This paper focuses on the syntax and semantics of aspect-alternating location verbs, which alternate between a change-of-location and a stative reading (e.g., surround, cover, obstruct...). Drawing from Spanish data, it is argued that the subjects of stative versions are thematically direct causers (i.e., they participate non-trivially throughout the eventuality) whereas subjects of change-of-location versions are indirect causers (i.e., they do not need to be involved throughout the eventuality, but only initiate it prior to the conclusion of the change-of-location event). Taking the instrument-subject alternation as a case study, the paper shows how the thematic interpretation of the arguments of location verbs can be derived from the aspectually-meaningful syntax of the verb phrase. It is further proposed that the two variants of the instrument-subject alternation (i.e., the instrument subject and the Agent+PP-instrument) are not derivationally related in the case of location verbs, unlike canonical telic verbs.
Proceedings of the 34th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Aaron Kaplan, Abby Kaplan, Miranda K. McCarvel, and Edward J. Rubin
Table of contents