Change-of-State Verbs: Implications for Theories of Argument Projection

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4 Scopus citations


Verbs showing multiple argument projection options, often with concomitant shifts in aspectual classification or assignment of the 'aspectual' roles measure or incremental theme, are ubiquitous. Their pervasiveness has given rise to two hypotheses concerning argument realization: argument expression is not lexically determined and only aspectual notions determine argument expression. This chapter argues against both hypotheses through an examination of change of state verbs. It shows that the argument expression possibilities of these verbs are determined by a nonaspectual, lexicalized property - change of state - and cannot be handled by purely aspectual nonlexical theories of argument projection. Therefore, the meaning that is lexicalized in a verb determines its grammatical and interpretive properties to a large degree, contrary to the hypothesis that argument expression is not lexically determined. Furthermore, these lexical properties do not correspond to well-known aspectual notions, contrary to the hypothesis that only aspectual notions are relevant to argument expression.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Syntax of Aspect
Subtitle of host publicationDeriving Thematic and Aspectual Interpretation
Editors Nomi Erteschik-Shir , Tova R Rapoport
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages 274–286
ISBN (Electronic)9780191712845
ISBN (Print)9780199280445
StatePublished - 2005

Publication series

Name Oxford studies in theoretical linguistics

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©Oxford University Press, 2013.


  • Aspectual classes
  • Change of state
  • Direct object
  • Incremental theme
  • Telicity
  • Verb


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