LSRL 48: Small Clauses in Spanish

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Small Clauses in Spanish

The Semantics of Transitivity

Jiyoung Yoon
University of North Texas

The present semantic-functional study analyzes small clauses in Spanish in terms of the semantics of main verbs, small clause predicates, direct objects, and subjects, taking Hopper & Thompson's (1980) Transitivity Hypothesis as a theoretical basis. The author argues that the licensing of the small clauses in adjunct position is not dependent solely on one factor as is believed by many linguists. Rather, it depends on the interaction among the semantic properties of the elements of a sentence, i.e., verbs, adjunct predicates, subjects, and objects. These elements interact in such a way that they, as a whole, confer higher or lower Transitivity to a given sentence, which in turn allows or disallows adjunct predicates. If those elements are higher on the Transitivity hierarchy, adjunct predicates receive a felicitous interpretation in a given sentence. If, however, the adjunct is lower on the hierarchy, that is, if it is an individual-level adjunct, it is ill-formed.

Moreover, Yoon argues that the licensing of small clauses in complement position can also be accounted for by the Transitivity Hypothesis. More specifically, applying to small clause complements the distinction between individual-level vs. stage-level elements, the author argues that a felicitous interpretation of a small-clause complement depends crucially on whether the stage-level (higher in Transitivity) or individual-level (lower in Transitivity) property of a given verb co-varies with the stage-level or individual-level property of its corresponding small-clause complement.

The study thus supports the view that the licensing of small clauses is better understood in terms of the compatibility of interacting semantic properties among sentential elements rather than in terms of discrete features that do not interact.

ISBN 9783895869891. LINCOM Studies in Romance Linguistics 48. 183pp. 2007.

Table of Contents:

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 1. PREVIOUS APPROACHES TO SMALL CLAUSES
1. Introduction
2. Debate Between Small Clause Theory and Predication Theory
2.1 SC Theory
2.2 Predication Theory
3. Classification/Range of Small Clauses
3.1 Evolution of the Concept of Small Clauses
3.2 Classification of SCs for Spanish
3.2.3 Summary
3.3 Syntactic Tests to Distinguish Complement SCs from Adjunct SCs
4. Conclusion

CHAPTER 2. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
1. Introduction
2. Lexical Aspects and Vendler’s Categories
3. Stage-Level Versus Individual-Level Predicates
4. The Functionalist Approach and Prototypes
5. The Transitivity Hypothesis

CHAPTER 3. ADJUNCT PREDICATES AND SEMANTIC CONSTRAINTS
1. Introduction
1.1 The Theta Criterion and Adjunct Predicates
1.2 Structural Differences between Subject-Oriented and Object- Oriented Adjunct Predicates
1.3 Lexical Aspects and Adjunct Predicates
2. New Analysis: Semantic Interactions in a Sentence as a Whole
2.1 Stage-Level Predicates/Verbs vs. Individual-Level Predicates/Verbs
2.2 Animacy and Volitionality of Subjects
2.3 Affected and Non-Affected Objects
2.4 Definiteness of Object
2.5 Transitivity Hypothesis and Adjunct Predicates
3. Conclusion

CHAPTER 4. SMALL CLAUSES IN COMPLEMENT POSITION
1. Introduction
2. The Distinction between Considerar-Class Verbs, Perception Verbs, and Causatives
2.1 Difference between Consider-Class Verbs and Perception Verbs
2.2 Difference between Causatives and Perception verbs
3. The Individual vs. Stage-Level Distinction in Small Clause Predicates in Complement Position
3.1 Proposition-Taking Verbs and the SL-IL Distinction
3.2 Practition-Taking Verbs and the SL-IL Distinction
3.3 Perception Verbs and the SL-IL Distinction
3.4 Causatives and Small Clauses
4. Transitivity Hypothesis and Small Clauses in Complement Position
5 Conclusion

CHAPTER 5. CONCLUSION

REFERENCES
INDEX

ISBN 9783895869891. LINCOM Studies in Romance Linguistics 48. 184pp. 2007.

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