Using Lexical Semantics to Predict the Distributivity Potential of Verb Phrases in a Large Dataset

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Dokumentart: ConferenceObject
Date: 2019-07-31
Language: English
Faculty: 5 Philosophische Fakultät
Department: Allgemeine u. vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft
DDC Classifikation: 400 - Language and Linguistics
420 - English and Old English
Keywords: Kausativ , Korpus <Linguistik>
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Applied to a plural subject (“Alice and Bob”), some predicates are understood distributively (individually true of each member of the subject: “Alice and Bob smiled” conveys that Alice smiled and Bob smiled); some are understood nondistributively (true of the subject as a whole, but not each member individually: “Alice and Bob met”); and some can be understood in both ways (“Alice and Bob opened the window”: distributive if they each individually opened it, nondistributive if they opened it jointly). This paper tackles the open question of which predicates are understood in which way(s) and why: Which other predicates act like “smile”, like “meet”, or like “open the window”? Researchers would agree that a verb phrase's distributivity potential depends on world knowledge about the event that it describes. Making that truism predictive, this paper presents an experimental study providing evidence consistent with several large-scale, theoretically-motivated generalizations in this realm.

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