Unaccusativity

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Abstract

AbstractMy research is an attempt at suggesting a cross-linguistically valid definition of verbs characterizedby unagentivity and affectedness such as “burn”, “die”, “sink”, “fall”, “slide”, etc., which accordingto the present analysis constitute the semantic core of unaccusativity. Both synchronic anddiachronic approaches are followed. Various definitions have been attributed to these verbs(eventives, anticausatives, transformatives, inchoatives, decausatives). Although Perlmutter &Postal (1984) classify unaccusative verbs on the basis of their syntactic behavior, they also arguethat the syntactic expression of arguments is always determinable on the basis of the meaning of theverb, so that some correspondence can be established between unaccusativity and some verb types(predicates of existing and happening: “exist”, “happen”, “transpire”, “occur”, etc.; duratives:“last”, “remain”, “stay”, “survive”, etc). Historical (Delbrück 1897; Benveniste 1950; Lazzeroni1990, 2001) and Typological (Kemmer 1993; Klaiman 1991) Linguistics, on the other hand, havegiven further contributions: the meanings of unaccusative verbs widely correspond to the mediatantum (or deponentia) identified by Delbrück (1897) and Benveniste (1950) and to the ten middletypes enumerated by Kemmer (1993: 16-20). On the basis of Hopper-Thompson's Transitivity Scale(1980) and the Cognitive-Semantic Approach (Rosch, Lakoff, Lazzeroni etc.) the hypothesis can beput forward that the verbs characterized by unagentivity and affectedness are to be regarded asPrototypical Unaccusatives.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospitePROCEEDINGS OF THE FIRST WORKSHOP ON THE METALANGUAGE OF LINGUISTICS
Pagine1-12
Numero di pagine12
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2012

Serie di pubblicazioni

NomeLINGUE, LINGUAGGI, METALINGUAGGIO 11

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Amico, V. (2012). Unaccusativity. In PROCEEDINGS OF THE FIRST WORKSHOP ON THE METALANGUAGE OF LINGUISTICS (pagg. 1-12). (LINGUE, LINGUAGGI, METALINGUAGGIO 11).