertation Abstract:

The dissertation investigates the internal structure and the
predicate-argument structure of verbs of (change of) state in Tamazight
(Berber), including unaccusatives, spatial configuration verbs, causatives,
and those traditionally referred to as verbs of quality in the linguistic
literature on Tamazight.

In Chapter One I provide a general outline of the dissertation and state
the objectives pursued. In Chapter Two I sketch out the theoretical
framework adopted, which is a combination of lexical and conceptual
semantics on the one hand, and the Minimalist Program / Government and
Binding on the other hand.

Chapter Three is devoted to verbs of quality. The peculiarity of this class
of verbs is that they occur with nominative clitics when they indicate a
change of state or a resultative state, but with accusative clitics when
they indicate a pure state. In passing, the combination of verbs of quality
with accusative clitics constitutes counterevidence to the view that
intransitive verbs do not assign accusative Case.

I argue that verbs of quality have the monadic structure [Vstate[√ROOT]]
when they indicate a pure state, and the dyadic structure
[Vinch[Vstate[√ROOT]]] when they indicate a change of state or a
resultative state. The change of state interpretation (inchoative
interpretation henceforth) is to be viewed from the perspective of the
initial (or higher) event undergoing change, while the resultative state is
to be understood from the perspective of the final (or lower) state. I
account for the differences between these two interpretations in terms of a
scope operator associated with two distinct positions. When the operator is
in [Spec, Vinch], the structure yields a change of state interpretation. On
the other hand, when the operator is in [Spec, Vstate] the structure yields
a resultative interpretation. This analysis carries over to the class of
unaccusative verbs.

In Chapter Four I further elaborate on the differences between the
accusative and the nominative clitics associated with verbs of quality, and
their syntactic positions. I argue that the accusative form is associated
with a defective T, lacking the EPP effect (Chomsky 2000, 2001), which
explains why the clitic fails to raise to the subject position. By
contrast, the nominative form involves a non-defective T, therefore the
clitic raises to the subject position.

In Chapter Five I demonstrate that verbs of spatial configuration are
disguised reflexives and have the triadic structure
[Vact[Vinch[Vstate([√ROOT])]]]. I explain that the reflexive interpretation
results from the association of the internal argument with two thematic
positions, which correspond to [Spec, Vact] and [Spec, Vinch].

Chapter Six is devoted to causative verbs, both lexical and morphological.
I argue that lexical causatives have a transitive basic structure while
morphological causatives have an intransitive basic structure. Accordingly,
I demonstrate that the transitive structure of morphological causatives is
derived by augmenting the intransitive structure with a causative layer. I
further contrast lexical causatives that alternate with the intransitive
use with those that do not have an intransitive alternate. I conclude that
transitive / intransitive alternating causatives are derived by conflating
the lexical root with the lower event (BE)COME, while exclusively
transitive causatives are derived by conflating the lexical root directly
with the higher event CAUSE. This idea also explains why verbs belonging to
the same semantic class alternate in some languages but not in others.



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