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The Syntax of AspectDeriving Thematic and Aspectual Interpretation$
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Nomi Erteschik-Shir and Tova Rapoport

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199280445

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199280445.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
The Syntax of Aspect



Oxford University Press

How much of variations in verbal meaning, aspectual (Aktionsart) interpretation, and thematic information are actually contributed by the syntactic structure itself? And if all this information can be derived in the syntax, what is the role of the lexical representation of the verb? The editors' aim in this volume is the construction of a theory of the lexicon–syntax connection that will address these questions. Approaches to this issue can be roughly divided into two: the ‘lexicon-driven’ and the ‘syntax-driven’. In the former, all of a verb's meanings are listed in the lexicon, from which the various syntactic frames are projected. Differences in both structure and interpretation are attributed to differences in meaning, or lexical representation, of a verb or verbs. In the latter, the syntax-driven approach, much of a verb's meaning is derived from the syntactic structure in which it is projected. Differences in interpretation, whether related to aspectual classification or to argument number and type, are attributable to differences in the structural representation itself. The editors' conclusion is that this structure, whether lexical or syntactic, whether projected by the verb root or by functional or overt morphology, can indeed yield all and more of the information which was once considered to be in the domain of the lexicon. And yet the lexicon's role is still seen to be crucial: the determination of the lexical entry that will account for (in)compatibility with syntactic structure is a vital part of any research into the syntax of aspect.

Keywords:   lexicon-driven, syntax-driven, lexical representation, aspectual classification, argument number, argument type, structural representation, verb root, functional morphology, syntactic frames

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