Instruments: A case study of the interface between syntax and lexical semantics

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5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Instruments generally fall into two classes: those which can appear as the subject of sentence and those which cannot. The difference stems from the semantic dependency between causation and instrumentality involved in the meaning of verbs. This article presents a lexical semantic analysis of instruments in relation to the mapping of semantic structure onto syntactic structure. It argues that the underlying structure of the instrumental construction is a direct structural reflection of semantic relations represented in verbs’ lexical conceptual structures. Cross-linguistic evidence in support of this claim is partly drawn from the applicative construction and the serial verb construction. This account offers a challenge to a widespread assumption that the mapping between semantic and syntactic structures is mediated by argument structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-222
Number of pages27
JournalEnglish Linguistics
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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