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  1. The English Resultative as a Family of Constructions Goldberg & Jackendoff (2004) LING 7420 10/12/06

  2. 1. A Constructional View of Grammar • The constructional view • There is a cline of grammatical phenomena. • Everything on this cline is to be stated in a common format. There is no principled divide between ‘lexicon’ and ‘rules.’ • At the phrasal level, pieces of meaning are captured by constructions.

  3. A Constructional View of Grammar • Differs from traditional lexicalist approaches • Does not emphasize the role of words (lexical heads) in determining phrasal patterns • Expands the notion of the lexicon to include phrasal patterns

  4. Examples of Constructions Idiosyncratic Garden-variety …and everything in between!

  5. Constructions are like idioms • Listed in the lexicon with • Syntactic structure • Meaning • Partial phonology • May have argument positions • “Twistin’ the night away.” • ‘night’  obj. of ‘twist’ • “Fred watered the plants flat.” • ‘flat’  arg of ‘water’

  6. ?????? • What are diagnostics for argument positions of constructions? • In “Fred watered the plants flat,” how do we know that “flat” is in an “argument position? • “In the transitive resultative construction (NP VP NP AP), the AP is an argument position of the costruction…” = circular logic?

  7. The VP in constructions • Verb + construction = complement structure • …but,…how? • Verbs across languages (Narasimhan, 1998) • Similar semantic implications • Similar aspectual properties • Similar discourse contexts • DIFFERENT constructions

  8. Costs of constructions • Need to admit meaningful constructions as items stored in the lexicon • Need to abandon the rigid view that the verb alone determines the complement structure of its VP

  9. Evidence for constructions(it’s not just an arbitrary explanation for one syntactic phenomenon) • General principles of syntactic and argument structure cannot account for all meanings • Aspects of constructions are rare cross-linguistically

  10. 2. Dimensions of Variations in Resultatives • A family of constructions • Sharing important properties but differing in specifics • Family resemblances of the sort found in nonlinguistic categories • Establish a taxonomy • State which properties are from the construction • Pick out the differences

  11. Terminology • Resultative Phrase (RP) • AP or PP • Occupies the normal position of a verbal argument • Differ from depictive or “current state” phrases • Resultative: “Herman hammered the metal flat.” • Depicitive: “She handed him the towel wet.”

  12. Resultatives Argument phrases State is dependent upon the action of the main verb Designates a result Diagnostics, please! Depictives Clear adjuncts Do not designate states contingent on the action Do not designate results ??????

  13. Taxonomy of resultatives • Intransitive NP VP RP • Transitive NP VP NP RP • Selected (d.o. selected by verb) • Unselected (d.o. not selected by verb) • Fake reflexives (reflexive obj. cannot alternate with other NPs)

  14. He drank himself to a frenzy. He stepped onto the stage in a Liberace-inspired jacket made of audio-cassette tape and lulled me into a false sense of security Get your butt over here now! The scallops have shrunk tight. The vaccinated chased the unvaccinated to treatment. She snogged him senseless. Sudoku, the puzzle that drives everybody crazy. Pop Quiz!

  15. Property vs. Spatial • RP expresses a property • AP (and some PPs-- “into pieces”) • RP expresses a spatial configuration • PP (and a few APs-- “free,” “clear”)

  16. ?????? • He jumped clear of the traffic. • AP spatial resultative • He drove me home. • Resultative? • If so, what is “home”?

  17. Host of the RP • NP who undergoes a change, with the endpoint being expressed by the RP • Usually • Transitive: object host • He hammered the metal flat. • Intransitive: subject host • The pond froze solid.

  18. Unusual Hosts • Transitive Subject • “newly emerged in the literature” • Demonstrates independent dimension of variation (not dependent upon transitivity) • Bill followed the road into the forest. • All examples provided are spatial resultatives

  19. Unusual Hosts • Implicit (nonsubject) host • Verbs of bodily/substance emission, ingestion • Entity of motion is not overtly expressed • Deleted cognate object? • He coughed into the sink. • She screamed into the phone.

  20. Summary of independent dimensions of resultatives • RP = AP vs RP = PP • RP = property vs. RP = spatial • Intransitive vs. Trasitive • Within transitive: selected vs. unselected • Within unselected: normal vs. fake reflexive • Choice of host (subject/object/implicit)

  21. 3. The Semantics of the Resultative • Two separable events • Verbal subevent • Constructional subevent More than just conjunction… …the subevents are related • MEANS • RESULT • INSTANCE

  22. The Semantics of the Resultative • The semantic argument structure of the constructional subevent determines the syntactic argument structure of the sentence by general principles of argument linking. …(however you want to link it)

  23. Resultative Verbs vs. Resultative Constructions • Inherently resultative verbs (verbal resultatives*) have broader or narrower selectional properties than the general construction • “make”: allows NPs and APs (broader) • “drive”: only allows APs and PPs referring to demented mental states (narrower) *verbal resultatives cannot be paraphrased as two subevents

  24. Property vs. Path Resultatives • Property: host attains the property expressed by the RP • Path: host traverses the path expressed by the RP • Follow-type and spit-type examples discussed later…

  25. Noncausative vs. Causative • Generally • Intransitive = Noncausative • Transitive = Causative • Can be property or path, AP or PP

  26. Sound-emission and disappearance resultatives • Same syntactic form as (16b), but not licensed • Relationship between verbal and constructional subevents is that the verbal event is a RESULT of the constructional (sound/disappearance is a result of motion) • Selectional restrictions: disappearance verbs and the way-construction

  27. In summary (so far) • Distinct subconstructions with • Similar syntax, arg structure, subevents • Unique selectional restrictions • Subconstructions form a family

  28. 4. Aspectual Properties • Telic (“end-bounded”) • Atelic (“non-end-bounded”) • Stative • So you think resultatives are invariably telic, huh?

  29. Atelic resultatives • Property resultatives (AP) • Non-end-bounded change of state • “A-er and A-er” • “ever A-er” • Path resultatives (PP) • Non-end-bounded spatial PPs • Diagnostic: “…for hours”

  30. Stative Resultatives • Indistinguishable from path in both syntactic and arg-structure properties • Extension interpretation of motion, or of maintenance of shape • Causation does not involve change, but forced maintenance of state

  31. Temporal Relation of Subevents • To do “X by MEANS of Y” you have to do X first! • Constructional subevent cannot precede the verbal subevent • Verbal event is… • Concurrent with • Overlapping with • Entirely preceding …the constructional subevent

  32. Temporal Delay????? • (32) Sam sang enthusiastically during the class play. He woke up hoarse the next day and said, “Well, I guess I’ve sung myself hoarse.” (Rappaport, Hovav & Levin 2001:775) • With all unselected objects? • Is it really a delay?

  33. Temporal Relations • Relation between subevents determined by: • Semantic relation • Pragmatic world knowledge • Tendency to interpret monoclausal events as cotemporal

  34. 5. World Knowledge • Fake reflexives--should they really be grammatically separated from other resultatives? • No. Because they just make sense. • (hmmm…thoughts?)

  35. 6. How arguments are shared • How do we relate the verb args to the construction args? • FAR • All args must be realized • Syntactic positions can be shared • Diagnostic: an arg is necessary in the active, simple past tense

  36. How arguments are shared • Shared arguments have the same thematic roles • Args with the same thematic role share the same syntactic position • Optionally transitive/Intransitive verbs allow a constructional arg to override

  37. Pop Quiz, the sequel! • Map the verbal and constructional arguments for the examples from the first ‘pop quiz.’

  38. The Semantic Coherence Principle • Only semantically compatible roles (rV and rC) can be combined • “Close enough” • If rV can be construed as an instance of rC, they can be unified

  39. Variability predicted • Potentially affected items can be construed as patients • Events may be things that happen to us or things that we do • Intransitive spatial resultatives vary with the animacy of the subject • Transitive spatial resultatives need “instigator” subjects

  40. 7. Extending the Analysis • Follow-type verbs • Transitive verbs • Subject host • Two types: • Motion determined by object • Transitive noncausative spatial resultatives • Obj = vehicle • Obj = path of motion

  41. Extending the Analysis • Dancing mazurkas! • Verb + object = complex predicate • Can’t be passivized • Referential objects yield ill-formed sentences

  42. Extending the Analysis • Spit cases • Seem to violate FAR • Implicit entities in motion • Specified path--PP further delineates the path • Bodily emission • Highly inferable theme arguments need not be overtly exressed • ??? Thoughts ???

  43. 8. Productivity • Spatial resultatives • Totally productive • Constraints posed by meaning of construction • Any spatial PP that can be a path can be an RP • Telic/atelic • Complex/simple • Goal-directed/source-directed

  44. Productivity • Property resultatives • Some lexical resultatives are productive, allow for a range of predicates • Some lexical resultatives are more constrained • Productivity of APs depends on the lexical resultative

  45. Productivity • Idioms • A wide variety of examples… • Generalizations about APs • More productive = delineated state • Gradable APs = less productive • Restriction on PPs • PPs with acceptable corresponding APs cannot be RPs

  46. In Summary “…the grammar contains the property resultative as an overarching generalization, but particular subclasses, constrained in all sorts of different ways, are learned indivdually.”