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Journal Article

The English Resultative as a Family of Constructions

Adele E. Goldberg and Ray Jackendoff
Language
Vol. 80, No. 3 (Sep., 2004), pp. 532-568
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4489722
Page Count: 37
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The English Resultative as a Family of Constructions
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Abstract

English resultative expressions have been a major focus of research on the syntax-semantics interface. We argue in this article that a family of related constructions is required to account for their distribution. We demonstrate that a number of generalizations follow from the semantics of the constructions we posit: the syntactic argument structure of the sentence is predicted by general principles of argument linking; and the aspectual structure of the sentence is determined by the aspectual structure of the constructional subevent, which is in turn predictable from general principles correlating event structure with change, extension, motion, and paths. Finally, the semantics and syntax of resultatives explain the possibilities for temporal relations between the two subevents. While these generalizations clearly exist, there is also a great deal of idiosyncrasy involved in resultatives. Many idiosyncratic instances and small subclasses of the construction must be learned and stored individually. This account serves to justify aspects of what we share in our overall vision of grammar, what we might call the constructional view. To the extent that our treatment of the resultative can be stated only within the constructional view, it serves as evidence for this view as a whole.

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