Situating Events in Language

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It is currently acknowledged that events constitute an integral part of the metaphysicsand semantic machinery for interpreting natural language utterances(Davidson 1967, 1980). Most research into event semantics since Davidsonand Parsons (Parsons 1990) has focused on questions relating to either aspectualclassifications (Akstionsarten) or temporal semantics. One area that hasreceived far less attention is the issue of event localization, that is, the problemof spatially situating events. In this paper, I discuss the procedures for identifyingwhere events, as expressed in natural language, are located in space. Aspectsof the semantics of event localization have been recently proposed, includingthe notion of the “shape” of a movement (Eschenbach et al. 1999; Zwarts 2006),as well as treating movement verbs as “path creation” predicates (Pustejovskyand Moszkowicz 2011). In this paper, I build on these and some additionalobservations to outline a more general semantics of event localization. I thenoutline a procedure that extends the path metaphor used for motion predicates,distinguishing between the event locus and the spatial aspect of an event. In theprocess, I discuss how localization is supervenient upon the participants in theevents, but not as straightforwardly as one might expect.


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