LINGUIST List 33.3607

Sat Nov 19 2022

Confs: Semantics, Syntax/Czech Republic

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 15-Nov-2022
From: Vaclav Jonas Podlipsky <>
Subject: The grammar of results
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The grammar of results

Date: 08-Jun-2023 - 10-Jun-2023
Location: Olomouc, Czech Republic
Contact: Éva Kardos
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics; Syntax

Meeting Description:

In this workshop we would like to explore the syntax and semantics of result-denoting elements such as verbal particles, prefixes and resultative secondary predicates across languages. We invite submissions addressing, but not limited to, the following questions:

1. What kind of constraints characterize the number and type of results that can be expressed in a single clause? This question can, for example, be addressed in the context of Slavic prefixes and English expressions such as knock someone unconscious to the ground and knock someone down dead. According to Ausensi and Bigolin (2021), these English examples illustrate structures with a low depictive and a result state complement and so do not pose a challenge for the Unique Path Constraint (Tenny 1987, 1994, Goldberg 1991) on the condition that it is understood as a syntactic constraint. As for Slavic prefixes, it has been proposed by a number of scholars that they fall into two (or three) classes based on their (in)ability to stack and their position before the verb (and some other diagnostics) (Svenonius 2004, Tatevosov 2008). For instance, lexical prefixes have been argued to be unable to stack and occupy a VP-internal position, whereas superlexical prefixes can stack and are often assumed to sit further away from the verbal root in a VP-external position (Svenonius 2004). Recently, however, Marušič et al. (2022) have carried out a corpus analysis of prefixes in Slovenian and found that a small set of prefixes do appear in stacking environments (see, for example, vz-peti ‘climb’ vs. po-vz-peti ‘climb’ and po-staviti ‘put/stand’ and vz-po-staviti ‘establish’) in spite of the fact that they express idiosyncratic or spatial meanings, typical of lexical prefixes. They propose based on Žaucer (2013) that they should be analyzed as result and result-modifying prefixes and so again argue against the hypothesis that two results of the same type appear within the VP. It would be interesting to examine whether such structures are also available in other (Slavic) languages and, if so, how it is best to represent their syntax and semantics. If, by contrast, they are not available, it would be good to see what alternative strategies languages use to express what the Slovenian doubly prefixed verbs like those above do.

2. What kind of semantics characterizes result-denoting elements across languages? English-type verbal particles like up in eat up and resultative secondary predicates seem to just express result states, whereas result-denoting verbal particles like meg in Hungarian have been shown to be also associated with event quantification (Halm 2015, Kardos 2016). Some Slavic prefixes have also been argued to encode event quantification, but they are also known to have adverbial meanings rather than resultative ones (see Svenonius’s (2004) superlexical prefixes). We would like to see if resultative elements in other languages have a quantificational effect on events and whether this has any consequences for their structural representation.

3. What is the relationship between the expression of results and telicity? In English it has been argued that these notions are independent of each other (Rappaport Hovav and Levin 2010) as many result verbs such as cool and warm are not lexically telic and “some instances of telicity cannot be analyzed in terms of a result state” (ibid. 27) (see, for example, telic read a book), whereas in languages like Hungarian a morphologically complex result verb is often necessary for telic interpretations (contextual cues do not generally play a role in telicity) and so the two notions can more easily be equated here. It would be useful to look into other languages, as well, and see how it is best to model the relationship that holds between these notions.

Page Updated: 19-Nov-2022