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The LCS of the Transitive Verb and Its Resultative Construction
This paper is an attempt to give an account of the English transitive verb construction with resultative predicates from the viewpoint of lexical conceptual semantics. The main objective of this paper is to show that the transitive verb is divided into two main types, that is, hit-type and break-type in terms of lexical conceptual representation and that the resultative construction of each verb type can be accounted for as an extension of the LCS for each verb type. The main part of this paper consists of three sections.
In Section 1, it is, first of all, argued that in terms of the several differences in semantic and syntactic behavior, a distinction must be made between the two types of transitive verb: 'surface-contact-by-impact' verbs like hit, pound, kick, kiss, push, etc., on one hand, and 'change-of-state' verbs like break, dye, melt, freeze, paint, etc., on the other. The former asserts the occurrence of some physical contact between the two objects but one cannot necessarily infer that the objects have undergone any essential change, while the latter asserts the object has undergone some kind of change of state. Next, by using the model for representing the LCS of the transitive verb which incorporates Croft's notion (1991) of 'causal chain', I propose that the former type of verb construction, such as (la), is represented as (lb), whereas the latter type of verb construction, such as (2a), is represented as (2b):
(1) a. John hit the table.
b. [Event CAUSE ([Thing JOHN_α], [Event CAUSE ([Thing α's BODY PART_β], [Event GO ([Thing β], [Place ON (Thing TABLE])])])]
(2) a. John broke the table.
b. [Event CAUSE ([Thing JOHN_α], [Event CAUSE ([Thing α], [Event GO ([Thing TABLE_β], [Path TO ([Property BROKEN]) ]) ]) ]) ]
As is clear from the contrast between (lb) and (2b), what distinguishes the former type of verb from the latter type on the lexical conceptual level is that in the former the 1st argument of the function GO is the bindee of the 1st argument of the inner CAUSE function, whereas in the second structure the two arguments are by no means identical. Moreover, the two structures differ in that the goal argument of the former structure is a physical object while that of the latter is an abstract property.
Section 2 concerns the conceptual structure of the transitive verb construction with resultative predicates(hereafter RP). To start with, it is pointed out that, alongside with common properties, there are several differences observed with respect to diathesis alternations (e.g. middle-formation, the formation of adjectival perfect-participles) between the RP constructions corresponding to the above-mentioned two types of transitive verb. Next, to account for these differences, it is proposed and argued that the conceptual structure of the RP construction with a 'change-of-state' verb, such as (3a), should be (3b) and that that of the RP construction with a 'surface-contact-by-impact' verb, such as (4a), should be (4b):
(3) a. John broke the vase to pieces.
b. [Event CAUSE ([Thing JOHN_α], [Event CAUSE ([Thing α], [Event GO ([Thing VASE_β], [Path [Path TO ([Property BROKEN])] [Path TO ([Property PIECES])]])])])]
(4) a. John hammered the metal flat.
b. [Event CAUSE ([Thing JOHN_α], [Event CAUSE ([Thing HAMMER_β], [Event [Event GO ([Thing β], [Place ON ([Thing METAL_γ])])] [Event GO (Thing γ], [Path TO ([property FLAT])])]])])]
That is, in (3b) the RP is represented as an additional Path-function structure while in (4b) the IT is represented as an additional GO-function structure.
Section 3 is devoted to a discussion as to what rules link the b. structures of (1)—(4) to their argument structures and their syntactic structures. This section also discusses what VP structures on the syntactic level (3b) and (4b) could be mapped to. It follows from the discussion that the former structures should correspond to what Carrier and Randall (1992) call a 'ternal branching structure' and the Iatter structures to a VP containing an object NP with a SC complement.
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