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[Lability and spontaneity, Part IV. Crosslinguistic and crosscategorical considerations]

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Abstract

The present paper focuses on labile verbs – lexemes which can behave transitively or intransitively without a formal change. Haspelmath (1993a) and Comrie (2006) claim that the semantic spontaneity is the crucial factor for the distribution of inchoative/causative oppositions, based on data of the causative and the anticausative formal type. In contrast, my analysis of labile verbs across languages shows that for lability, another factor is crucial, namely, the semantic classification of verbs. In particular, the groups as motion verbs, destruction verbs, and phasal verbs tend to be labile across languages.

References

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