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Event and Result Nominals

A Morpho-semantic Approach

Chiara Melloni

The syntax and semantics of deverbal action nominals, notoriously ambiguous between event and result interpretation, have been a thought-provoking issue in many areas of theoretical linguistics. This volume contributes to current work on this topic by showing how the analysis of these nouns can benefit from a morphological and lexical-semantic treatment.
While being a revealing synthesis of a number of formal accounts on this popular research domain, this study specifically targets the largely unexplored area of result nouns and addresses several crucial issues. What are result nouns in a strictly lexical-semantic perspective? Why do some verb classes allow ambiguous event/result nominal correlates, while others do not? What are the relevant verbal features involved in result noun formation? Is there a range of predictability in the number and types of meaning conveyed by a derived nominal?
Couched within a framework of decompositional lexical semantic, the analysis offers original formal solutions to the polysemy issues arising in this word formation domain and convincingly argues in favor of the semantic alignment between the morphologically simplex and complex lexicon. A compelling range of Italian data provides empirical support to the author’s claims.

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Acknowledgements.............................................................................. ix Abbreviations and Marking Conventions ..........................................xiii 1 Aims and orientation........................................................................ 1 1.1 Stating the problem................................................................... 1 1.1.1 Action/State Nominals ................................................... 1 1.1.2 Semantic ambiguity: E and R nominals ......................... 3 1.1.3 Result or referential nominals? ...................................... 5 1.1.4 General questions ........................................................... 7 1.2 Theoretical background ............................................................ 8 1.2.1 Lexical meaning is not (only) a pragmatic matter ......... 8 1.2.2 Towards a lexical-semantic theory of word formation .... 10 1.3 Data and scope of the research ............................................... 13 1.4 Outline .................................................................................... 15 2 Generative approaches to nominalization...................................... 17 2.1 On the derivation of nominals ................................................ 18 2.1.1 Transformationalist vs. lexicalist debate...................... 18 2.1.1.1 Grimshaw’s analysis and diagnostics ............. 21 2.1.1.2 Criticism of Grimshaw’s analysis................... 29 2.1.2 Neo-transformational approaches to nominalizations ..... 34 2.1.2.1 The VP analysis: Borer’s account of nominalizations ................ 35 2.1.2.2 Criticism of Borer’s accounts ......................... 41 2.1.3 Preliminary remarks and questions .............................. 44 2.2 Lexical semantics and nominalizations .................................. 46 2.2.1 Bierwisch’s semantic templates ................................... 46 2.2.2 Dot-object nominals: Pustejovsky’s (1995) ................. 51 2.2.2.1 Some notes on Pustejovsky’s account ............ 56 2.2.3 Asher (1993): Argument-transforming vs. argument-preserving nominals..................................... 60 2.3 Concluding remarks and questions......................................... 65 vi 3 Suffixes and co-indexation ............................................................ 69 3.1 Introduction ............................................................................ 69 3.2 Italian nominalizing suffixes: formal and semantic properties .............................................. 70 3.2.1 Formal and stylistic preferences of selection ............... 71 3.2.2 Semantic ambiguity and competition among suffixes..... 74 3.3 The theoretical framework ..................................................... 77 3.3.1 Lieber’s (2004) lexical semantic model ....................... 78 3.3.2 Previous analysis: Lieber and Baayen’s (1999) account............................ 83 3.4 E nominalizing suffixes .......................................................... 88 3.4.1 Verbal Actionality: an issue of inheritance .................. 88 3.4.1.1 Situation types................................................. 89 3.4.1.2 Actional properties of E nouns ....................... 94 3.4.2 The...

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