Verb classes and valency alternations (NSM approach), with special reference to English physical activity verbs
This study examines five English physical activity verbs (eat, pour, dig, carry, cut) from the Verb Meaning List of the Leipzig Valency Patterns project. It proposes detailed semantic explications for the basic activity-in-progress meanings of these verbs and shows how these can be transposed into perfective uses. It examines and explicates 11 alternations (specialized constructions) involving these verbs, showing in each case exactly how these constructions are related to the base semantics of the verb. The general picture is that the specialized constructions are quasi-derivational in nature: the primary or semantically basic sense of the verb is embedded in a more elaborate configuration containing additional semantic material. Often much of this additional material is modeled on the semantics of verbs that belong to different semantic types (lexicosyntactic blending), but it can be partly idiosyncratic or non-predictable. Each specialized construction represents a kind of “word in construction” polysemy.
Valency Classes in the World’s Languages
Linguistic Structures (incl. Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics)