Studies in Lexical Relations

J. Gruber, 1965

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In order to formalize certain relationships between lexical items within generative grammar, the necessity is found for the existence of a grammatical level generatively prior to the manifestation of phonological forms.  The prelexical level represents the full set of possible sentence patterns for a subgrammar of English.  Particular sentences are considered translations from the prelexical level via the mapping of lexical items onto the prelexical string.  The grammatical process of incorporation is introduced to explain certain cases of transitivity of verbs, and certain relations among them.

The prelexical level is shown to represent a level at which certain syntactic and semantic properties of sentences merge.  This merging is reflected by the manner in which the lexical entries are specified for their environments in the prelexical string.

Sentence patterns on the prelexical level are discussed and formalized with emphasis on the role of prepositional phrases on this level.  Verbs whose subjects are Agents are discussed.  The Agentive verb is seen to be representable by formatives on the prelexical level.

Thesis Supervisor:         Edward S. Klima

Title:                             Assistant Professor of Modern Languages


Table of Contents

1          Introduction

            1          Relevance to linguistic theory, intention and scope                                  1

            2          Means of discovering the prelexical structure                             7

2          The Grammatical Process of Incorporation

            1          Manifestations and formalization of incorporation                                   11

            2          Incorporation and deletion compared                                                    24

            3          Further examples of incorporation of prepositions                                  32

            4          Incorporation of nouns and adjectives                                       43

3          Some simple sentence patterns and their inter-relationships

            1          The theme as subject of motional verbs                                     47

            2          The theme as other than subject in motional verbs                                  50

            3          The possibility of a transformational relationship between buy and

                        sell, etc.                                                                                                54

            4          The theme in nonmotional verbs                                                            59

4          Prepositions

            1          Negativity of from                                                                                 68

            2          Obligatory  presence of away before from in nonmotional

                        expressions                                                                                           71

            3          Prepositional expressions of possession                                     72

            4          Extension of the notion of possession and formalization              75

            5          The relationship between motional and durational verbs             80

            6          The expression of goal                                                              85

            7          The expression of location                                                                     89

            8          The expression of accompanyment                                                        93

            9          The expression of direction, an elaboration of the expression of

goal                                                                                                      97

5          Source-Goal Patterns

            1          Homogeneity of source-goal patterns                                                    101

            2          Simplification of a secondary expression of goal                         112

            3          The nature of away and other particles                                      115

6          Formalization and Some Consequences of the Prelexical Structure

            1          Constituent structure on the prelexical level                                            121

            2          The mapping of lexical forms onto the prelexical string               128

            3          Environmental possibilities of incorporating verbs                                   135

            4          Consequences of the simplification of secondary expressions of

                        goal for incorporating verbs                                                                   154

7          Further Sentence Types

            1          Positional and possessional transitions, the absence of to                        166

            2          Transitions involving information nominals as the theme              172

            3          Reduplication of subject prepositional phrases                           176

            4          The prevention of reduplication by post-verbal incorporation     186

            5          Get with an abstract theme                                                                    187

            6          The identificational parameter                                                    193

            7          Adjectives and the identificational parameter                                          204

            8          The positional parameter and the progressive                             206

            9          Analysis of remain                                                                                 210

8          Agentive Verbs

            1          Manifestation of agentive verbs                                                 215

            2          Syntactic and semantic properties of agentive verbs                               219

            3          Manifestation of the permissive agentive                                                225

            4          The subject as causative agentive only                                       229

            5          The subject as permissive agentive only                                     235

            6          The causative agentive for durational verbs                                            240

            7          The causative agentive in the identificational parameter               258

            8          Semantic relationship between the causative and permissive

agentive                                                                                                262

            9          Table of verbs                                                                                      264

9          Formalization of Agentive Verbs

            1          The optional interpretability of verbs as agentive                                    266

            2          The nature of the agent node                                                                 289

            3          Formalization of mapping of prelexical strings into syntactic form

                        for the agentive                                                                         297

            4          Formalization of optional agentive verbs                                                302