An Aspectual Analysis of Ditransitive Verbs of Caused Possession in English

Journal of Semantics 28 (1):1-54 (2011)
Abstract
In this article I examine ditransitive verbs that can describe caused possession (e.g. give, throw, send) by looking at their lexical aspectual properties, a methodology that has proved fruitful for the exploration of (in)transitive verbs. I show that as a whole these ditransitives share a number of aspectual properties in common with (in)transitive verbs of change of state and motion, suggesting a single shared underlying analysis, which I outline in terms of the scalar analysis of change of Beavers (forthcoming b). However, a difficulty of such an analysis is that for many ditransitives, the putative result state (caused possession) is cancellable, which complicates how factors such as telicity are calculated on most models of aspect. To account for this, I show that all ditransitives nonetheless entail at least some non-cancellable result, though there is considerable micro-variation in what that result is. The result is an aspectually based classification of ditransitives quite similar to previously proposed classes of (in)transitives. I also show that the analysis I develop may shed some light on why certain classes of ditransitives only rarely participate in the dative alternation
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