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Detail of contribution

Auteur: Kensei SUGAYAMA

Towards an Interface between the Verb and the Construction: the case of English resultative Constructions

Abstract/Résumé: Since Simpson's (1983) ground breaking paper, for more than twenty-five years, the English resultative construction (RC) has been a focus of research on the syntax-semantics interface. Goldberg and Jackendoff, for instance, have made proposals about the resultative (Goldberg 1991; Goldberg 1995; Jackendoff 1990; Jackendoff 1997; Goldberg & Jackendoff 2004), proposals that share a certain family resemblance. While many researchers have noted a family of RCs and RC-likes, to my knowledge no one has yet offered an overall explanation for this variety. The main goal of this paper is to arrive at a reasonable analysis capable of capturing the syntactic and semantic (and perhaps pragmatic) distribution of resultative constructions in English. RCs (see Goldberg 1995; Boas 2003; Broccias 2003) are usually defined as constructions containing a resultative phrase. A Resultative Phrase (RP) is, according to Levin (1993: 101), 'an XP which describes the state achieved by the referent of the noun phrase it is predicated of as a result of the action named by the verb'. All these examples in (1) below count therefore as RCs. (1) a. Mary pounded the apple flat.-Embick 2004. b. Most of its blood freezes solid during the winter.-COCA c. Our new puppy got under everyone's feet and barked himself hoarse.-COCA Examples like the above are, however, prototypical instances of RC. How could we license the following if it is recognised as RC? (2) On May 5, 1945, the people of Amsterdam danced the Canadians to Dam Square.-Rothstein 2004 In (2), the activity does not cause the result: the people of Amsterdam do not cause the Canadians to get to Dam Square by dancing: the Canadians were going there anyway. Sometimes, intransitive resultatives do imply a causal relation between the activity and the result, but this is a matter of pragmatics, as the minimal contrast between (2) and (3), which does have a causal implication, shows: (3) The audience hissed/booed/laughed the singer off the stage. This brings us to another possible definition of RC. The goal of this paper is, therefore, to explain all these observations above on the basis of a single, unified line of reasoning based on real examples in contemporary English data. What I offer as a descriptively adequate account of a licensing condition of RCs in English is to take the necessary-condition-based view that RC is in fact formed compositionally by connecting two subevents by a semantic/pragmatic link between them, in order to include the examples like (2) as an instance of RC. The paper will be focused on but not limited to the following issues: What are the principles and constraints licensing RCs?/what is the causal relation's role/How is the variation in RC captured in a principled way?