English Verb Classes and Alternations: A Preliminary Investigation

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, 1993 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 348 pages
In this rich reference work, Beth Levin classifies over 3,000 English verbs according to shared meaning and behavior. Levin starts with the hypothesis that a verb's meaning influences its syntactic behavior and develops it into a powerful tool for studying the English verb lexicon. She shows how identifying verbs with similar syntactic behavior provides an effective means of distinguishing semantically coherent verb classes, and isolates these classes by examining verb behavior with respect to a wide range of syntactic alternations that reflect verb meaning.

The first part of the book sets out alternate ways in which verbs can express their arguments. The second presents classes of verbs that share a kernel of meaning and explores in detail the behavior of each class, drawing on the alternations in the first part. Levin's discussion of each class and alternation includes lists of relevant verbs, illustrative examples, comments on noteworthy properties, and bibliographic references. The result is an original, systematic picture of the organization of the verb inventory.

Easy to use, English Verb Classes and Alternations sets the stage for further explorations of the interface between lexical semantics and syntax. It will prove indispensable for theoretical and computational linguists, psycholinguists, cognitive scientists, lexicographers, and teachers of English as a second language.
 

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a very nice reference book for EFL learner

Contents

Preface
1
The Layout of the Book
21
Alternations Involving Arguments Within the VP
45
Oblique Subject Alternations
79
Reflexive Diathesis Alternations
84
Verbs Requiring Special Diatheses
107
Verbs of Removing
122
Verbs of Sending and Carrying
132
Engender Verbs
179
Verbs of Perception
185
Verbs of Desire
194
Verbs of Social Interaction
200
Verbs of Sounds Made by Animals
212
Verbs Involving the Body
217
Verbs of Grooming and Bodily Care
227
Verbs of Emission
233

Verbs of Change of Possession
138
od and Keep Verbs
145
Verbs of Contact by Impact
148
Poke Verbs
154
Verbs of Coloring
168
Destroy Verbs
239
Lodge Verbs
248
Verbs of Appearance Disappearance and Occurrence
258
Verbs of Lingering and Rushing
271
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