Abstract

In this article we consider the nature of ‘result verbs’, typically defined as verbs describing scalar changes, which have played a significant role in the literature on verb typologies, event structures, and theories of (im)possible word meanings. We argue that the entailment of scalar change and the entailment of a new result state should not be wholly conflated. Rather, various previously proposed diagnostics for scalar change actually pick out at least two distinct notions—entailing change along a scale regardless of whether a new state obtains for the theme argument, more broadly, and change along a scale that does result in a new state, more narrowly. We specifically examine verbs of manner of motion, with a special emphasis on the verb climb, and show that there is a subclass of manner-of-motion verbs that entail scalar change without a new result and are themselves also cross-classified by other standard distinctions among scalar change verbs. These observations have several consequences. First, manner-of-motion verbs are not as distinct from path verbs as prior work in the Talmy typology has suggested. Second, prior diagnostics for identifying result verbs and subtypes of result verbs are sensitive to the various distinctions we propose, producing more nuanced results than previously assumed. Third, the observation that a large swath of manner-of-motion verbs also have result entailments further supports the conclusion in Beavers & Koontz-Garboden 2012 that there is no truth-conditional manner/result complementarity in verb meaning, expanding the base of potential counterexamples and raising questions about how the claim is meant to be interpreted.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 842-876
Launched on MUSE
2017-12-21
Open Access
No
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