There and Back Again: A Semantic Analysis

Journal of Semantics 22 (1):3-51 (2005)
This paper presents a cross-linguistic survey of the interpretations that decomposition adverbs like again permit. The survey distinguishes two different types of predicates that are combined with again: lexical accomplishments like ‘open the door’, on the one hand, and combinations of a motion verb with a directional Prepositional Phrase (PP) on the other (for example, ‘walk to the summit’). There is systematic cross-linguistic variation with the latter type of predicate: a language only permits a restitutive reading of again with such a predicate if the language has resultative constructions. I argue that in these languages the PP can function as a result phrase. In languages without resultatives, the PP cannot be a result phrase, and a restitutive reading is impossible. The data support an analysis of restitutive again that is sensitive to the presence of a result phrase in the syntax
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