Publication details

Achievements and paths: Degree achievements from the Slavic perspective



Year of publication 2020
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Degree achievements are especially challenging both for the compositional approaches to aspect in natural languages and to the degree semantics of scalar expressions. While it is acknowledged that degree achievements like English "dry" can have either “positive” or “comparative” interpretation, others like English "widen" are interpreted only "comparatively". The most successful current approach (Kennedy and Levin 2008) accounts for these discrepancies with a theory that the degree semantic computation takes into account the lexical meaning of the source adjective, namely the type of the underlying scale together with the standard of comparison. However, the theory of Kennedy and Levin (2008) does not scale up correctly to cross-linguistically broader data. Degree achievements in Slavic languages, for example, seem to be challenging the theory, because their interpretation depends compositionally on the semantic properties of their prefix (or bare stem). Based on a corpus study conducted on Czech degree achievements and utilizing the algebraic approach (Zwarts 2005) to prepositions/prefixes (which we, following Matushansky 2002 a.o., believe are syntactically and semantically identical), we propose a partial extension of Kennedy and Levin’s approach, introducing two additional type-shifters (telicizing and atelicizing) that are morphosyntactically realized as prefixes.
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