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Events and Semantic Architecture$
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Paul M. Pietroski

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199244300

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199244300.001.0001

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Causal Verbs and Sentential Complements

Causal Verbs and Sentential Complements

(p.178) 3 Causal Verbs and Sentential Complements
Events and Semantic Architecture

Paul M. Pietroski (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Conjunctivism is preferable to Functionism, even for many cases of verbs combining with arguments. Conjunctivists can provide an attractive account of causative constructions, like ‘Pat boiled the soup’, and related unaccusative constructions, like ‘The soup boiled’. Functionist alternatives are more complex and less explanatory; they invite skepticism about decomposition and fail to cohere with the constraints on how thematic roles are related to syntactic structure. The Conjunctivist proposal can be extended, in an empirically motivated way, to serial verb constructions that pose serious challenges to Functionism. Verbs that take sentential complements are easily accommodated. Moreover, Conjunctivists can say that complementizer phrases differ thematically from other arguments. This makes it possible to resolve certain puzzles involving speech-act verbs (in English and other languages). Functionists face difficulties in saying how such verbs semantically compose with arguments.

Keywords:   causatives, decomposition, UTAH, serial verbs, complementizers, themes, contents

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