Project FFI2012-32886: Semantic and syntactic composition of event structure. Verbs, adjectives and prepositions. [COMPSYSIN]

January 2013-December 2015

Principal Investigator: Violeta Demonte Barreto
Researchers: Isabel Pérez Jiménez (UAH, CCHS-CSIC), Dongsik Lim (Hongik University), Carmen Gallar (ILLA-CSIC), Juan Romeu (ILLA-CSIC), Melania Sánchez Masià (ILLA-CSIC), Olga Fernández Soriano (UAM) and Roberto Mayoral Hernández (U. Alabama at Birmingham)

The present project (which resumes EVENTSYNT, FFI2009-07114) takes up the lexicon-syntax-semantics interface from a ‘mixed constructivist’ approach. This framework holds that both the form and the interpretation of complex event structures are built by the combination of simple items involving operations of merge and modificaction. Composition assumes the encoding/ lexicalization in morphosyntactic structure of elements which determine the realization of argument structure as well as diathesis, aspectual type of predication and modification relations.

Taking these premises as a point of departure, our first goal is to analyze lexical and functional heads that account for the structure of complex events as well as composition and lexicalization mechanisms. We develop a comparative analysis of various categories (i.e., the hierarchical structure of verbs and prepositions headed by functional/semantic items, and the behaviour of a given adverb in adjective and verb modification). The second goal is to examine, through modification and 'application', the relation between event structure and construction 'elasticity' as well as to use those modifiers to 'probe’ verb and adjective lexical semantics. The last goal is to analyze “directed motion” constructions in different languages, as well as manner incorporating verbs in order to shed light on the question of (micro)parameters. This research expects to contribute to determine whether (micro)pararmeters are best characterized by operations constrained by elements of event strucuture, simply by a list of composition operations among which languages make choices (options being probably binary) or even to test the validity of the notion of parameter, given the huge range of crosslinguistic differences. These three inter-related lines of inquiry and their joint discussion will extend our knowledge of event structures.