LINGUIST List 26.1834

Mon Apr 06 2015

Confs: Semantics, Syntax/France

Editor for this issue: Erin Arnold <>

Date: 06-Apr-2015
From: Ora Matushansky <>
Subject: States and Events
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States and Events

Date: 18-Apr-2015 - 18-Apr-2015
Location: Paris, France
Contact: Elena Soare
Contact Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics; Syntax

Meeting Description:

Davidson’s (1967) proposal to augment the argument structure of ‘action’ verbs with an event argument has proven to be very useful in explicating the meaning of verbal predicates, especially in the relationship between meaning to syntactic structure, and has enabled a treatment of adverbial modification, foremost manner modification, in terms of intersective event modification. The Neo-Davidsonian suggestion to introduce something like an event argument also for states and even for non-verbal predicates (e.g. Higginbotham 1985, Parsons 1990, Landman 2000) has been met with more resistance. One of the reasons for treating states differently, for example, is that they are commonly incompatible with manner modification (cf. Katz’s 2003 Stative Adverb Gap; see also Maienborn 2003 et seq., Katz 2008). Others have argued that there is no typological difference between states and events, but states are conceptually ‘poorer’ and thus compatible with fewer adverbs (e.g. Mittwoch 2005, Geuder 2006, Ernst 2011). Yet others have called into question some of the empirical basis for making such a clear-cut distinction between events and states (e.g. Rothstein 2005) or proposed a broader definition of the notion of event, to also include states (e.g. Ramchand 2005). Husband (2012) and Roy (2014) have attributed properties of certain statives to internal conceptual structure of the states they refer to. Finally, research in processing suggests that eventualities more generally can differ in structural complexity (e.g. McKoon and MacFarland 2000, 2002, Gennari and Poeppel 2003, Mobayyen and de Almeida 2005).

General questions to be addressed at this workshop include the following: What is a state? How do states relate to events? Is the notion of “state” a primitive notion in an event ontology, or if (some) states have internal complexity, how so? Do states make available an event argument? How are stative predicates to be represented at the interface with syntax, recognizing that the compositional hypothesis is to date much more fleshed-out for events than for states? Does boundedness play a role at the level of grammar in distinguishing eventive from stative predicates, in, e.g, nominalizations? The notion of boundedness may be intuitively clear but it has been characterized in several ways and can encompass forms of telicity and perfectivity (e.g. Krifka 1998, Borik 2006). Are there more fine-grained ontological distinctions, perhaps related to causation, that are relevant to answering the above questions? Is there psycholinguistic evidence in favor of a clear distinction between states and events?

In addition, the literature identifies distinctions between different kinds of states, including:

- Dynamic vs. static (e.g. Bach 1981, 1986; Dowty 1979)
- Davidsonian vs. Kimian (Maienborn 2003 et seq.; see also Rothmayr 2006, Marín 2013)
- Inchoative states (e.g. de Swart 1998, Marín & McNally 2011)
- Lexical vs. derived (cf. Gehrke 2011 et seq., Fábregas & Marín 2012)
- Individual vs. stage-level (Carlson 1977, Milsark 1974)

Are all of these distinctions needed? If so, what is the empirical basis for each distinction? How are they to be represented? How does any one distinction relate to other distinctions made among states? Are there distinctions that apply to events as well as to states?

This workshop will feature talks addressing such questions. We are particularly interested in talks that relate notions of stativity to notions of eventivity.

Invited Speakers:

Ashwini Deo (Yale University)
Peter Hallman (University of Vienna)


Semantics Workshop: Saturday April 18


Ashwini Deo (Yale University)
Copular Contrasts and the Individual-Level/Stage-Level Distinction

Simone Alex-Ruf (University of Tuebingen)
The Complexity of Events: The Empirical Side of the Event-State Distinction

11:15—11:45 Coffee Break

11:45—12: 30
Gillian Ramchand (University of Tromsø & CASTL)
States and Causation: The Curious Case of Labile Adjectives in English

Rebekah Baglini (University of San Diego)
Reference to States Across Lexical Categories

13:15—14:45 Lunch Break

Peter Arkadiev (Insitute for Slavic Studies, Moscow) and Dimitri Gerasimov (Insitute for Linguistic Studies, St. Petersburg)
Two Types of Derived States in Bzhedug Adyghe

Shiaowei Tham (Wellesley College)
Property Concepts and Spatial Configurational States in Mandarin

16:15—16:45 Coffee Break

Nino Grillo (Universität Stuttgart) and Keir Moulton (Simon Fraser University)
Mismatching Pseudo-Relatives Describe Event Kinds

Peter Hallman (University of Vienna)
Temporal Perspective in the State/Event Distinction

Semantics Workshop: Alternate Papers

Alfredo Garcia Pardo
Structuring Adjectival Passives Cross-Linguistically: An Aspectual Approach

Antonio Fàbregas and Rafael Marìn
Between States and Events

Page Updated: 06-Apr-2015