The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Job Visit: Alexander Williams

Our fourth candidate in the syntax-semantics search, Alexander Williams, will be here on Monday and Tuesday Feb. 25 — 26.

Please come to his talk:

Monday, Feb. 25, 3 – 4:30pm
“Basics in complex causatives”


In the standard semantics for resultatives (like `pound it flat’), the object enters thematic relations only to the two constituent predicates. But grammatical evidence from a number of languages, Mandarin in particular, shows that this is wrong. Rather, both the object and the subject bear relations to the event of change described by the whole verb phrase, independently of any others they might enter. The arguments which demonstrate this clarify the analysis of natural language causatives, contra several recent discussions (e.g.Rothstein 2004). They also have broader consequences for our understanding of the relation between lexical predicates and the concepts they signify. I briefly oppose these to the different conclusions in Kratzer 2003.