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Agent control over non culminating events

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Abstract

This paper investigates a correlation between the availability of non-culminating construals for accomplishments and the control of the agent over the described event (the Agent Control Hypothesis, ach). We consider two versions of the ach, on the basis of a new typology of non-culminating construals. On the strong version, non-culmination requires agent control whether what is being denied is the occurrence of any change of state of the type φ encoded by the verb, or merely that the change of state satisfies the property φ to degree 1. On its weak version, agent control is required in the former case only. The evidence reviewed from Romance, Germanic, Salish, and Mandarin, suggests that the weak version of the ach might indeed hold. The weak version of the ach seems, however, to be too weak for Salish languages. The final section shows how the existing analyses of non-culminating construals could capture the link between non-culmination and agentivity.

References

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