Psych-verbs are a relatively well-studied phenomenon in theoretical linguistics (Belleti and Rizzi (1988), Grimshaw (1990), etc.), but one for which as yet no truly satisfactory analysis has been developed. This paper seeks to provide a new perspective on the semantics of psych-verbs by bringing ideas based on Asher and Pustejovsky (2000) into the discussion, namely, that the concept of rhetorical relations can be deployed at the lexical level in order to formulate well-formedness conditions between subevents denoted by a verb. The idea is that psych-verbs have a kind of lexical semantics which reflects the semantic properties of the thematic relations Experiencer and Stimulus, have a complex eventual structure, and that differences in how the subevents are related to one another via rhetorical relations account for the observed differences in interpretation for the two groups of psych verbs that have been established in the literature.
Proceedings of the 2004 Texas Linguistics Society Conference: Issues at the Semantics-Pragmatics Interface
edited by Pascal Denis, Eric McCready, Alexis Palmer, and Brian Reese
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