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Verbs and More Verbs

From:Jim Grossmann <steven@...>
Date:Friday, March 1, 2002, 7:37

First things first:   In the sentence "John exited the building," what
semantic role does "John" play?   Is he an agent?   Is he an experiencer?
If he's something else, what's the name of that role?

Old news updated:

I'm inventing a lot of verbs and trying to figure out which ones are
transitive, which ones are intransitives, and which ones might be transitive
in some contexts and intransitive in others.

Thanks to Padraic and others for suggesting that intransitives are those
that can't take objects logically.

This inspired me to come up with a syntactic criterion;  "intransitives are
those verbs that can't be reflexive or reciprocal."    That makes "eats" as
in "She eats," a transitive verb whose object can be dropped, but "fall" as
in "He falls," intransitive.  I found a possible counter-example in
"broadcast."   If my analysis is wrong-headed, it's NOT the fault of Padraic
and others.

I've heard some interesting terms lately that I don't understand yet:
"exotropic," "endotropic," "exoactive," "endoactive," "effective verb,"
"affective verb."   I'm looking forward to further elaboration on the
meanings of these terms.  Also need to know about natlang links that feature
their use.

Still not sure what role telicity might play in determining the number and
nature of a verb's arguments.   "Examine" is atelic because one could
logically, if not practically, do it indefinitely.   "Sever" is telic
because, logically, the act it stands for entails its own completion.   Both
take the same number or arguments AFAIK.  I can't think of any examples in
which telicity affects the number of arguments a verb has, but I could be
missing something.


Jim G.


Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Joe Hill <joe@...>