In search of the analytical resultative construction. A microtypological comparison of Romance and Germanic languages

Start - End 
2017 - 2021 (ongoing)



This project is looking for the Analytical Resultative Construction ( = ARC), e.g. John hammered the metal flat, in 3 Romance (i.e. French, Spanish and Romanian) and 2 Germanic Languages (i.e. English and Dutch). ARCs are a priori atypical of Romance languages, which belong to the so-called class of ‘verb-framing’ languages (cf. Talmy 1985, 1991) and hence are not expected to encode the result of an event outside the matrix verb. While ARCs have been described by many scholars as impossible in Romance (cf. Levin & Rapoport 1988, Aske 1989, Tenny 1994, Snyder 2001, 2012,  Mateu 2000, Mateu & Rigau 2010, Mateu 2012, Acedo-Matellan 2012), others have come to recognize the existence of – albeit less productive – ARCs in these languages (cf. for Italian: Napoli 1992, Folli & Ramchand 2005; for French: Legendre 1997, Riegel 1996, Muller 2000; for Spanish: Martinez Vazquez 1998, Arrizabalaga 2016; for Romanian: Farkas 2009, 2011). In fact, Romance ARCs are said to only exhibit the ‘weak’ ARC type (cf. Washio 1997) –  in which the RSP only specifies or emphasizes a result which is already encoded in the verb – and/or to be limited to certain verb classes (cf. Arrizabalga, 2012). However, none of these alleged limitations has been subjected to a systematic corpus based research, and even less so from a comparative point of view. The aim of the project is then to provide a fined-grained corpus based (e.g. Sketch Engine) description of these constructions, regarding, for instance, their lexical scope (i.e. which verbs are accepted in these constructions? Through which morpho-syntactic categories is the resultative secondary predicate instantiated?). Several verb classes will be investigated, including (i) nomination verbs, (ii) chromatic change verbs, (iii) cooking verbs (iv) cutting/breaking verbs etc. The results of our empirical analysis will answer more theoretical questions: (i) to what extent Romance ARCs are similar to Germanic ARCs ? (ii) Are these resultative-like constructions ‘true’ ARCs in these languages?




Phd Student(s)