Verbes supports: Nouvel état des lieux
  • ISSN 0378-4169
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9927
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Among non predicative verbs such as copulas, auxiliaries and various modal verbs, the so-called “verbes supports” (light verbs) are by far the most numerous class, and, moreover, an ever expanding one. They are supposed to carry very little meaning, or no meaning at all and, as a consequence, have no argument structure. Their role is merely to enable another word, mainly a noun, to function as a predicate, which selects its arguments and also its “verbe support” (prendre une décision = décider, avoir recours à = recourir à). One may suspect that the reason for the proliferation of that class lies mainly in the vagueness of the criteria chosen for deciding which verb may be considered as a “verbe support”. We try here to discuss that problem through the description of a small subset of French verbs designating events (arriver, avoir lieu, se passer, se produire, se tenir, etc.), which have also been labelled “verbes supports” by many linguists. The semantic and syntactic behavior of those verbs suggests that they should be analyzed as semantically close to one another rather than “supports”, since the properties generally taken as characterizing the latter do not easily apply to the former.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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