Projecting argument structure: The grammar of hitting and breaking revisited

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This paper is concerned with one of the most basic syntactic questions: what are the properties of verbs that determine syntactic structure, aspectual interpretation and argument selection? We approach this issue through an examination of two different types of verbs of contact. We propose that the meanings of verbs are decomposed into atomic meaning components and that these meaning components project syntactic structure. From these meaning components and the structures they project we derive argument number and selection, theta-role and aspectual interpretation, and transitivity. This theory is strongly minimalist in that the various predicate meanings of a verb are derived from a single lexical representation, requiring neither functional projections nor movement.


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