Resultative and Depictive Constructions in English*
Department of English Language Education
The following illustrates two types of secondary predication, the resultative and the depictive construction:
a. John hammered the metal flat. (Resultative Construction) b. John ate the meat raw. (Depietive Construction)
In (la), the adjective flat, calleda resultative, a result phrase, or a resultative predicate, describes the final state of the object NP which results from the action or process denoted by the verb. Thus (la) means "John caused the metal to become flat by hammering it." On the other hand, in (lb) the adjective raw, called a depictive, a depictive phrase, or a depictive predicate, characterizes the state of an NP at the time ofthe initiation of the main predicate's action." So the sentence (lb) has the meaning "John ate the meat, and at the time he ate it, it was raw." Many ltngutsts have assumed that the resultative and the depictive construction are not syntactically different despite their difference in semantic interpretation (cf. Rapoport, 1990). In this paper, however, we propose that the resultative and thedepietive construction involve two different types of syntactic configuration.
*This paper is the summarized version of Lee's Ph.D. Thesis. 1) "Resultative" and "depletive" may be used to indicate a resultative and a depictive sentence. respectively.
THE SNU JOURNAL OF EDUCATION RESEARCH
II. Syntactic Status of Resultatives and Depictives
In the literature, it is generally assumed thatresultatives and depictives are predicates (Hoekstra, 1984, 1988; Rothstein, 1985; Rapoport, 1990; Napoli, 1992). Let's consider the following examples:
(2) a. John cut her hair [short]. b. Jack left her house [furious].
In the above two sentences, there are two predicates, the primary one (the main verb) and a secondary one, in brackets, in the sense of Rothstein (1985). In the resultativeconstruction (2a), her hair is assigned two properties - each of which is described by the primary and the secondary predicate, respectively - one of "having been cut by John" and one of "having been short." Of course, there is a semantic relationship between the two properties: the latter is caused by the former. Similarly, in the depictive construction (2b), Jack is given properties from theprimary and the secondary predicate, respectively: one of "having left her house" and one of "having been furious." There is a semantic relationship between the two properties in this case, too: Jack performed the act of leaving her house while he was in a state of fury. There has been another controversy on what kind of relation resultatives and depictives have with the main verb. Rothstein (1985, 81)and Jackendoff (1990, 228) argue that resultatives and depictives are adjunct XPs. In contrast, Speas (1988) argues that both resultatives and depictives are complements, supposing that a main verb forms a complex predicate with either of them under the head-complement relation. Carrier and Randall (1992), and Rapoport (1990) argue that the resultative is an argument of the matrix verb. On theother hand, Napoli (1992) argues that most resultatives are arguments of the verb, and only those accompanied with fake objects" are degree modifiers of the matrix verb. We argue, by citing some convincing pieces of syntactic and
2) When an intransitive verb forms a resultative construction, the so-called fake objects, just like the italicized NPs in (t), play the role of a direct object:
(i) a.The joggers ran their Nikes threadbare.
b. The kids laughed themselves into a frenzy. c. They laughed John off the stage.
RESULTATIVE AND DEPICTIVE CONSTRUCTIONS IN ENGLISH
semantic evidence, that a resultative is an argument of the matrix verb, whereas a depictive is an adjunct. This discussion supports the view that resultatives and depictives are syntactically different.
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