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The Semantic Basis of Argument Structure cover

The Semantic Basis of Argument Structure

Stephen Wechsler

A central problem on the sentax-semantics interface is the mapping between semantic roles and syntactic arguments, usually termed ‘linking’. This book presents a clear and concise treatment of linking which departs significantly from models employing a problematical intermediate level where roles are classified into thematic role types such as ‘agent’ and ‘goal’. Instead, the connection between a verb's meaning and its argument structure is assumed to be quite direct. This direct connection appeals to fundemental aspects of verb meaning, while more specific semantic relations such as ‘goal’ are relevant to linking only when such relations are associated with the meanings of prepositions and similar forms. As a result, the theory is firmly grounded in smeantic content of verbs verbs and prepositions.

Among the topics treated are the dative alternation and preposition selection. The final chapter implements this analysis within a hierarchical lexicon in the framework of Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar.

Stephen Wechsler was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin at the time of this publication


  • Preface
  • 1 Introduction
    • 1 Argument Structure
    • 2 Previous approaches to argument structure
      • 2.1 Thematic roles types
      • 2.2 The semantic of discrete thematic roles
      • 2.3 Proto-Roles and many-to-one mappings
      • 2.4 Lexical decomposition
      • 2.5 The problem of semantic primitives
    • 3 Theoretical framework
    • 4 Overview

  • 2 Semantic Contraints on Argument Structure
    • 1 Notions
      • 1.1 Introduction
      • 1.2 The Notion-Rule
      • 1.3 Psych verbs
      • 1.4 Contractual verbs
    • 2 Cause and effect
      • 2.1 The Nuclear Role Rule
      • 2.2 Comparison with causal analyses of argument selection
    • 3 The Part Rule
    • 4 Conclusion

  • 3 Oblique Complements
    • 1 Prepositions and copredication
    • 2 The restricted recipient NP
    • 3 Valency and for-datives
    • 4 Preditions of the account
    • 5 Comparison with previous analyses
    • 6 Restricted NP complements in Swedish and Dutch
    • 7 Overview of the theory

  • 4 Reformulations in the Hiearchal Lexicon
    • 1 Preposition selection revisited
      • 1.1 Semantically motivated preposition selection
      • 1.2 The Dative Alternation Revisited
      • 1.3 Idiosyncratically slected prepositions
    • 2 The Semantics of Argument Structure Revisited
    • 3 Valence and subjects
    • 4 Summary

  • References


ISBN (Paperback): 1881526682 (9781881526681)
ISBN (Cloth): 1881526690 (9781881526698)
ISBN (Electronic): 157586861X (9781575868615)

Subject: Linguistics; Semantics; Grammar--Syntax

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