LINGUIST List 22.4450

Tue Nov 08 2011

Review: Semantics; Syntax: Rappaport Hovav, Doron, & Sichel (2010)

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        1.     Berit Gehrke , Lexical Semantics, Syntax, and Event Structure

Message 1: Lexical Semantics, Syntax, and Event Structure
Date: 08-Nov-2011
From: Berit Gehrke <>
Subject: Lexical Semantics, Syntax, and Event Structure
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EDITORS: Rappaport Hovav, Malka; Doron, Edit; Sichel, IvyTITLE: Lexical Semantics, Syntax, and Event StructureSERIES: Oxford Studies in Theoretical LinguisticsPUBLISHER: Oxford University PressYEAR: 2010

Berit Gehrke, Department of Translation and Language Sciences, UniversitatPompeu Fabra


The volume brings together papers related to the work of Anita Mittwoch, most ofwhich were presented at the workshop ‘Syntax, Lexicon, and Event Structure’,held in her honour at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2006. It contains 15contributions distributed over three parts (I: Lexical Representation, II:Argument Structure and the Compositional Construction of Predicates, and III:Syntactic and Semantic Composition of Event Structure), preceded by materialincluding an introductory chapter by the editors. The volume is completed byreferences and three indices of names, topics, and languages. Data from variouslanguages are discussed, such as English, Hebrew, Hungarian, Greek, Japanese,Blackfoot, Dutch, as well as two different sign languages employed in Israel.

In the introduction, the editors state that despite the wide range of topicscovered by the papers in this volume, they all share the same research question,namely to determine the division of labour between lexical semantics,compositional semantics, and morphosyntax in the representation of events, aswell as the nature of cross-linguistic variation in this area. After providing ashort review of the main ingredients of event descriptions, such as lexicalaspect, telicity, incrementality, argument structure, voice, viewpoint aspect,tense, mood, and habituality, they summarise the chapters and establishconnections between them as well as their relation to Mittwoch’s research. Theconcluding section gives an overview of Mittwoch’s contribution to linguistics,starting from her 1971 dissertation, which anticipated many topics in theliterature on events, such as the correlation between incremental themes and thepossibility of object omission or parallels between incremental theme verbs,change-of-state verbs and motion verbs in combination with goal phrases.Particular papers by Mittwoch are discussed, which address topics that aredirectly picked up by some of the authors in this volume, such as optionalintransitivity (Landman & Rothstein), homogeneity (Landman & Rothstein,Mittwoch), the interaction of aspectual class and temporal when-clauses(Mittwoch), habituality (Boneh & Doron), the different effect of bare plural andmass arguments on accomplishments and achievements (Borer), and cognate objectconstructions (Horrocks & Stavrou).


In ‘Reflections on Manner/Result Complementarity’, Malka Rappaport Hovav andBeth Levin develop their hypothesis from previous works that (non-stative) verbseither lexicalise manner or result, but not both, mainly discussing data fromEnglish. They assume canonical realisation rules for the association of a root’sontological categorisation with an event schema (made up of combinations of thepredicates ACT, CAUSE, BECOME). They propose that each root has an ontologicalcategorisation, chosen from a fixed set of types, including manner and result,and that roots are integrated into event schemas either as arguments or asmodifiers of the event predicates involved. In particular, manner roots areargued to modify ACT, whereas result roots are arguments of BECOME. Theyfurthermore posit a constraint on lexicalisation, according to which a root canonly be associated with one primitive predicate in an event schema, either bymodifying or adjoining to it, from which it follows that a root cannotlexicalise both manner and result. They argue that the notion of result shouldnot be equated with the notion of telicity, but rather with the notion of scalarchange. In contrast, manner verbs are argued to specify non-scalar change, i.e.change that cannot be characterised in terms of an ordered set of values of asingle attribute. They suggest that the notion of scalar vs. non-scalar changeand thus of result vs. manner, has a direct parallel in the motion domain, wherewe find complementarity between manner and path (i.e. scalar change) verb roots.

In ‘Verbs, Constructions, and Semantic Frames’, Adele E. Goldberg postulatesthat meanings are relativised to frames, combinations of a word sense’s profile(what is asserted) and the background frame of a word (what is presupposed). Shereviews two recent proposals for constraints on verbal meanings and argues thatthey are both too strong and should merely be seen as tendencies. To argueagainst Croft’s (1991) constraint, according to which verbs can only describesimple events or complex events in which two subevents are causally linked, shediscusses verbs that profile two subevents that are not causally related (e.g.‘blanch’ asserts the two events of immersing food in hot water and then in coldwater). As counterexamples to Rappaport Hovav & Levin’s manner/resultcomplementarity, she addresses verbs that apparently specify both, such as‘scale’ or ‘climb’ (but see Levin & Rappaport Hovav, to appear, for a way tointegrate the latter into their system), or verbs of cooking and verbs ofcreation, e.g. ‘scribble’. Instead she proposes the Conventional Frameconstraint, according to which a verb’s meaning can involve two or moresubevents, only if these are related by a semantic frame. In addition, sheposits that argument structure constellations (‘constructions’), can also beassociated with semantic frames, and that the meanings associated with verbs andwith constructions can combine into one meaning to evoke novel events which donot have to comply with the Conventional Frame constraint. Goldberg’s carefuldiscussion of particular counterexamples to the two constraints under discussionraises the important issue that particular notions, such as cause, manner, orresult, have to be defined precisely in order for the constraints to work.However, it is not clear that they warrant rejecting the constraints altogether.For example, the two distinct subevents in ‘blanch’ might not be causallyrelated, but they are in a much tighter relation than she wants us to believe,since they have to involve the same theme, be temporally adjacent, and cannotappear in the reverse order. ‘Scribble’, in turn, is actually not acounterexample under Rappaport Hovav & Levin’s definition of result as scalarchange, since the change involved is not necessarily scalar. Finally, theConventional Frame constraint proposed instead might shift the problem toanother unclear question, namely what are possible semantic frames?

In ‘Contact and Other Results’, Nomi Erteschik-Shir and Tova Rapoport extendtheir previous account of argument structure alternations with two types ofcontact verbs (e.g. ‘hit’ vs. ‘smear’), to include a third type (e.g. ‘splash’).Starting from the assumption that a single verb can project various structuresand that, given a universal inventory of atoms, M(anner), S(tate), andL(ocation), verbs can at most specify two atoms, M and two kinds of result (S orL), they argue for different make-ups of lexical atoms in the otherwise uniformlexical representations of contact verbs. The projection possibilitiesthemselves are taken to be constrained only by the principle of FullInterpretation, according to which the interpretation of each atom has to takeplace within its local V projection, and projected structure requires theavailability of an uninterpreted atom. Hit-verbs are analysed as involving M(forceful means) and L (point of contact). Such verbs can project achange-of-location structure, with M an adverbial modifier and L projecting as a(null) preposition (‘The car hit the wall’), as well as an agentive causativestructure with an overt goal predicate, with M an adverbial modifier and Lmodifying the theme DP (‘Jane hit the ball to the other side of the field’).Smear-verbs are argued to involve M (smear manner) and L (surface contact). Acomplex cause structure is derived when L modifies an overt preposition ‘on’(‘We smeared mud on the wall’), whereas a simple change structure (*‘Mud smearedon the wall’) is argued not to be acceptable because the M atom would remainuninterpreted, as it requires an agent (a cause). In a second causativestructure (‘We smeared the wall with mud’) L modifies the theme subject of thecentral coincidence predicate ‘with’. Finally, splash-verbs are taken to specifythe dispersal of a plurality of particles, and to involve only one atom,L-pl(ural) (splash-shaped surface contact). The fact that single-componentsplash-verbs can project a change structure (‘Mud splashed on the wall’) followsnaturally; however the complex cause+change structure (‘We splashed the wallwith mud’) is more surprising. The authors claim that this structure is possiblebecause of L’s plurality.

In ‘The Lexical Encoding of Idioms’, Martin Everaert defines an idiom as a“conventionalized linguistic expression which can be decomposed into potentiallymeaningful components and exhibit co-occurrence restrictions that cannot beexplained in terms of rule-governed morphosyntactic or semantic restrictions”(p. 81). Being concerned with the nature of a lexicon in the I-language sense,he investigates the question whether idioms, whose conventional nature makesthem an object of E-language, could be part of this lexicon. He extends thegenerative theory of lexical representation by proposing that lexical items canbe specified not just for C(ategorial)- and S(emantic)-selection, but also forL(exical)-selection, which imposes co-occurrence restrictions between lexicalheads. For example, to account for the meaning of ‘kick the bucket’, Everaertproposes among the literal subsense(s) of ‘kick’ another subsense, say meaning(4) (abbreviated in the following as kick4), which in combination with aparticular subsense of ‘bucket’, say meaning (8) (bucket8) and with a definitedeterminer, means ‘die’, as L-selectionally specified for kick4. Similarly, thelexical semantics for ‘bucket’ specifies several subsenses, including bucket8,which is L-selectionally specified as meaningless in the context of kick4.However, all subsenses of ‘kick’ or ‘bucket’ share the same C- and S-selectionalspecifications, which captures the generally acknowledged fact that in idioms,the morphosyntactic properties of their constituting parts are the same as underthe non-idiomatic readings (e.g. irregular past tense or plural morphology, thelexical aspect of the verb), or that idioms allow for modification orreplacement of parts of them.


In ‘The Emergence of Argument Structure in Two New Sign Languages’, Irit Meirinvestigates the argument structure mechanisms of two sign languages thatstarted developing in the 1930s, namely Israeli Sign Language (ISL) andAl-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language (ABSL). She compares three different age groupsfor each language in the way (context-free) single actions depicted in videoclips are signed to another person, who in turn had to identify the action in apicture-verification task. Meir observes that the older generations pursuecommunicative avoidance strategies, for example by employing one-argumentclauses, which obliterate the need to mark argument structure (e.g. WOMAN SIT;GIRL FEED for an event involving a girl feeding a woman), or the (less common)“body as subject” strategy, in which the subject (even if it is not firstperson) is identified with the signer. Both strategies are assumed to be costly:the inflation of verb forms makes the discourse loaded and redundant, whereasthe second strategy confounds grammatical person with syntactic role.Grammatical strategies to encode argument structure are argued to graduallydevelop in younger generations, with ISL showing preference for verb agreement,which is fully developed in the third group, and ABSL for word order (SOV orderis predominant by the third generation), without verb agreement. Verb agreementin sign languages takes place when the arguments’ R-loci, i.e. the points ofspace which their referents are associated to, are incorporated into the verbform by pointing or eye gaze. Meir also identifies intermediate steps to markverb agreement in first- and second-generation ISL signers. For example, somesigners localise referents in space, without integrating these R-loci into theverb form, other signers use ‘auxiliary’ signs that move between the R-lociwithout this movement being part of the verb form, or they mark agreement onlywith the object, but not with the subject.

In ‘Animacy in Blackfoot: Implications for Event Structure and ClauseStructure’, Elizabeth Ritter and Sara Thomas Rosen investigate a particular typeof verbal morphology, so-called finals, in the Algonquian language Blackfoot.Different finals result in four verb stem classes: intransitive (in)animate (II& IA; the subject is (in)animate), and transitive (in)animate (TI & TA; theobject is (in)animate). They propose that, rather than marking an aspectual or alexical argument structure distinction, these finals are overt exponents of v,since they have both syntactic and semantic properties generally attributed tov. In particular, all and only transitive finals are shown to license a DPobject, including unselected objects, such as benefactives, or so-calledcross-clausal agreement. Semantically, TI, TA and IA finals are argued to imposean animacy restriction on the external argument and thus to theta-assign thisargument, whereas II finals do not, and the respective verbs are unaccusative.They conclude that these properties make Blackfoot finals a mixed category withfunctional (object licensing, Case-checking) as well as lexical properties(theta-marking). Ritter & Rosen refute the alternative hypothesis that finalsmark (a)telicity by showing that verbs that can appear with both transitive andintransitive finals, e.g. ‘eat’, behave alike with respect to standard telicitytests, no matter whether they appear with a transitive or an intransitive final.

In ‘Lexicon versus Syntax: Evidence from Morphological Causatives’, JuliaHorvath and Tal Siloni compare morphologically derived causatives in Japaneseand Hungarian. Based on evidence from Binding, negation, VP-ellipsis, and theinterpretation of agent-oriented adverbs, data discussed in previous literaturereveal that Japanese morphological causatives formed by the productive causativemorpheme ‘-(s)ase’ are biclausal. Horvath and Siloni show, based on the samediagnostics, that Hungarian morphological causatives, which are derived by meansof the productive suffix –‘(t)at/-(t)et’, are monoclausal. They argue thatprevious, uniformly syntactic analyses do not capture the facts because theyeither make the wrong prediction that productive morphological causatives arenecessarily biclausal, or because they have to implement additional stipulationsto account for the fact that the input can also be transitive and unergativeverbs. Instead, Horvath and Siloni propose that languages like Japanese derivemorphological causatives in the syntax, whereas languages like Hungarian derivethem in the lexicon. They define a lexical causativisation rule that adds anagent argument to the theta grid of the input verb, and, if necessary,revaluates the lexically specified causative component of the Agent of the inputpredicate, [+c(ausative)], to [-c(ausative)]. From this account it follows thatthe former are biclausal, whereas the latter are monoclausal. To further supportthis account, they discuss Japanese data involving the causativisation ofsyntactically derived structures involving coordination or raising verbs, whichis not possible in Hungarian.

Causatives are also addressed in ‘On the Morphosyntax of (Anti)Causative Verbs’by Artemis Alexiadou, who posits four classes of verbal meanings represented bya root or core component: agentive (e.g. ‘murder’), internally caused (e.g.‘blossom’), externally caused (e.g. ‘destroy’), and cause unspecified (e.g.‘break’). She claims that in principle all but agentive roots allow the(anti)causative alternation, but languages fall into two groups whether theyactually do so. In the first group, represented by English, only causeunspecified roots are shown to alternate, whereas in languages of the secondtype, e.g. Hindi and Greek, all but agentive roots do. Alexiadou proposes twoanticausative/intransitive structures to be available, one without Voice and onewith a non-agentive Voice, which lacks an external argument. Morphologicallymarked anticausatives are argued to always appear in the latter structure. Shebrings forward data from various languages (Greek, Hindi, Korean, Turkish,Japanese, Armenian) to support these two structures, which share the samepattern: with internally caused and cause unspecified verbs, the intransitive isbasic and the anticausative is morphologically less complex, leading to thestructure without Voice; with externally caused verbs, the transitive is basicand anticausativisation involves anticausative morphology (e.g. non-activemorphology in Greek), leading to the structure with Voice. In the latter case,the morphology is often identical to passive morphology in the relevantlanguages, but the ungrammaticality of agentive ‘by’-phrases or modifiers showsthat they are not passive. Alexiadou analyses anticausative morphology as asyncretism marking a valency reduction of some sort. It is furthermore arguedthat English only has the first structure, the one lacking Voice, but not thesecond structure, the one that is similar to a passive. This is proposed tofollow from the fact that English lacks valency reduction morphology, and froman analysis of the English passive as structurally more complex (the passivemorpheme sits in an additional aspectual projection, hence no valency reduction)than the passive in languages that possess valency reduction morphology (whichsits directly in Voice).

In ‘Saturated Adjectives, Reified Properties’, Idan Landau addresses argumentstructure alternations with evaluative adjectives, for which a basic adjectivalconstruction (BasA, e.g. ‘John was very generous (to Mary)’) alternates with aderived adjectival construction (DerA, e.g. ‘That tribute was very generous (ofJohn) (*to Mary)’). The external argument of BasA is shown to appear as anoptional PP in DerA, whereas the internal goal argument of BasA cannot appear inDerA (or only as an adjunct ‘towards’-phrase). DerAs are argued to necessarilyinvolve a stage level interpretation, whereas BasAs also allow an individuallevel interpretation. Landau proposes two possible structures for BasAs, namelyone that involves an event argument (for the stage level interpretation,deriving an event predicate) and one that does not (individual levelinterpretation, deriving a proposition). He argues that DerAs are derived fromBasAs by two operations, the lexical operation Saturation (SAT), whichunselectively saturates all the individual arguments of BasA, and the syntacticoperation Reification (R), which introduces a new external argument that isconstrued as a realisation of the predicate. This analysis is argued to capturethe fact that DerAs can only be derived from stage level BasAs, since R needs anevent and cannot relate a proposition to an individual. He furthermore statesthat as a result of SAT, the arguments of BasA can only be expressed by (ordoubled as) adjuncts (‘of’- or ‘towards’-phrases); a proper goal argument(projected by a more deeply embedded goal phrase) is assumed not to be possiblebecause its projection would depend on an external argument, introduced by theadjectivalising head a; this would lead to ungrammaticality when leaving theexternal argument unsaturated, or such an external argument would clash with theadjectivalising head a-R, necessary to introduce R. Both operations are arguedto be independently available, with SAT being involved in the derivation ofverbal passives, passive event nominals, as well as alternations found withsubject and object experiencer adjectives, and R introducing the externalargument in nominals.


In ‘Incremental Homogeneity and the Semantics of Aspectual ‘for’-Phrases’, FredLandman and Susan Rothstein make precise the notion of homogeneity that isrequired to pick out the predicates that can be modified by ‘for’-phrases.Homogeneity is commonly defined as a temporal notion: states are homogeneousdown to instants, activities are homogeneous only down to (sufficiently large)subintervals, whereas accomplishments and achievements are not homogeneous.Landman & Rothstein argue that homogeneity down to subintervals cannot accountfor the fact that activities allow for pauses and gaps. Instead, they propose todefine homogeneity with respect to events, as incremental homogeneity, which isthe “incremental preservation of cross-temporal identity of an event, and of itsevent type, between the running time of the onset of that event and the runningtime of that event itself” (p. 236). It follows, they argue, that‘for’-adverbials are allowed with states, since these are lexically constrainedas being homogeneous down to instants, which is a stronger notion thanincremental homogeneity. They note that activities might allow for gapssegmentally but not incrementally and analyse them as lexically constrained tobe incrementally homogeneous. Accomplishments and achievements are argued not tomeet the definition of incremental homogeneity, because their onsets are notevents of the same type. Landman & Rothstein show that accomplishments andachievements in combination with bare plural and mass objects, but not incombination with determiner-noun phrase combinations, are acceptable with‘for’-adverbials, and propose that this is so because bare plural and mass nounsare kind-denoting.

In ‘Event Measurement and Containment’, Anita Mittwoch addresses the semanticsof ‘for’- and ‘in’-adverbials, which serve as common diagnostics for thedistinction between atelic and telic predicates. She follows the common analysisof ‘for’-adverbials as extensive measure functions, with the presupposition thatthey apply only to homogeneous predicates. Such adverbials carry a scalarimplicature, in the sense that ‘for an hour’ implies ‘not for more than anhour’, and they cannot apply to predicates that are already measured (in anotherdomain) or quantised. Given that ‘in’-adverbials apply to predicates that arealready quantised, Mittwoch argues that they cannot be measure phrases but onlyindirectly measure the event, by measuring the interval that contains the event.Furthermore, they involve a reversal of the scalar implicatures found with‘for’-adverbials, in the sense that ‘in an hour’ implies ‘not in less than anhour’. She addresses particular restrictions on ‘in’-adverbials that do not holdfor ‘for’-adverbials and argues that they follow from the assumption that‘in’-adverbials are container measures and thus operate on a descending scale.For example, whereas ‘for’-adverbials are compatible with both upper and lowerbounds (‘for at least / at most an hour’), ‘in’-adverbials require an upperbound (‘#in at least an hour’), and additionally involve relative shortness (‘inas little as an hour’ is more felicitous than ‘in as much as an hour’). Thepaper concludes with a comparison between ‘in’-adverbials and the‘take’-construction (e.g. ‘It took her an hour to complete the essay’), as analternative way of indirectly measuring the length of telic eventualities.Mittwoch shows that this construction is not subject to the aforementionedconstraints that apply to ‘in’-adverbials and proposes that the‘take’-construction is the unmarked means to (indirectly) measure telic events.

In ‘Draw’, Christopher Piñón argues that the verb ‘draw’ behaves differentlyfrom regular verbs of creation, such as ‘build’, and he provides a semanticanalysis of three readings he observes with this verb, which are shown to bemorphologically distinguished in Hungarian. Under the first reading, for whichHungarian uses the non-prefixed verb ‘rajzol’, a kind of drawing is produced butno particular object is involved. This reading (under neutral intonation) isonly compatible with non-specific indefinites, and Piñón analyses this as aproper verb of creation. Under the second reading, expressed by the Hungarianprefixed verb ‘le-rajzol’ - ‘on-draw’, the drawing of some object is produced,which involves the copying of an image. According to Piñón, this is the meaningof a verb of depiction, and it requires a definite or a specific indefiniteobject NP. Finally, the third ‘draw’, for which Hungarian employs the perfectiveprefix ‘meg’ (‘megrajzol’), expresses that a drawing is made of an object basedon a certain description of that object, which does not involve copying. Thus,the article provides a more fine-grained lexical semantics of verbs that havepreviously been classified under one label such as ‘verbs of creation’. An openquestion is whether it is necessary to postulate three distinct meanings for‘draw’, rather than maintaining a single lexical entry and deriving thedifferent readings from the composition of the verb with particular NPs((in)definite, (non)specific) as well as particular aspectual informationimplicit in English but explicitly provided by the morphology in Hungarian, withparticles like 'le' or 'meg' displaying systematic effects on various verbmeanings.

In ‘Morphological Aspect and the Function and Distribution of Cognate ObjectsAcross Languages’, Geoffrey Horrocks and Melita Stavrou investigate cognateobject constructions (COCs) in Greek, Hebrew and English. They argue that Greekhas transitivising COCs (TCOCs), which occur with verbs of all classes(unergative, unaccusative, (di)transitive), do not change the aspectual natureof the underlying verb, and in which the COs are fully referential arguments.They argue that Hebrew COCs similarly appear with all kinds of verbs and do notchange the aspectual nature, but involve not arguments but rather activity andevent nouns, commonly adjectivally modified. The status of the object as(non-)referential in a given language is diagnosed by its (in)ability to bequestioned, to undergo passivisation, and to appear with all kinds ofdeterminers, among others. In contrast, the core of English COCs are argued toonly occur with unergatives and furthermore to have the potential to change theaspectual nature of the underlying verb (from non-terminative to terminative andthus to a telic VP). English COs are non-referential and non-argumental, andthis construction is viewed as a telic alternative to the otherwise atelic VPsbased on non-terminative unergative verbs. They propose that the aspectualchange is mediated by a lexical rule, which is similar in nature to the lexicalrule responsible for combining activity verbs or manner of motion verbs withsecondary resultative predicates or goal phrases into a complex accomplishmentpredicate (e.g. ‘dance onto the stage’). In a cross-linguistic perspective ithas been shown (e.g. Beck & Snyder 2001) that languages that have strongresultatives can also combine manner of motion verbs with goal PPs to derive anaccomplishment. Horrocks & Stavrou propose that the ‘aspectual’ COCs of theEnglish type pattern with these constructions, given that English, unlike Greekand Hebrew, has all three constructions to derive complex accomplishmentpredicates with activity verbs. They tie this to the fact that languages likeGreek and Hebrew express grammatical aspect on verb stems, with every verb formbeing specified for grammatical aspect, so that these pairs of verbs have to belisted separately in the lexicon. It is argued that as a result the lexicalaspect of an event description, which grammatical aspect operates on to derivethe overall aspectual interpretation, has to be fixed at the lexical level, onceand for all, and that it cannot be changed in the syntax by adding resultativesor similar phrases. A potential problem for their overall cross-linguisticgeneralisation is (most) Romance languages, which do not have strongresultatives or the complex motion predicates mentioned above (cf. Beck & Snyder2001), but which have grammatical aspect only in past tense forms.

In ‘Locales’, Hagit Borer addresses post-verbal subjects in Hebrew, Italian andCatalan. Besides the well-known restrictions on the availability of post-verbalsubjects (they cannot be external arguments or strong NPs), she makes the newobservation that common post-verbal subject cases are rather limited and onlyoccur with (a subset of the) achievement predicates. Furthermore, the eventsinvolved in these cases are interpreted as telic, despite their lacking a‘quantity expression’ (they can only occur with weak nouns), which, byassumption, is otherwise necessary for a telic interpretation to arise. Sheproposes that post-verbal subject order is licensed in these cases by a covert‘locale’ provided by such predicates, which is a locative associated with thelocation of the event. The locale existentially binds the event argument, whichin turn binds its argument forcing it to be weak, yielding the post-verbalorder. Borer proposes that a similar mechanism leads to the telic interpretationof achievements in the absence of a quantity expression in that the covertlocale also licenses ASP-Q, which, by assumption, is necessary for a telicinterpretation to arise. Her account correctly predicts that overt locales, suchas ‘here’, ‘there’ (or Catalan ‘hi’), have a similar effect as the covert ones,in that they can license a postverbal position of the subject with other eventand clause types, which usually do not occur with this word order. Also in thesecases the subject must be weak; the overt locale has to be weak as well and isnecessarily adjacent to the verb, unstressed, and may not be coordinated.

In ‘Modal and Temporal Aspects of Habituality’, Nora Boneh and Edit Dorondiscuss two different strategies to express habituality in English, Hebrew, andPolish, a simple form (e.g. ‘Yael worked in the garden’) and a periphrastic form(e.g. ‘Yael used to work in the garden’). Both are argued to express a statesince habituals, by assumption, are stative, but to differ in the sense that theperiphrastic form expresses a retrospective view on the state, to the effectthat it is felt as disjoint from the speech time S, whereas the simple formallows the state holding at S. They propose that the disjointness effect withthe periphrastic form arises from a scalar implicature, due to stronger forms toexpress that a habit continues until S, namely the English present perfect andthe Hebrew simple present. They analyse the periphrastic form as a complexaspect, with the reference time R preceding the perspective time P. Even thoughhabituality strongly correlates with imperfectivity, especially in the Romancelanguages, they show that habituality is independent of imperfectivity, which,by definition, involves the inclusion of R in the event time E, since perfectiveverb forms also allow for habitual readings (where E, the time of the habitualstate, is included in R). Furthermore they argue that habituality has a modalcharacter and that the modal operator in habituals is distinct from that inimperfectives, since it includes dispositionality. They define a modal operatorHab, which involves an initiation event and iteration in possible worlds andwhich adjoins to the VP, with this modified VP being the input to aspectualoperators. With the simple form, Hab is taken to be the input to a perfective orimperfective operator, whereas with the periphrastic form they postulate ahigher aspectual operator -Hab, realised as, e.g., ‘used to’, which predicatesactualisation and ‘distancing’ from P. A main contribution of this paper lies inthe dissociation of habituality from imperfectivity. Its shortcoming, however,is that it starts out with the promise to analyse habituality in English,Hebrew, and Polish, but in the end discusses data mainly from English andHebrew, and it is not clear whether Polish works the same way. In addition, someclaims about Polish are rather vague and questionable (e.g. that Polish does nothave grammatical aspect but only lexical aspect, or that states cannot beperfective).


The papers in this volume address important and current issues in the semanticsand morphosyntax of event predicates, employing different frameworks andcovering a broad empirical basis. It will be of great service to scholarsinterested in the domain of events and could easily constitute the basis for agraduate course on this topic. The coherence of the volume is strengthened bythe fact that similar topics are addressed from different points of view (e.g.lexicalisation constraints in a lexical, syntactic, or cognitive-culturalperspective; causativisation as a lexical or syntactic operation; the semanticbasis for diagnostics to distinguish between different classes of eventpredicates; the verb-framed vs. satellite-framed typology and its extension toother empirical domains), which is acknowledged by cross-references in a numberof papers. Finally, it achieves its goal to honour and recognise the work ofAnita Mittwoch, which, as the editors note, ‘has stood the test of time’, withMittwoch’s deep understanding of linguistic phenomena in the domain ofaspectuality and temporality leading to the profound impact her work has had onthe research in this area.

The volume is carefully edited, but what could have been improved is theuniformity of the single list of references, for example, by instructing authorsto check whether a manuscript has been published in the meantime, by specifyingif a particular paper or book has been reprinted, or by adding missing pagenumbers and other information. Instead, several references are repeated asmanuscripts or just because they were not cited exactly the same, or becausethey were more or less reprinted in identical form.


Beck, Sigrid, and William Snyder (2001). Complex predicates and goal PPs:Evidence for a semantic parameter. In Proceedings of the 25th Annual BostonUniversity Conference on Language Development, Vol. 1, ed. H.-J. Do, L.Domingez, and A. Johansen. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press, 114-122.

Croft, William (1991). Syntactic Categories and Grammatical Relations. Chicago:Chicago University Press.

Levin, Beth, and Malka Rappaport Hovav (to appear). Lexicalized meaning andmanner/result complementarity. In The Subatomic Semantics of Event Predicates,ed. B. Arsenijević, B. Gehrke, and R. Marín. Dordrecht: Springer.


Berit Gehrke is a postdoctoral researcher in formal semantics at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, currently investigating issues related to the ontological foundation of events in verbal and non-verbal predicates, as well as the semantics of participles and constructions employing these. Her dissertation ‘Ps in Motion’ (2008, Utrecht) investigates the semantic and syntactic role that P elements (adpositions, prefixes, particles) with a spatial semantics play in the structure of motion events.

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