By Mark C. Baker

ISBN-10: 0511041772

ISBN-13: 9780511041778

ISBN-10: 0521806380

ISBN-13: 9780521806381

Mark C. Baker investigates the basic nature of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. He claims that a number of the superficial transformations present in specific languages have a unmarried underlying resource which are used to supply greater definitions of those "parts of speech". the recent definitions are supported by way of info from languages from each continent. Baker's publication argues for a proper, syntax-oriented, and common method of the components of speech, in place of the functionalist, semantic, and relativist methods that experience ruled the topic.

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Extra info for Lexical Categories: Verbs, Nouns and Adjectives

Example text

Following Chomsky’s (1995: ch. 4) adaptation of Hale and Keyser (1993), I assume that there are two domains in which this happens (see also Bowers [1993] and others). A verb that takes an AP or PP complement assigns a theme role to its specifier: (4) a I made [VP John [come to the party]] b I made [VP the box [break open]] (John is theme of come) (the box is theme of break) A verb that takes an NP complement assigns an agent role to its specifier: (5) I made [VP Chris [dance a jig]] (Chris is agent of dance) A verb can also take a VP complement, in which case it again assigns an agent role to its specifier.

Almost any category can combine with a complement. In the Bare Phrase Structure terms of Chomsky (1995: ch. 4), this means simply that a member of any category can combine with a phrase to create a new phrase of which it is a head. 1 However, the ability to head a constituent that contains a second phrase – a specifier as well as a complement – is much more restricted. Among the functional categories, only some members of each category can do this. The finite tenses of English can have a specifier, for example, but nonfinite to cannot, as shown in (3a).

26) a Booth shot Lincoln with this gun. b ∃x (shooting(e) & agent(e, Booth) & theme(e, Lincoln) & with(e, this gun)) This invites the view that perhaps all and only verbs are predicates of events in this sense. But in order to flesh this out, one would need to specify exactly what counts as an event in this view. If one takes a narrow view of events, then examples like (24) and (25) pose the same problem for formal semanticists as for functionalists: it is difficult to separate the states of affairs that verbs are predicates from those that nouns and adjectives are predicates of in a language-independent way.

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Lexical Categories: Verbs, Nouns and Adjectives by Mark C. Baker


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