Selectional preferences of semantically primitive verbs in English : the periphrastic causatives and verbs of becoming
MetadataShow full item record
Analyses of English verb meaning often rely on quasi-aspectual operators embedded in event structures to explain shared properties across classes. These operators scope over temporally basic meaning elements that make up the idiosyncratic semantic core of complex verbs. While the inventory of operators – or semantic primes – differ from proposal to proposal, they are generally presented as a closed class that includes at least CAUSE and BECOME, and their presence and location in event structures account for several alternation and ambiguity phenomena. In this study, I investigate a number verbs whose decompositions would include only operator(s) and event structure frames under most current decompositional lexical theories; in particular, the periphrastic causatives (cause, make, etc) and the verbs of becoming (become, get, etc). I account for differences in the selectional behavior of these verbs by positing incorporated meaning components beyond the purely aspectual or event structural. Based in part on regularities among corpus collocations, I propose additional meaning distinctions among these verbs along the parameters of causal patient complicity, sentiment, and register.