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The Modality of offer and Other Defeasible Causative Verbs
Fabienne Martin and Florian Schäfer
248-258 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


As Oehrle 1976 observes, contrary to give, offer with an agentive subject does not entail a change of possession: no uptake is required on the internal argument's part. However, the uptake seems taken for granted with causer subjects. French and German have at least 60 verbs showing the same pattern. The paper addresses the question of how their ambiguity should be handled in the semantics. We first show that the two uses do not differ in event complexity. We then argue that these verbs involve a sublexical modal base à la Koenig and Davis (2001) both with agent and causer subjects, and propose to capture the difference between the implicative and non-implicative readings through the choice of the modal base.

Published in

Proceedings of the 30th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Nathan Arnett and Ryan Bennett
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00