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Applicative Arguments

A Syntactic and Semantic Investigation of German and English


Solveig Bosse

Applicative Arguments: A Syntactic and Semantic Investigation of German and English presents formal semantic and syntactic analyses of German and English applicative arguments. These arguments are nominal elements that are not obligatory parts of a sentence. Both German and English have several types of applicative arguments, including so-called benefactive and malefactive constructions. More specifically, the research relies on tests to differentiate the different types of applicative arguments based on this contribution to meaning: Some applicatives contribute only not-at-issue meaning, whereas others contribute only at-issue meaning, and still others contribute both types of meaning. These tests are applied to both German and English to uniquely identify the applicative arguments in each language. Formal analyses of the identified type of applicative arguments are presented that provide an account for each type of applicative identified for each language, explaining the applicatives’ differences and similarities.
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6 Part-Whole Applicatives


6.1 Introduction

In this chapter, I provide an analysis of German applicative arguments that receive a part-whole interpretation (298).

To be precise, the applicative argument denotes an entity of which an entity denoted by another NP is a material part; in this example, the door is understood to be a part of the car. These applicative arguments are not found in English; I use a possessive construction in the translation.80

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