Andrew Koontz-Garboden at LEL seminar

Posted on November 11, 2019 by



The LEL seminar this week (12th November) is the linguistic equivalent to Beyonce playing a gig in her home town (that’s Houston, Texas should you wonder) to a select audience of 60. Our own legendary Andrew Koontz-Garboden will give a paper on

“State/change of state polysemy and the lexical semantics of property concept lexemes”

The talk will be in SamAlex A7 at 4.30pm. Below is a short teaser:
.

“Based on collaborative work with: John Beavers (UT Austin), Ryan
  Bochnak (U Manchester), Margit Bowler (U Manchester), Mike Everdell
  (UT Austin), Itamar Francez (U Chicago), Emily Hanink (U
  Manchester), Kyle Jerro (U Essex), Elise LeBovidge (U Washington),
  and Stephen Nichols (U Manchester)***

As documented in the philosophical and linguistic literature (see
e.g., Kennedy 2012 for an overview), there are classes of properties
that hold of an individual not in an absolute fashion, but to some 
degree:

(1)     a.      Kim is wiser than Sandy.

b.      Sandy is taller than Kim.

c.      Jo is happier than Jack.

The canonical lexicalization of such properties in English and many
familiar languages is with adjectives.  There are many lesser studied 
languages, however, in which the descriptive content expressed by
English adjectives is more often lexicalized by nouns or verbs, as
 discussed extensively in the typological literature (Dixon 1982;
 Thompson 1989; Hengeveld 1992; Bhat 1994; Wetzer 1996; Stassen 1997;
Beck 2002; Baker 2003).  We follow Thompson (1989) in calling lexemes
expressing this descriptive content `property concept lexemes’ in
recognition of the fact that crosslinguistically they lack a fixed
category.

As part of a larger project investigating whether this variation in
 the category of property concept lexemes has any lexical semantic
 consequences, I report on preliminary research with a number of colleagues
 into the derivational 
relationship of property concept lexemes and change of state
 predicates.  The English adjective ‘red’ describes the state of being
 red while the verb ‘redden’, derived from the adjective with the –en
 suffix, describes a change into that state.  I show that in cases
 where the property concept lexeme is a verb, the verb is sometimes
 polysemous between a state and a change of state sense.  Descriptions
 of changes into states lexicalized by adjectives or nouns, by
 contrast, show derivational morphology (e.g., English –en and
 allomorphs).  I argue that the possibility of verbal property
 concept lexemes to show a polysemy, by contrast with adjectival and
 nominal ones, is a consequence of only verbs being able to relate
 individuals to dynamic events, while adjectives and nouns cannot.  I
 consider some of the virtues and complications of such a theory of the 
interface between lexical semantics and lexical category.”

Posted in: LEL events, semantics