Depósito Legal: B-48039-2000
184.108.40.206. Non Derivable Meaning
First, she notices that many of the verbs in these constructions are not causative independently of the construction. As examples she presents kick and hit:
(6.68) Joe kicked the wall
(6.69) Joe hit the table.
(6.70) Joe kicked the dog into the bathroom.
(à He caused the dog to move into the bathroom)
(6.71) Joe hit the ball across the field
(à He caused the ball to move across the field)
(6.72) Frank squeezed the ball.
(The ball does not necessarily move)
(6.73) Frank squeezed the ball through the crack.
(The ball necessarily moves)
b. Sam rinsed/cleaned the soap out of her eyes.
c. Sam stirred the paint thinner into the paint.
6.75) a. Sam sawed/tore/hacked/ripped a piece.
b. Sam rinsed/cleaned the soap.
c. Sam stirred the paint thinner.
b. Frank sneezed the napkin off the table.
c. In the last Star Trek episode, there was a woman who could think people into a different galaxy.
(6.77) a. * The audience laughed the poor guy.
b. * Frank sneezed the napkin.
c. * In the last Star Trek episode, there was a woman who could think people.
According to Goldberg, a general problem with compositional accounts lies in the fact that their reasoning is based on a model of interpretation, without taking into consideration production. It might be possible that one could infer what examples (6.62) to (6.67) mean just from knowing what their constituent parts mean, but one could not predict that constructions of this type exist. In order to illustrate this general objection, she uses Makkai’s (1972) distinction between "idioms of encoding" and "idioms of decoding". Examples of decoding idioms are fly-by-night and by and large. The listener would not be able to infer the meaning without having learned the idiom separately. Examples of encoding idioms are serial killer and sofa bed. The meaning might be predictable from its constituent parts, but there is no way that a speaker could know that they are possible in the language without previous exposure to them.
According to Goldberg, Gawron’s (1985, 1986) compositional account argues that in caused-motion sentences there are two predicates, the verb and the preposition, and both retain their normal meanings. The relation between them, if not determined by the semantics of the verb, can be pragmatically inferable from the possible relations that hold between predicates in a single clause. The notion of "co-predication" is introduced as a new way for complements to be semantically conjoined with verbs. The verb and the preposition act as co-predicators, combining semantically in inferable ways and sharing one argument.
Pustejovsky (1991) offers a similar account suggesting that the verbs involved are lexically transitive process verbs that are combined with independent PPs which are associated with their own event structures. They are states in this case. The composition of process plus state gives a transition (accomplishment) interpretation. A problem for this, according to Goldberg, is the existence of combinations of process plus state that are not interpreted as transitions, as in the case of the well known depictive predicates or standard PP adjuncts:
The witch hunters burned her alive.
Sam passed Bob the towel wet.
(6.79) Adjunct PPs
Lisa slept under the bridge.
Joe played in the house.
A further problem for Pustejovsky’s and also Gawron’s accounts, is the existence of intransitive verbs, such as sneeze above, that appear in this construction with a direct object. They would need to postulate once more a three-argument sense for such verbs, going back to the kind of polysemy that they sought to avoid with their compositional accounts.
Hoekstra (1992) deals mainly with the type of resultative found in (6.75) and (6.76) above, and in:
(6.80) a. Fred mixed the paint thinner into the paint.
b. Ethel washed the soap out of her eyes.
The final possibility Goldberg considers is to attribute the meaning of the caused-motion construction to the preposition. Thus, the directional meaning of the preposition would be responsible for the motion meaning of the whole. The major problem for this is that many prepositions which appear in this construction favor a locative interpretation, as in:
(6.81) Fred stuffed the papers in the envelope.
(6.82) Sam pushed him within arm’s length of the grenade.
(6.83) Sam shoved him outside the room.
(6.84) a. Into the room he ran, quick as lightning.
b. * Inside the room he ran, quick as lightning. (on the directional reading where he ran into the room)
c. * Within the room he ran, quickly as lightning. (on the directional reading)
It might be argued that the motion component of the meaning is attributable to either the verb or the preposition. The necessary condition being that one must lexically specify motion. Goldberg rejects this possibility with the following counterexamples:
(6.85) Sam squeezed the rubber ball inside the jar.
(6.86) Sam urged Bill outside the house.
Goldberg concludes that since the caused motion interpretation cannot be attributed to the verb or the preposition or their combination, the need for a construction that combines the verb and the directional preposition to yield a particular, conventionalized interpretation is demonstrated.
Since the construction must contain a directional PP, examples with locative PPs, such as the ones above, pose a problem that Goldberg solves with a process of coercion (Croft 1991, amongst others), by which the construction coerces the locative into a directional reading. In Goldberg’s view coercion is not purely pragmatic. Instead, it is only licensed by particular constructions. In order for it to be feasible, moreover, a relationship between the inherent meaning and the coerced interpretation must exist. In this particular case, the locational and the directional meanings are related because the interpretation given to the locative is as endpoint of a path to that location.
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Depósito Legal: B-48039-2000