The Structure of Stative Verbs

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This book explores the nature of stative verbs, their eventuality structure, and the patterns of argument realization. The study shows that there is no single class of stative verbs. Rather, several distinct groups of verbs are found: Verbs that undergo a systematic stative/eventive ambiguity; verbs that allow for a stative reading only; and verbs that seem to have an intermediate status (verbs of position and verbs of internal causation). The study concludes that there is a discrete boundary between stative and eventive verbs, excluding any intermediate status. Stativity arises because the aspectual operators DO and BECOME are absent in the lexical-semantic structure. Eventivity arises if one of these is present. A minimalist view on argument realization and event structure completes the book: Theta features on the arguments are checked against the aspectual heads within the verb phrase.

Subjects: Semantics; Generative linguistics; Syntax; Theoretical linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Vienna

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