Análsisis Contrastivo 2015

Notas Unidad 1
París, Luis

Contrastive Analysis 2012
Departamento de Inglés
Traductorado bilingüe español-inglés

Notes for Unit 1
Instructors: Luis París and Viviana Bosio
Author: L. París

Unit 1part A
This course should give you the tools to build detailed representations of the meaning and formal structure of any
linguistic symbol so that, when applied to the description of English and Spanish, these representations should be able
to unfold the full complexities underlying each language. An insightful contrast between two symbols of the two
languages can be carried out only after a thorough description.
We shall attempt to contrast two languages: English and Spanish. Is it possible? What are the conditions that
make this comparison fruitful? What is the nature of human languages that allow them to be contrasted? What is the
purpose of contrasting two languages? Obviously English and Spanish are the tools that speakers of each community
use to communicate and represent and express information of any sort. Ok, that might characterized broadly the main
recognizable functions of languages but we still need to ask ourselves what they are, namely, what are the main
properties of them. One central property is that every language is a system; hence, if two languages are contrasted, the
two systems are supposed to be superimposed. This superimposition never renders a perfect match. Some parts of a
system may couple with parts of the other system but some parts are likely to show mismatches. Furthermore, each
unit is connected to the whole system so that if the systems don`t match perfectly even the contrast between single
units cannot be completely done. That is, we select and isolate two units from the system and analyze their contrast in
isolation. However, each unit belongs to a system, their sense is necessarily related to a network of words and syntactic
constructions and/or expressions and this relation is relevant to its meaning. This relational meaning -the articulation
that shows how this piece is integrated to the system- is lost in isolation.
This statement is necessary to make you aware of the difficulties surrounding contrastive analysis and its
limited power. Nevertheless, the comparison between two forms of different languages is possible even if these forms
are not exactly equivalent, even if we can´t access the whole scope of influence of each unit, we can limit this scope
and compare them in relation to that segment. Contrastive analysis has developed a technique that circumscribes the
range of the contrast to just one given factor or sense: the tertium comparationis. This means that the contrast
between two forms -between the range of senses associated to each of them- is relative to just one given parameter.
Let’s say we compare the word ‘floor’ and ‘piso’, they cover each a range of meanings; some of them are not
equivalent (for example, you may use ‘piso’ in argentinian Spanish to mean ‘ground’) but they do match in relation to
that part of a building that is the surface on which one stands indoor (Longman). In conclusion, CA suggests that
contrast should take into account a single parameter not the full range of meanings. I consider this rule a valuable
methodological tool.
The tertium comparationis is a nice way to make CA (Contrastive Analysis) systematic and explicit. A complete
study should find out and expose the (set of) parameter(s) that are shared by two forms and the one(s) that are not
and should focus on the latter. A form here can be a structure of any size: a bound morpheme, a word, sentence or
grammatical form (Noun Phrase). Yet, in this course we want to address this issue in relation to the overall organization
of the system and, consequently, we would like to pursue the path of defining the tertium comparationis in very


Análsisis Contrastivo 2015
Notas Unidad 1
París, Luis

general semantic ways just like ‘the representation of events of type Y’, ‘reference to incomplete objects’ or even
pragmatic ways like ‘give an excuse’ and only then look at the particular forms that are used by each language to
perform those tasks. In sum, we won´t give up the possibility of a more holistic consideration. We can acknowledge the
presence of very general built in patterns that might give a language a shape that we might call ‘its inherent logic’ (von
Humboldt used to call it ‘the spirit of a language’).
1. Defining preliminary linguistic notions
There isn´t a unique perspective on the definition of what a human language is and we need to be aware that any
specific CA presupposes a definition of language. Thus, in this unit we are going to set up some basic and general
assumption about what we believe a language is and, consequently, about the way it should be described. Some
theories might stress formal structures whereas other theories might consider that it is the communicative function
that determines the fundamental aspects of any language.
What is a language? In Spanish there are two words: lengua y lenguaje. In English we usually take ‘language’ to be
‘lengua’ and Language to be ´lenguaje’. In short, a language is, like Spanish, English or Quechua, the language spoken
by a community that is different from the native language spoken by thousands of other communities. In contrast,
Language is what all these languages share, a set of universal properties inherent to any symbolic system that
constitutes a human language and/or inherent to any use by any speech community of any of those systems.
The chomskyan tradition has interpreted these universal properties about symbolic systems in a psychological
perspective. A language is basically a psychological reality, a mental object. English is the knowledge any native
speaker has that enables her/him to use English in order to successfully communicate. The universal aspect of that
knowledge – the knowledge shared by any speaker of any language- is called ‘internal language’ or I-Language. It is the
mental capacity that allows each individual to acquire any human language as a native language. We all know that we
are able to acquire any language, it all depends on where we are born and on the language of our parents or, in
general, caretakers. In contrast, the ‘external language’ or E-Language is the language as used in every speech
situation performed by a linguistic community. E-language includes the infinite set of situations in which Spanish is
used and has been used. The actual use of a language implies mixing it and articulating it with individual speaker’s
purposes, social structures and rules, each speaker’s capability to perform those articulations, speakers’ memory, etc.
In sum, language use involves multiple knowledge, abilities and conditions of different nature (psychological,
sociological, etc.) and this makes impossible to determine specific linguistic properties. On the contrary, isolating the
pure linguistic competence involved in I-Language allows us to capture just the purely linguistic feature. The
Chomskyan view has maintained over the years that the only competence can be studied scientifically; furthermore,
competence is entirely independent from performance, which involves a murky mixture of linguistic competence with
an array of other cognitive faculties (like perception, memory and motor patterns) and socio-historic facts. Most
variants instantiating the core Chomskyan paradigm see competence as a formal apparatus; namely, competence is a
set of combinatory templates that organize purely formal features in hierarchical relations. ´Formal’ here strictly
means that the property has no footing on meaning; namely, it doesn’t name any external world property nor
property but just one that has only substance within the symbolic system (i.e. ‘nominative’; ‘inflection’, etc.).
Furthermore, the real goal is to specify the universal aspects of any language specific compentence (i.e. English or
Spanish). This is Universal Grammar and it is thought to be the characterization with linguistic means of the properties
of the brain region devoted to store and process language. If competence is essentially a formal apparatus, Universal
Grammar is even more abstract, content free combinatory system.


These two notions are intended to replace the original chomskyan proposal that distinguished between
competence and performance, respectively. Competence is the knowledge that allows speakers to master their native
language and, further, to learn any language. Performance is the actual enactment of that knowledge in a particular
situation by a particular speaker.


Análsisis Contrastivo 2015
Notas Unidad 1
París, Luis

Languages are psychological realities. Languages are in part sounds that can be heard and, even if we consider
writing as a derivative realization of a language, drawings that can be seen. Indeed, one hundred years ago, the
founder of modern Linguistics –Ferdinand de Saussure- stressed that the sign units of any symbolic system –natural
languages being the leading case among them- are constituted by a sound pole and a meaning pole. Children are
exposed to the Spanish sound and this exposition constitutes natural way to acquire a language. There are two crucial
caveats that need to be made to this description. First, children are exposed to native speakers’ utterances that
involve certain sounds in a particular combination and what is relevant here aren’t those specific symbols neither the
combination among them but the fact that there are certain patterns of sound combination that are part of the
language while others are not and Spanish is not the set of all the sounds we have been exposed to or even those we
have uttered but the pattern(s) followed by those symbol combinations. That is, as Saussure pointed out, a language is
not just a set sounds but a sound system (that he named ‘langue’ and was thought to underlie ‘parole’, the actual
utterance of a linguistic symbol in a particular linguistic behavior): a set of interrelated patterns that speakers need to
follow to decode and produce Spanish symbols. The second caveat is that we all understand that language is about
information; it is about the meaning carried by linguistic symbols, which is not perceptually accessible.
Our main concern is rather the nature of that knowledge. The alternatives are quite a few. Lead by the Generative
Grammar (for example, Chomsky 1995), there is a group of theories that see linguistic knowledge –i.e. language- as the
ability to manipulate string of symbols, that is, ‘compute’ symbols: take a list of symbols, combine them and form a
larger and complex symbol that still belongs to the system of symbols. Languages are basically a system of symbols.
They have a set of units (words in the Lexicon or, more precisely, lexemes) and a set of patterns that enable the
combination of words into sentences. Those patterns are described as a set of ‘rules’. These rules constitute the syntax
of a language and they should generate the combinations of words that turn into sentences and rule out the
combinations that produce non-sentences.
This position tends to pay little attention if any at all to meaning. The rules are typically insensitive to any
semantic feature. It is a purely syntactic view of language. Obviously, Chomsky and its followers do recognize that
languages involve many kinds of knowledge beside the syntactic one. They do recognize semantic, pragmatic and
phonological knowledge but they are view as peripheral. The essence of a language and, consequently, the essence of
the language faculty that all human beings share is a computational system: The ability to manipulate symbols to form
well-formed string of them. Once those formal structures have been generated, Semantics adds meaning and
Phonology adds sounds to those units. Semantics is just the product of the interplay of Syntax –that is, purely linguistic
structure- and our conceptual knowledge whereas Phonology is the interaction of Syntax and our way to produce and
process sounds.
In contrast, Cognitive Linguistics stresses the fact that languages are cognitive structures used by cognitive agents
for cognitive and communicative purposes. Linguistic forms are designed to convey meaning, which is a kind of mental
representation. The essence of language lies on its meaning carrier capacity, hence, its design is determined by the
properties of our cognitive representations, which are, in turn, determined by our needs –generally speaking,
interaction with contexts- and by our fundamental condition: We are minds that grow in bodies. Meaning plays the
fundamental role in Cognitive Linguistics. This thesis has been pushed forward so far as to say that Syntax doesn´t exist
(Langacker 1987). Nobody takes this thesis at face value any more, but it’s true that the focus of the cognitive research
has been about the ways in which meaning is represented in a particular language. For example, take the cognitive
representation of motion events. How are they represented in English and/or Spanish? This type of questions take us
to the meaning of words (i.e. motion verbs) and the way they are combined with other words (i.e. prepositions) to
form the meaning of the whole event as represented in a sentence. The focus is, then, the relation between concepts
and the meaning of words. The symbolic system –symbols and their combinations- is relevant as long as they are


Strictly speaking, the units are not words in the usual sense but abstract representation of those words: Each unit is a
bundle of grammatical (morphosyntactic features) features.


Functional grammars tend to focus on what we might think is Pragmatics: the use that a speaker makes of a language in order to communicate. This means that the meaning of a sentence is not reduced to the addition of the meaning of its parts (words). they are not defined in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions but they have a more flexible and fuzzy structure: A prototype structure. monetary systems. Neither a noun nor a verb by themselves is enough to constitute a communicative object. then. This takes our semantics far away from Aristotle’s logic. The defining feature of any language is the fact that allows communication and this is something that happens in a situated context in which there is specific speaker and hearer –with specific goals. indeed. hence. as a device that is part of and has an essential in a community. my point is that the essence of 3 A typical functional approach is represented by Systemic Functional Grammar. They recognize that languages have a structure but it is thought that this structure is the result of the satisfaction of the demands of speakers for a successful communication. describable as a saturated information structure that represents form and content in a rather integrated way resulting from the combination of simpler information structures according to general patterns. namely. In particular. etc. The sentence is the formal structure at the core of any linguistic system. social status and distinct abilities to interact and communicate. Rather than a unified theory. direct object. There might be emergent meanings and they might be even the crucial part of the message.and they are embarked upon a specific social interaction. The third one is that semantic representations don´t come in isolation but rather each meaning is inserted in a conceptual cluster or frame that typically goes beyond language and captures cultural traits and/or practices. This definition is right in a trivial sense. male. We communicate through sentences. We will accept the existence of formal patterns without assuming they are per se the core and essence of the linguistic system. A description able to capture the nucleus of a linguistic object can`t be purely and. 1977). ideally). 4 . subject.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. necessary: languages are such that the patterns that underlie the combinations are so tightly structured as to allow certain purely formal properties (i. On the contrary. It is claimed by these authors that language is a “semiotic system that allows speakers to create meaning”. the definition doesn`t capture the specificity of natural languages and this is precisely what we want. In the chomskyan paradigm. in reality. colors. functionalist linguists tend to analyze only those formal aspects of a language that have a clear and direct effect or connection with communicative 3 situations. Any sentence –the natural speech unit. etc. symbols are seen as strings of sounds/characters and. Functional grammars represent yet a different view of languages. This ubiquitous yet typically oblivious fact suffices to justify the central claim of functional grammars. which has been dominant for more than a couple of thousand years. that is. namely that communication constitutes a crucial factor in explaining linguistic structure. tend to view languages as social artifacts.are not as logically organized as scientific concepts (at least. We only talk through sentences. We shall adopt here the view that the nature of the knowledge of language is not merely about computational manipulation of symbols that are stripped out of meaning. histories. (Lakoff 1987. So.or only some of them might be present and in this last case the instance is a peripheral exemplar. hence. Language is a symbolic system that is used to create meaning but there are many other semiotic systems beside language (clothing. Nevertheless. the fact that this coupling is systematic and mostly universal is the very essence of language. The second one is that linguistic meanings –as well as every day concepts. world knowledge. Ross et al. we need to capture those properties that make natural languages unique objects in the world and make our linguistic competence a capacity that has empowered our specie in a radical way up to the point of being a crucial aspect of what we are. a purely formal consideration is possible and. Concepts are defined by a list of features but they might all be present at once in an instance –in that case. female. Luis meaning carriers. Cognitive Linguistics is more a domain of interests demarcated by the prevalence of meaning and some basic assumptions about its nature.e. They adopt a communicative perspective and. hence. the instance is a prototype or central exemplar of the category. the rules intended to manipulate them are just sensitive to that information. The first one is that meaning is not necessarily compositional. The essence of every linguistic object is the systematic integration of form and content.).

they have to be learned and are transmitted –and changed. Luis language is that those formal patterns are able to carry meaning and do it so in systematic ways.lies on the systematic and flexible ensemble of form and content. put it differently. The symbolic and communicative power of language –its efficiency. siblings and. how they are. etc. To a surprising extent the world is just made of discourse and every language allows us to talk about discourse. about emotions and values). see. father. that is. your partner. Any linguistic symbol is a sound-meaning coupling and the meaning involves a representation. you can`t say something you know the hearer already knows. namely. what they do. every sign and every sound unit of every sing is articulated and produced one by one and arranged in a temporal sequence. This temporal sequence is what makes SYNTAX possible. in fact. We talk about what we hear. in a pretty much amazing amount. when we say ‘human experience’. we build up social facts through 5 . the space delimited by what is possible for any human language. physically produce by a motor pattern and this is only done through time. This is particularly true regarding Universal Grammar. interpersonal and sociological reality. The perspective we shall adopt in this class is centered on the notion of ‘linguistic efficiency’. then. It means that sounds need to be articulated. We can talk about their thoughts (their beliefs). they are the same language but not exactly from region to region and from one social group to the other in the same region. touch and so on). but the very nature of these schemata relies on the basic fact that symbols are arranged in a temporal sequence. We can talk about our feelings (what we feel in the sense of body sensations but also. a concrete or highly abstract content that is part of our thoughts. we are referring to our experience with linguistic objects. of the fundamental properties of language. We can talk about our perceptions. their discourse (the texts they produce) and we can talk about our own thoughts and our own discourse. the linguistic properties that every grammar of any language share or. Each aspect of this strikingly miscellaneous portrait is essential to language. namely. Further. namely. further. In fact. the sentence. they are historical object and. The fact that the linguistic sign has a sound component is probably the most crucial determinant of language shapes. not only abstract schemata. later in life. Language is also determined by our conceptualization systems.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. It is true that word order can be ultimately motivated on dependency relations described by syntactic schemata. we apply a name to every distinguishable stimulus we experience and. Any language is determined by different factors. our emotions. we categorize. The fact that languages are use to communicate is a crucial factor that has an impact on the very nature of the basic and fundamental linguistic symbol. friends or the president of a country. Many if not every of our cognitive capacities are involved in the building up of the semantic content of a linguistic symbol. They have a physical dimension and a neurological part and they are a psychological. and more important. since Syntax is about the order(s) underlying the combination of symbols and one order is given by WORD ORDER. We can talk about other people. we describe any change in it as well as its relations to other stimulus. our categorizations. our inferences.from generation to generation. how do they relate to us and relate among them. be they the discourse of your mother. this means that any theory of language should be able to explain how is it that every language allows speakers to talk about any cognitive domain that they might experience. These representations are constituted with information coming from our sensory system. How do we do it? First. That is. every realm of experience can be represented and communicated according to the needs of daily life. We need to build up a sentence to express and communicate a thought and we do this to an interlocutor: part of the information needs to be new for the addressee.

let’s recall that a symbol has necessarily a meaning pole. etc. first. It is also obvious that the nature of the content –which is information regulated by the constraints of the human mind. Social ranks History and inheritance The Chomskyan tradition gets it straight by assuming that language is essentially a symbolic system and that this system is a mental capacity of some sort. A language is a collective mental capacity that is transmitted from one generation to the other of a linguistic community. beliefs) SEMANTICS Reality physical (temporal. namely. spatial. which is by definition a deictic category. it is very much expected that the linguistic system is permeated by certain the social conditions in which a language is used. This is the specificity of language. it regulates the use of pronouns and the choice of indefinite and definite articles. …concepts. the fact that speakers typically (if not only) structure their linguistic symbols around information that is new to the hearer has an impact on word order. the mind should be capable to produce it and process it.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. perception. this system is. These two undeniable facts point out to the social reality of language and highlight the role of performance. However. classes. After all. For example. 6 . its very own nature is social: it depends upon the presence of a community. verbal personal inflection and tense. The speech situation permeates through the grammatical organization of utterance via the meaning assigns to personal pronouns. Ontology: individuals. learned through social interaction and used for the purpose of communication. In consequence. … PRAGMATICS Social Reality biological society: mother.highly determine the very structure of the system. Luis Language sound production sequence (temporal nature of any sign continuity articulation interpretation (hearing) SYNTAX cognitive representation (sensation.

in this case the goal is just to communicate information that might not have any other consequence. the key component of any grammar. the research program we have named ‘ensemble grammar’ differentiate from it in one key factor. meaning and speech situation features. the internal world (wishes. It is clear from our definition above that language is intrinsically associated to communication and social interaction. This is what has been called ‘linguistic performance’. thoughts. While we will adopt many of the central ideas of RRG. manner. but instead of looking for it in abstracts schemata.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. While this approach focuses on the structure of a language (i. its features are to be found in the interplay of components. feelings (it hurts). Hence. not all the meanings can be found in the external world or in the conceptual domain of human experience because.e. Languages manifest themselves through human behavior in specific circumstances and with various and different purposes that. precisely. semantics and pragmatics.and even the influence on the behavior of the addressee. It is rather centered on describing the content communicated in different situations and on capturing how this content interacts with interpersonal or social situations. The communicated content is information that can be about the external world. The most salient shortfall of the radical communicative approach to language is that it pays very little and superficial attention if any at all to the formal properties of the linguistic system. in particular. Unlike RRG. We couldn’t live the way we have been living for the past five or six thousand years without using language as the essential tool of the theory of that structure. Speaking a language is not the task of putting thoughts into the right linguistic symbols. present. 5 We conceive that Grammar is the actual underlying organization of a language while grammar -with small capital letters. Role and Reference Grammar (RRG). Through language human beings have been able create large collective agents. 7 . Thus. In part. This is precisely what grammar –the internal system of a language. etc. that is. memory. This view can be dubbed an ‘ensemble’ grammar and it stresses the systematic while flexible interdependence among grammatical components as the key factor in explaining the central properties and effectiveness of human languages. they are linguistic creatures. very little is said about how that content is encoded into sounds. It proposes that there is a Universal Grammar. A speaker utter a sentence (or a chain of sentences) communicating information to a fellow recipient in the context of an interpersonal or social interaction. Meaning is not just made out of concepts or cognitive information. it is from the start conceptual information linguistically encapsulated. namely. beliefs. emotions) and/or the social world (which includes immerse in an interpersonal or social context. For EG the formal and semantic pole of the linguistic symbol are not independently given. It is heavily based on so called functional grammars. linking is not the procedure that relates systematically syntactic schemata to independent semantic representation. large groups of individuals that behave in a coordinated way by sharing rules. we assume that some features of the most basic and abstract semantic representations are linguistically motivated. should always involve communication. it might be that the interaction is mostly determined solely by linguistic goals like you meet with somebody to gossip about someone else. However. 4 In turn. Our view settles on a fuzzy middle ground between a formal and a communicative approach. the view of competence as a pure formal device needs to be dramatically enriched. The goals of the linguistic behavior are necessarily articulated to the ones that drive the interpersonal or social interaction but that in general can be thought to be the change in the 4 knowledge status -and possibly some beliefs. RRG is a theory centered on the syntax-semantics linking and on integrating information structure into the grammatical description of the sentence. the fact that languages create their own concepts is the reason why sometimes is so hard to define a semantic category like causation. core Grammar points out to the systematic interplay of syntax. Thinking involves linguistically structured conceptual information and this is why thinking in Spanish is different from thinking in English as I will be trying to show you throughout the course. Luis Obviously. it assumes that the nucleus of 5 Grammar involves the integration of formal schemata. In other all about. Grammar) as a symbolic system. however.

i. Each symbol is a piece in an organization where it is given a place. This the domain described by morphology. literary-. They are symbols within a system. By ‘formal’ it is meant. The (for the most part) static arrangement is what has been called Lexicon. In a very real sense. a property that makes sense within the symbolic system. which is a crucial aspect to Grammar. science.1. almost on a daily basis a new member is incorporated into the set due to technology and other social needs. a set of symbols that cannot be freely expanded by the addition of a new member. historical. later. the socio-cultural world and inner states. national constitutions and any other systems of laws. then. {I}. it is not merely a list of words but it has a complex (grammatical) organization. both are minimal sound-meaning units. {you}. {lust}. they are also –like bound morphemegrammatical words. language should not be thought only as a tool for communication but more fundamentally as a making sense device. for examples. Formal aspects of the lexicon: Lexical Categories (word classes): every morpheme belongs to a class. Lexicon Every English speaker has stored in its memory a set of linguistic symbols that we might call in a broad sense ‘words’. some closed class forms are free morphemes too. More precisely. Grammatical descriptions Every human language is a symbolic system. The Lexicon is not only a repository of morphemes.acquiring the means to survive and reproduce and adapt to new conditions in the environment. First. in particular. A collective agent is much powerful than an individual and tend to be more efficient –through the division of labor. Some examples are the plural marker on nouns {-s}. verbs. those words involve free and bound morphemes. namely. pieces of the Lexicon that have an abstract meaning and a rigid syntactic distribution (they show up in very specific places). for example. Second. Each symbol is a sound-meaning association as has been known since Saussure but there is much more than this. etc. on the other hand. {ball}. 2.1. on the one hand. linguistic theories. distinction that points out to the kind of arrangement in which they are stored. Bound morphemes are grammatical morphemes. Dynamic relations are the ones upheld by combinatory process. any tense marker on verbs {-ed}. it is set under certain category that defines a set of symbols that shares fundamental formal properties. In contrast. There are objects that are linguistic object in a fundamental way and they play a fundamental role in our lives. {love}. scientific theories. Each class can be identified on formal grounds: 8 . examples of them are {when}. However. adjectives. like nouns. politics and. Let’s distinguish between static relation and dynamic relation. 2. Furthermore. the set of verb inflectional morphemes in Spanish hasn’t got any new member in probably two hundred years. Free morphemes are the ones that do not demand to combine with another specific morpheme in order to be used as a unit in a sentence. We might say also that by overpowering our needs for survival our societies were able to give time to individuals to develop their mental skills through art. namely. or the derivational morpheme {-ation} that is added to verbs in order to form nouns. a combinatory system where they relate among themselves in countless but organized ways. it doesn´t refer to any property of the external world or any kind of human specific conceptualization of the world. poetry. ‘dative’ is the name of set of pronouns in Spanish. For example. activities were language have an indispensable and determinant role as a means for encoding and communicating information. religion. certain narratives –religious.1. that is. they belong to ‘closed class forms’.e. Luis cognitive representations on the external world. and the patterns in which they are combined. {short}. psychoanalysis. bound morphemes require to be combine (typically to a free morpheme) to form a word that can be used in a sentence. {easy} are all free morphemes.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. there is a dynamic aspect to it associated to the word formation processes. For example. Most free morphemes belong to open class forms. 2.

adjectives can be modified by adverbs. Infinitives: (to) they may function as verb complements (complement clauses like in ‘She wants to dance’) (bear) main verb of auxiliary verbs like modals (‘She can dance very well’) Gerunds: Complement of perception verbs (I saw you mowing the lawn) Noun (Smoking cheap cigars is dangerous) Manner adverbial modifiers (She came home crying) Participles (Present and Past): Adjectival pples: I bought a used car. Noun is also a complex category. some of these forms may even function as nouns or adjectives. although much simpler than verb. c. Syntactic distribution (places where it can show up in a syntactic structure. Verbs don´t take gender but they are the only category taking tense. direct object or indirect object of a sentence. Verb is a complex category in itself since it has subtypes with different syntactic distribution and inflectional properties. complements and modifiers it can take. d. Inflections (the set of morphemes that can combine with it): For example. Indeed. The subject of the sentence is typically a noun and it has to agree with the verbal inflection in person and number. b. Nouns can be the subject. Proper Nouns Common Nouns [mass or countable] Pronouns 9 . a´. Verbs are the head of sentences. Passive pples: John bought the house built (by the army). it can´t combine with nouns (*mouseable. For examples. She is a crying baby. Spanish nouns take gender and number inflections (English nouns only number).Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. verbs can be modified by adverbs and cannot take determiners. and so on). *doorable). nouns can be modified by adjectives (and not by adverbs) and can take articles as determiners. ‘derivable’. Preposition and conjunctions have no inflections. Derivations (the set of derivational morphemes that can combine with it). Luis a. ‘sustainable’). the categories of heads that can take them as complements. preposition cannot be modified. Agreement relations Spanish nouns need to agree in gender and number with adjectives. The morpheme {-able} combines with verbs to derive nouns (‘agreeable’.

they are just freely generated and some of them are going to be interpreted. First. this syntactically structured representation is also part of the Lexicon. there is the domain of concepts and the domain of linguistic forms and semantics is just the line that links both independent domains. they denote things. There are some fillings that are unacceptable while others are acceptable. So. hence. lexical categories are semantically motivated. you might think that meaning belongs to the conceptual domain. Ontological events can be denoted by nouns. cause and so on) as names of nodes in syntactic trees. The association of lexical categories with ontological categories is systematic but quite flexible. strictly speaking. In this view. etc. They aren´t individuals but are still perceivable non-temporal entities that can be arbitrarily divided. Meaning is not just conceptual-cognitive information. These kinds of adjectives can be understood as functionally different but they don´t constitute different classes. Second. ‘duelo’. there is a further distinction between prenominal and post-nominal adjectives (‘una vieja amiga’ vs. Luis There are different kinds of adjectives but the distinction is syntactically driven. Borer (2010) maintains that the relation is the following.e. ‘una amiga vieja’). namely. A property might be absolute or gradable. This is the extensionalist view. One is represented by the Minimalist Program is the latest version of the theory of language casted in Chomskyan style. It is absolute if an individual either has it or not. situations that are necessarily temporal can be named by nouns. they will be filled in with content. that is. There can be two different approaching in adopting this view. it resorts to two entities sounds and entities in the world. ‘construction’. This is just because world knowledge. This meaning is structured when it is inserted in a syntactic tree. Third. etc. Syntax generates abstract schemata and these are interpreted by filling the slot in them with conceptual concepts.) but also with basic nouns like the Spanish ‘pelea’. Adjective denote properties. Therefore. that is. Following the main tenets of Distributed Morphology. In contrast. we would be missing a very strong and extended relation if we just dismissed the link as accidental. There are bare ‘roots’ which don´t have any formal specification but just conceptual meaning. The model uses semantic vocabulary (events. However. roughly. meaning is linguistically structured conceptual-cognitive information. which are non-temporal parts of an individual that are shared by others. like ‘hot’ or ‘tall’. like being brown. This is true derivatively (i. Events are dynamic relations between individuals or between an individual and a property. Nouns can denote also mass objects like water. Meaning is linguistically determined. which we might be defined as a temporally stable physical object that can be perceived and eventually manipulated. The meaning of a word is a linguistically independent concept. The fundamental question about meaning points out to its nature. you might think that the meaning of a word is just an arrow on the sound part of a lexical item and points out to an entity in the world. once inserted in a syntactic schema. 3. meaning can be thought as the result of the interplay between concepts and forms. it is gradable if the individuals might have it in different degree. Thus. lexical categories cannot be reduced to ontological categories. syntactic structures are entirely independent from meaning. semantic representations are not made up of solely conceptual independent information. That is the avenue we will take in this class. they are linked systematically to (naïve) kinds in the external world. deverbal nouns like ‘destruction’. the pattern is regular and strong. namely. In Spanish. becomes either a verb or a noun depending on where it is placed. There is no difference in their intrinsic meanings neither they take different morphology. there is no Lexicon. Nouns denote either individuals or sets of individuals. Verbs refer to temporal entities that we might call events. ‘√box’ is a root that. Semantics Lexical categories are sensitive to semantics in the sense that they relate to broad ontological classes. 10 . relations that either evolve or hold in time. that is. the two main classes are attributive and predicative adjectives. Namely. There are three different views.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. that is.

as an Agent that execute a building situation and as the Patient it is affected by the building situation as it evolves through time. ‘steal’. from form to meaning and from meaning to form. Structured meaning Verbs: Human experience is cognitive. ‘like’ assigns liker and liked to its two participants. in this view the essence of grammar lies on the interrelation between meaning and form and there are mutual restriction imposed on each component. The variable x represents an argument of the predicate. It is an empirical issue to identify them. killers. that is. There is a fundamental distinction in Lexical Semantics: structured meaning and content. that the meaning of any (content) symbol is composed of parts that can be taken apart by semantic analysis and. We wonder about the aspect of semantic representations that are linguistically determined and those that are just cognitively determined.1. This means that each part define a verb class. some of those parts are shared by a set of symbols. In any case. So. and so on and it is the fact that they are all participants that do something causing a change or a movement (like the thrower in ‘throw’). ‘kill’. given. respectively. The central and critical assumption of semantic theory is that meaning is compositional. in this section we should analyze some of the basic semantic components that define large verb classes. The structured meaning is the one that is visible to syntax. More precisely. for example. further. builders. the verb ‘build’ is an abstract representation that relate two kind of things –individuals. there is an asymmetry in subjects and objects because verbs denote events which overwhelmingly denote arguments with a different degree of activity. There are verbs with two arguments (‘break’. receiver to each of its three participants. for example. Verbs are central to language temporal system. The arrow goes both ways. ‘donate’. ‘give’ assigns giver. verbs. it demands a structured meaning and. that is. ‘Run’ assigns the function ‘runner’ to its argument. that is. These are called individual semantic roles. namely. The meaning of any verb can be represented in terms of a predicate constant over a potential individual. once other information is filled in. We can go on further and say that each verb assigns a unique semantic function or semantic role to each argument of the event. However. the set of individual that includes x as a member: The set of runners. They are said to be Agents and this is a semantic role. This is the kind of syntax-semantics relations that are at the language structure core.). on the other hand. every verb meaning denotes a situation type that. ‘run’ can be represented as run’ (x) and this means that there is constant meaning that defines a set. ‘like’. a role that ranges over many individual roles. The verb ‘run’ requires only one participant because this is just what you need in order for the running to take place. Namely. So. meaning determines syntactic schemata. etc. Luis Another perspective on the same integrative view of the interplay between syntax and semantics in grammatical representations takes that. ‘envy’. meaning is only partially determined by linguistic structure and. This is one sense in which we can interpret the idea that syntax determines semantics. Actor (the 11 . If languages are fit to construct and capture our experience. can be used to capture a chunk of individual real experience. They denote situations. for example. it has to be structured in a particular way. and so on) and verbs with three participants (‘give’. further. For example. We wonder about the aspects of syntactic schemata that are motivated on semantic structures. Both are parts of what is taken to be the information coded in a word but the first one is highly structured while the other has no role in linguistic structure. it is the one that directly interacts with syntax and it is reasonable to think that its structure itself is motivated on facilitating the interface with syntax. the core that makes possible for language to be what it is and has this prodigious impact on human nature. on the one hand. an argument is a necessary participant for the event to take place. we should immediately notice that there is something in common among givers. The most frequently mention semantic roles are Agent (the causer of an event). active and interactive and temporal. 3. donators. a set of verbs that share a meaning component. they should be equipped with a highly sophisticated temporal system. a variable.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. emotional. ‘love’.

homogeneous. Instrument (the participant that is in the middle of a causal chain: It causes a situation because it has been acted upon it). In contrast. This means that. to be at home. Achievements denote instantaneous change of states ‘explode’ or ‘shatter’. die. land. namely.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. this telos makes these events bounded by a terminal point that is different from the rest and. they have an heterogenous internal structure since there is a part of the event (a subevent) that is different from the previous parts.) and semelfactive (i. know on the door.e. in general. etc. write a poem. cry. etc. enter. Semelfactive are verbs denoting situations constituted by the iteration of a single punctual event (that might happen in isolation too). the letter is written. raising a leg forward. let’s say. Accomplishments and Achievement are telic predicates.e. swim. The meaning of ‘John knew maths’ represents the relation of knowing between John and the content ‘math’ as stable throughout the relevant period of time (let’s say John’s adult life). certain activities can be divided up only to a certain point. For example. In other words. love. states (‘love’). activities (i. There in entity in motion or an individual executing some action that involves body motion or just action on another object. like creation verbs (to build. Activities are in a relatively homogenous and dynamic. In addition to argument structures with semantic roles. to be smart. activities are dividable and this is why we say that they are relatively homogenous. These are all types of situations. melt. writing a letter involves a period of time in which there is an action being performed that ends in an object being entirely finish. an end imposed by the nature of things. All those relations are linked to a sequence of intervals with the exception of achievements that are just temporally punctual. understood as a directed line (path) of successive periods or intervals. On a larger scale. blink. freeze. namely that if there was any difference between periods of time. they denote situations that have an intrinsic end (this is what ‘telos’ means in ancient Greek). arrive. Accomplishment typically involve change of state verbs. They differ from one another in the way the relation among individuals connects to the temporal line.). they are open situations so that they might go on until they get to an arbitrary end. build. Dynamicity refers to the fact that the relation involves something or somebody that is conceived as doing something (instead of being passively affected by the relation). in contrast to the other three categories. structured meaning is constituted by temporal schemata. activities (‘run’) and semelfactive (‘cough’) don´t have a completion point. take off.e. It is a completion point. There is widespread consensus that the meaning of every verb of every language belongs to one of five basic temporal categories called Aktionarten: states (i. to write a letter) or melt. For example. States are. ‘Stable’ should not be interpreted in a mathematical way. accomplishments (i. Theme (the participant that is located in a place or move through some space). Goal and Source (the final place where a Theme is located and the initial place where it was located. etc. respectively). cook a meal.). ‘cough’ consist typically of a repetition of a expelling of air through mouth and nose in an instantaneous burst along a period of time. In the case of accomplishments. For example. etc. While states are indefinitely dividable –and this makes them absolutely homogeneous-. know. relations among individuals or between an individual and a property that either hold or develop through time.). like. They all involve a Activity leading to a final state.e. is affected in the situation). explode. talk. The difference between Accomplishments and Achievements rests on temporal extension: while the formers are durative the latter are instantaneous. if you take a very small subinterval of the interval of time while ‘John ran in the park yesterday’ you might not get an action that can constitute by itself a running but just. never changing relations. to be skinny. etc. achievements (i.). etc. These semantics role constitute a vocabulary that can take us pretty far on the way to describe the meaning of verbs while capturing general patterns among them. States denote durative relations that maintain through time indistinctively. the event develops through time into a new situation.e. 12 . Patient (the participant that undergoes some change of state or. Luis doer of some action). It was stable in relation to the relevant factors. Beneficiary (the participant that gets a benefit from the event). hence. in this sense. ‘John cried for his brother’ denotes a situation that went on for a period of time (it’s durative) in a stable way. cough. everything can be considered a natural part of crying. shatter. The telos is not arbitrary but given by the nature of things so that once the letter is written you can´t keep writing it or once the water froze you can´t keep freezing it. walk.

In Spanish we can´t get the meaning of an unbounded Activity. 13 . I assume that this issue is not relevant for the variability in meaning analyzed here. we should add ‘causation’. Under the first interpretation the verb denote an unbounded Activity. there is no telic point.of another participant. Luis In ‘the window shattered because of the earthquake’. the absence of operators indicates the presence of a state. namely. It is quite amazing that every symbol that reflects a temporal aspect of the human experience in any natural language belongs to one of these semantic schemata. It refers to a binary event. ‘cool’ might mean that the liquid reached a certain temperature. Technical representations 6 There is a second issue with these verbs. there is a telic point. he finished the book. one subevent causes another subevent. something was affected by a change. He affected the whole content of the book with his reading. the verb ‘cool’ means that there is a gradual change of state either from a given high temperature (‘The coffe cool down’) to an unspecified lower degree. For example. For example. something that is cold can´t get even colder. an unbounded durative and dynamic situation that involves two participants. We may say ‘John read a lot yesterday’ meaning ‘he was engaged in the reading activity’ and there is no intrinsic boundary to it. namely. namely. What do they consist of? First. that is. represented by pred’ (that is. linguistic representations are never defined with clock wise precision. There is a derivate class constituted by an activity verb that gets bounded by an affected object. There is a gradable scale on temperature involved in the meaning of this verb so that the first sense refers to the upper part of the scale whereas the other sense denotes the lower part. ‘kill’ means that an Agent participant caused an event: the change of state –from being alive to being not alived. After all. they contain temporal operators like do’. the activity becomes an accomplishment and this is why this type is called ‘active accomplishment’ and it typically involves verbs of manner of motion (like ‘run to the store’). ‘a cold coffee’ doesn’t refer to the same temperature than a ‘cold tea’ or ‘cold coke’. but it cannot mean is getting colder (we will have to use the progressive to get that sense: ‘El café se está enfriando’). those schemata contains argument positions. Second. that is. In recent years. either durative or instantaneous. In addition. the coffee can’t be said to be cold. respectively. Notice that accomplishments are not dynamic by themselves. there has been an interesting research over so called variable Achievements. t1 and t1+1). BECOME and INGRESSIVE denotes that a there is a change. somebody doing something. The caused subevent belongs to a specific Aktionart category while typically the causing subevent is not specified for any. verbs of consumption (‘eat a pizza) and creation (‘write a novel’). any predicate). if we say ‘John read the book yesterday’. For example. ‘window’ is the argument of the predicate and it changed state: We learn from that sentence that it was not shattered at some point in the past t1 and it was shattered at t1+1. ‘El café se enfrió’ that is not as hot as expected or that the coffee is actually cold. any of these temporal categories might be combined with the semantic category CAUSE. In this case. namely. an Actor (the reader) and a content participant (the symbols that were read). empty slots that are required to be fill with (referential) content in order to produce a semantic representation that can be associated with a grammatical sentence. which reflects that event involves an Actor. The scale is bounded at 6 the bottom. The corresponding adjective is ‘relative’. In this way. One possible way out of this problem is to stop talking about instantaneous events and say they are non-durative. ‘read’ is an activity. However. which might include any complex interval made of two contiguous minimal subintervals. it reached a boundary. This means that every content fills in one temporal schemata. These are the basic temporal structures that we need to account for structured meaning in any language. 3. There is some sort of contradiction in saying that Achievements are instantaneous while denoting a change of state which has to be understood in terms of two different interval of times (i. In addition.e. In contrast.2.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. so that what is considered an ‘instant’ in Linguistics might be different from the conception in Physics.

BECOME know’ (Mary. [run’ (Chris)]) & INGR be-at’ (park. [pred1’ (x. States are represented just precisely by just the predicate and its arguments like’ (x. Chris) Carl ate the pizza. [cough_ (Mary)]) Active accomplishments a. BECOME melted’ (snow) Mary learned French. see’ (Dana. y)]) & INGR pred2’ (y) Causatives 14 . [pred1’ (x. [pred’ (x)]) <–> do’ (x. Kim) Dana saw the picture. [pred_ (x)]) & INGR be-LOC’ (y. be-in’ (library. [eat’ (Carl. y) Pat is a fool. INGR shattered’ (window) The balloon popped. run’(x)) The children cried. be’ (Pat. x) b. Motion verbs: do’ (x. French) Active Accomplishments Chris ran to the park. [eat’ (Carl. pizza)]) & INGR consumed’ (pizza) Semelfactives Dana glimpsed the picture.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. Luis There is a technical vocabulary to represent this information. picture) Activities are represented by the presence of a do’ predicate that takes an argument as Actor followed by the content predicate as in do’(x. y)]) <–> do’ (x. the initial point is to assume that every verb is a predicate that has arguments. INGR popped’ (balloon) Accomplishments The snow melted. do’ (Carl. As we have said. pizza)]) Achievements The window shattered. do’ (children. SEML see_ (Dana. [fool’]) The cup is shattered. Creation/consumption verbs: do’ (x. [cry’ (children)]) Carl ate pizza. picture) Mary coughed. do’ (Carl. SEML do_ (Mary. shattered’ (cup) Kim is in the library. do’ (Chris.

15 . actively. [+ dynamic]. a. [− telic]. Grammatical tests. [do’ (Sam. Activity: [− static]. [do’ (Mary. etc. Accomplishment: [− static]. Yes Yes 3. [− telic]. Ø)] CAUSE [SEML do’ (light. Ø)] CAUSE [INGR popped’ (balloon)] Sam flashed the light. pizza)]) & INGR consumed’ (pizza)] 3. [flash’ (light)])] Felix bounced the ball. Ø)] CAUSE [do’ (child. Ø)] CAUSE [feel’ (boy. [− punctual] c. Achievement: [− static]. We don’t need to rely on our semantic intuition in order to determine if a verb belongs to an aspectual class or not. Active accomplishment: [− static].Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. [+ telic]. [+ dynamic]. [afraid’])] Max melted the ice. [− punctual] b. [bounce’ (ball)])] Mary fed the pizza to the child. [+ punctual] d. There are grammatical test that taken together make most of the time reliable the decision to include a verb under a specific category. [+ punctual] e. [± dynamic]. [do’ (cat. [+ telic]. [− dynamic]. [− dynamic]. State: [+ static]. [+ telic]. [do’ (Max. Luis The dog scared the boy. [do’ (Felix. Ø)] CAUSE [BECOME melted’ (ice)] The cat popped the balloon. Occurs with Progressive Yes Yes 2. Semelfactive: [− static]. [− telic]. [− punctual] f. Ø)] CAUSE [do’ (ball. [do’ (dog. Occurs with adverbs like quickly. [− punctual] Tests for Aktionsart classes Criterion State Achiev Accomp No* No* Yes No No No Activity Active Accomp 1. [eat’ (child.3. [− dynamic]. Occurs with adverbs like vigorously.

might be associated with different semantics while keeping the same nuclear meaning. (y))]) & INGR predicate’ (z. Since speakers of any language need to produce sentences in order to communicate. spend an hour Xing 5. Mary got upset. x) or (y) CAUSATIVE α CAUSE β. [predicate’ (x) or (x. β are logical structures of any type The final note on Semantics should be about structural ambiguities. [predicate’ (x) or (x. or BECOME do_ (x. y). Newspaper: 4. No No * Yes Yes Yes Yes* No * Irrelevant * Yes Irrelevant No No* Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes 4. a single lexical semantic representation. Occurs with X in an hour 6. y)]) ACHIEVEMENT INGR predicate’ (x) or (x. or INGR do’ (x. [predicate_ (x) or (x. Can be used as stative modifier Yes Formal representation STATE predicate’ (x) or (x. Load Sink Upset: Bill upset the teacher. they should be the center of any theory of language structure. Occurs with X for an hour. SYNTAX The natural unit of speech is the sentence. y)]) ACCOMPLISHMENT BECOME predicate’ (x) or (x. y)]) ACTIVE ACCOMPLISHMENT do’ (x. y) ACTIVITY do’ (x. By this concept I mean the fact that a verb –that is. y).Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. etc. where α. Beyond the internal structure of a 16 . Luis slowly. [predicate’ (x. Mary is upset.

} N {alumno. the following string of words is not a sentence.} Det {el. …} ADV {much. though. Which symbol do we utter first and which one should follow is not an arbitrary issue. namely. Syntax contains a set of schemata for noun phrases. etc. Sentences are complex symbols. The order of the sequence obeys pre-established patterns that are captured by grammatical schemata. we can only utter a sound at a time and this means that in order to express a sentence. Since every linguistic symbol has a sound pole. only some of the logically possible ones are part of a language. semantic deviations might most of the time be reinterpreted as. just one symbol after another. verb phrases. and a set of sentence schemata. in order to talk we produce sounds through our vocal tract applying a very complex motor. not every sequence will do it. As it was observed by Chomsky decades ago. For example. a figurative expression. ….} V {llegó. This difference does not target structured meaning. In particular. the nature of syntax is different from semantics as seen by the different enforcement of their respective requirements. (2) The tall student gave us a wonderful lecture. These formal features can be described by a vocabulary that makes no reference to meaning and they predict the right place of words and the set of formal relations between them in a sentence. (1) *Gave the us tall a wonderful student lecture. There are material constraints that explain in part the nature of a sentence. it parts need to be set into a temporal sequence. prepositional phrases. …. (4) The tall student talked too much. In fact. There is an order that ought to be followed. syntax is the component of a grammatical theory that is centered on the purely formal aspects of those schemata. It is relevant for content meaning. too. They are technically called phrases just like noun phrases. …} (5) 17 . Luis sentence into the text or discourse we are out of the domain of grammar. A combination of words that severely deviates from a formal schema set the linguistic object out of the system as shown by (1) In contrast. etc. for example. …. In contrast. (3) That movie blew me away. verb phrases.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. (4) S NP VP NP Det N ADJ VP V AdvP AP ADJ AdvP ADV ADV AdvP ADV ADJ {tall. the same words ordered in a different sequence are perfectly acceptable. Grammars are entirely devoted to describe and understand the patterns that determine the organization of a sentence and that make it possible. they have smaller symbols as parts that are assembled together following a certain and specific order. Given our body constitution (one vocal tract per brain/body).

this is a desirable outcome that will set S apart. the X-bar theory). nothing of what happens inside can be determined by an element belonging to another phrase unless this element is the nucleus that contains the phrase as member. Each PS type contains an obligatory lexical member. In short. so there is no single head. this knowledge is far more complicated that just joining the word that is next to one another: There are parts of sentences –i. there is no PS lexically defined.e.this wouldn’t be an unexpected outcome. the question this point raises is S. otherwise. though: (1d) A wonderful lecture was given by the tall student. Furthermore. The nucleus projects its property to the whole structure. c. Namely. for APs is Adj. d. Syntax is the kind of knowledge described above: Symbols that need to be placed next to each other forming a sequence so that. for example. Maybe. 18 . we would rather talk about a ‘construction’ not a PS. phrases. Semantically. That is. This means that agreement relations. The consensus is that a. for VPs is V. Now. Phrase structure (PS) theory are all labeled. if moved to another position –a change in the relative order-. each one belongs to a certain type. they have to be moved as a whole without leaving behind any symbol of that unit. an NP behaves like a Noun by which I mean: it acts as subject. any S needs an NP subject and a V. Luis S NP VP VP Det The AP tall N student AdvP V talked too much The ultimate goal of a syntactic theory ought to be to find the shared properties –if there exist any at all. can only take place between symbols within the same phrase (maximal projection) and one symbol has to be the head of that phrase.of every phrasal schema (for example. This is essential. there is no PS associated with a single verb. Since S is different from the rest on a functional level –i. b.e. the reference of the noun is the reference of the NP. the order consists in complex units that are the result of combination of symbols that need to appear together. etc. The rest are optional members.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. it can be the object of a preposition. for PPs is P. What is its nucleus? Well. The Phrase is a shelter. this means. There is flexibility regarding the mutual order of phrases.that are not necessarily put one next to the other but they still constitute a single unit: discontinuous constituents. the nucleus. DO or IO in a sentence. Furthermore. it is the unique natural unite of speech. For NPs is N.

which is a necessary pole of linguistic symbols. Elements that are not part of the lexical semantic representation –i. The meaning of sentence (3) comes from the meaning contributed by each lexical item and the way they interrelate within the semantic representation. There is a core idea shared across every grammatical theory: There is a critical difference between core and peripheral syntax. they have a ‘head’. the constituents): in ‘the tall student’ the phrase is nominal in nature and. We say that phrases are ‘headed’. the noun ‘student’ has a more significant role than the adjective ‘tall’ or the definite determiner ‘the’. adjuncts. the combination of VP with NP produces S. Core syntax is the domain demarcated by the verb and its syntactic argument. Since ‘too much’ is an adjunct. Syntax is about the constitution of phrases through combinatory processes and that what hold together those symbols within a unit is the structure of the phrase and this is clearly given by an asymmetric relation among the constitutive symbols (i. it is not a structure building constituent. In other words.e. This is the principle of compositionality. which is that symbols that transmit its own properties to the whole structure and. crucially. in turn. Luis (6) a. so. This is agreement and it’s clearly visible in languages with a rich morphology like Spanish where nouns are marked by gender and number (i. ‘the kid exhausted’ form a unit with constituents that are farther apart from a spatial point of view. semantic arguments are represented in the core (they are structure building elements) whereas adjuncts in the periphery (they do not build new structure). This domain is the one that satisfies the lexical semantic representation of the verb regarding the argument slots. Therefore.e. Interface The schema in (5) misses meaning. it demands the rest of the symbols to match some of its own properties. The kid that was crying brought the luggage to the front of the desk exhausted. which are typically expressed as bare NPs and exceptionally by PPs with non-predicative prepositions (semantically ineffective).e. (6) do’(x. non-lexically required). they all have a dominant symbol –i. This structures are not dependent of the presence of sequences of symbols one next to the other. Syntax is the finite and very small set of patterns that allows us to build a possible infinite set of sentences. the rest is optional (i.are represented outside core syntax. sentences show an internal hierarchical structure made of symbols that combine into phrases that. talk’(x)) According to (6) the only lexically required information is the one that expresses the Actor ‘x’. it’s like an abstract template that is filled in by words and phrases. Is there any evidence that syntax makes a strong difference between lexically required and optional constituents? Yes. The subject of the adjective ‘exhausted’ is ‘the kid’. namely. ‘profesor’ is singular and masculine) and the adjective (‘alto’) needs to match up those properties. it is a structure building combination). It is not part of the semantic representation of the verb ‘talk’. combine among each other. That structure is rather abstract. in (5). 19 . ‘too much’ is an adverb that helps to locate temporally the event denoted by the verb. a first relevant observation regarding systematic correlations in the syntax-semantics interface is that argument positions of the structured meaning of verbs (as represented in verbal semantic representations or LSs) are linked to position in an exclusive syntactic domain.e. To sum up. hence. it combines with a VP and the outcome is still a VP (in contrast. 4. In (3).that gives the whole structure its properties. the head.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París.e. Furthermore.

The referent of the subject of V2 in (4) can be different from the subject of its main verb. Obviously. in English the IO can be promoted too. The verb can´t impose semantic restrictions on adjuncts (it does to arguments). Arguments play syntactic function -subject. d. In Spanish and English. direct object. a’. they are adjuncts as opposed to arguments. the (implicit) subject of the infinitive must be the same participant than the subject of its main verb. Qué llegaste diciendo? What these examples show is that the direct object of an embedded verb (‘cantar’) can show up in the domain of the main verb (‘llegar’) in the syntactic structure underlying (7) but not in the syntactic structure underlying (8). indirect object. both embedded phrases are optional –technically speaking. both syntactic structures are different. they both give further information about the event denoted by the main verb. In contrast. namely. None of the factors mentioned above can explain per se the difference but they do indicate that there is an underlying template that is different in (3) and (4). For example. A syntactic answer is that the Gerund Phrase in (3) is a verb phrase whereas the 20 . a’’. A consequence of this is that the gerund phrase can´t have an explicitly expressed subject whereas ‘decías’ might: ‘Llegaste cuando Pedro decía algo’ or ‘Llegó cuando vos decías algo’. Every syntactically required argument is a lexically required argument (the reverse might have exceptions under specific conditions but. the result will be part of the system. c. The differences are: a.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. b. e. the subjects agrees with the verbal inflection in Spanish. Grammar requires speakers to behave in a specific way in the case of arguments and if not put the object out of the system (it does not belong to Spanish) whereas for adjuncts Speakers are free to go one way or the other. **¿Qué llegaste cuando decías? b. in Spanish clitic pronouns target direct object and indirect object functions. *Qué compró Pedro el sofá cuando vendió? (8).that are formally regimented and differentiated. There is a conjunction joining V1 and V2 in (4). Different behavior for the extraction of arguments out of complement or adjunct clauses: An example: (7) a. generally speaking. The gerund is a non-finite form whereas ‘decías’ is a finite one. also holds). Luis a. both phrases have an adverbial function. there is nothing in (3). b.the Gerund Phrase in (7) and the embedded clause in (8) might be dropped without affecting the grammaticality of the sentences. Second. the object is the NP promoted to subject in passive sentences. non-referring expressions like adjectives or adverbs so they do not denote participants. Where is that difference? In principle. Qué quiere Pedro que Juan pinte? c. This difference is massive. ¿Qué dijo Pedro que María traía? b. arguments are bare NPs directly connected with V whereas adjuncts are PPs (if participant denoting expressions) or modifiers.

speech errors of the substitution kind are overwhelmingly more frequent between semantically related words. its only argument is a subject. Now we can state a generalization in these terms: A direct object of V2 can be place within the environment dominated by V1 if it is taken out of a verb phrase VP but not if it is taken out of a Sentence.1. this means. precisely. there is mounting psycholinguistic evidence that those groupings are right and it comes from semantic priming and speech errors. Luis embedded structure in (4) is a full (embedded) sentence. The grammatically relevant semantic meaning is highly abstract: it is the information carried by the abstract schemas provided by the semantic component. The links of the semantic network are. hence. iterating this move over and over’) is grammaticality irrelevant. Each lexical entry consist of the association of information coming from different grammatical components. (9) Qué dijo Pedro que comió ___? **Qué dijo Pedro cuando comió ___? Qué quiso Pedro que Juan comprara ___? **Qué quiso Pedro cuando Juan compró ___? f. one needs to have it stored in long term memory. syntax and semantics. moves it forward while maintaining the other(s) foot(feet) in contact with the floor. Juan sacó esa suma para él mismo. The lexicon revisited The lexicon is the set of words that anybody who speaks English or Spanish needs to know. it`s an activity verb. the mental lexicon is a set of networks driven by different organizing principles. Hence. psych verbs are set in a group. Obligatory reflexivization: (10) Juan se afeitó a sí mismo. grammars treat differently semantic argument and adjuncts. In sum. thus the lexicon itself is the primary linking domain of among the almost all the other grammatical components. *?Juan se afeitó a él mismo. The previous processing of a semantically related word W1 speed up the processing of W2. the only aspect that matters is the type or kind: it’s about doing something. essentially. Juan compró el auto para sí/él mismo. sound emission verbs are set together in another group and so forth.except for idiosyncratic information and content information that has no direct bearing on grammar. Even if there are certain uncertainties about the actual shape of the lexicon. **Me regalé el auto a yo mismo. syntax and semantics. The full content of the verb is purely lexical. In addition. You can think of the Lexicon as a dictionary but with the following proviso. Juan se regaló el auto a sí mismo. this means that the processing of W1 activated W2 because they are stored in the same area. *Juan se regaló el auto a él mismo. 21 . 4. they are structures imported from other grammatical components –essentially phonology. the constituents of the lexicon do not originate on it itself. The other information provided by the lexicon is about its own organization at the semantic level: it has to do primarily with the rich semantic content and only subsequently the schematic content comes into play. semantic in nature so that motion verbs are set in a single group.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. The specific meaning of ‘walk’ (presumably something like ‘a living entity raises one foot. phonology. While the organization of a dictionary follows the alphabetical criterion.

we can`t grasp the meaning of it. since there is a general rule. The relation target a superior level of generalization in the semantic representation. the semantics-to-syntax direction-. Syntax needs to be given the number and role of the argument (semantically required participants of an event. 4. Ø)CAUSE (BECOME [dead’(y)] The semantic component of a grammar is usually understood as the set of semantic structures that serve as the frames that organize lexical information and they do it so by foregrounding certain information as more relevant according to two criteria: linking to syntax and place in the lexicon.2. Actor. otherwise. we just apply the one of the corresponding verb in our native language and it might be right for the most part most of the time. we don’t need to ask ourselves how this particular semantics can be expressed in syntax. we just apply it. The lexical representation of ‘kill’ is an example of semantic structure. The following linking rule establishes a correlation between syntactic functions and semantics roles (the function type that participants play in the events denoted by verbs) that is valid across all the verbs of a language. direct and indirect object) and argument slots in a semantic representation. Taking the speaker’s perspective –that is. we don´t need to find out the right syntax for every verb. We know it was the cat that killed the lion. This information is equally crucial for the hearer’s perspective. the issue can be presented by taking any two argument verb –let’s say the verb ‘love’. This realization cannot be reversed. In order to process the following utterance we need to know who did what to whom. 4. (12) Peter kissed Mary. It`s not about individual roles but about generalized semantics roles of the type Agent. When we learn a language. (11) A cat killed a lion. Luis /kill/ V FN__FN [do’( x. Patient and so on.3. which activates the syntax-to-semantics direction. More precisely. The rich content of the verb is encapsulated in the predicate dead’. Thus.and the question is how we can know which argument should be projected in which syntactic function. Theme. How do we know that Peter is the Agent and Mary the Patient? Because Peter is the Subject and Mary the Direct Object and there is a rule linking Agent to Subjects and Patients to Direct Objects. it points out to the systematic relations between syntactic functions ( means of two general semantic notions: causation (CAUSE) and change of state (BECOME).Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. This apparently obvious and trivial answer tells us that grammar places a systematic link between arguments and syntactic functions. which refers to the realization of semantic arguments in syntactic structures. The answer is that the lover should be subject and the loved one should be direct object. it foregrounds two event participants to which it assigns two roles –Agent and Patient. further. This is the structure that is relevant to syntax. when we select a verb to build a sentence. Linking theory One of the most studied and crucial aspect of the syntax-semantics interface is linking. across every language. Principles of the syntax-semantics interface: 22 . How can we know it? Because ‘a cat’ is the subject and ‘a lion’ is the object and there is a systematic link between killers and subjects and killees and direct objects. that is. it contains the identity of the verb that should determine its specific place in the semantic network of the lexicon within the change of state of living entities. those that are the minimum required for the event to take place).

Number of arguments: no lexical item can have more than three arguments. So. Luis Completeness: all the arguments should be realized in syntax. they differ in the level of active involvement in the event.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. Actors are mapped into subject position whereas Undergoers into direct object position. 23 . the underlying assumption is that every verb meaning that involves more than one argument makes them play. this will be mapped to indirect object position (and. If there is a third argument. Typically. Linking structure: The underlying idea is that the realization of lexical meaning into core syntax is determined by an activity hierarchy. second. different semantic roles and. Namely. to a PP). sometimes. the most passive role) as Undergoer. arguments are order in relation to the relative level of activity of the semantic role they fulfill. first. The most active role is going to be interpreted as an Actor and the less active role (that is.


. not all the content that is part of the meaning of a verb is grammatically visible. the content included in those meanings is reach and immensely diverse. In the first type the whole sentence is focus. 5. This is possible because the meaning that interacts directly with syntax is very abstract. Every sentence made up of any verb expresses one of these very few core schemata.. Information structure within grammatical representations The impact of Pragmatics –the conditions that determine the use of language in actual situations. The idea is that these notions determine the word order of the sentences together with syntax. predicate focus and restricted focus. Only the structured meaning as we have described it in terms of aspectual classes (Aktionarten). new information.. S NP VP VP VNP // V NP NP // V PP// V AP // V S [recursion] There is no other option for verb meanings than to get expressed in one of those schemata. . The new information is typically called Rheme or Focus whereas the old information is called Topic or Presupposition or Theme (the original notions came from the Prague School. Still.. . pred’(x.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. it refers to the organization of the constituents of a sentence into new and old information.. There are basically three information structure types: sentence focus. namely.... Luis S Det NP VP N V NP Det A student broke Actor Do’(x. argument structures and semantic roles.. [BECOME broken’ (vase)]) 4.. languages have manage to fit any kind of content to (more or less) six grammatical schemata and the coupling of these syntactic structures with content is highly systematic: it is not the case that every speaker fills in those structures with content in an arbitrarily. Since verbs capture the infinite variety of situations that constitute human experience.y) pred’(x) CAUSE ([do’ (student.5 Concluding remarks on interface The nucleus of the grammatical machinery is the coupling of the syntactic schemata of basic sentences and lexical semantic representations.on syntax is mainly restricted to the domain called ‘information structure’. Ø)] . the N vase Undergoer do’(x. they were Theme and Rheme). It’s the case where sentence (1) is uttered in a context where it answers the question ‘what happened?’ 25 . pred’(. namely. Syntax imposes very austere and strict conditions on semantic representations.

6.e. which is the presupposition (that is. The point is that once you choose this kind of construction. Also. However. Luis (13) Peter brought the kid exhausted. For example. (14) a.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. A could utter ‘John brought the kid exhausted’ to which B says ‘PETER brought the kid exhausted’.e. The other dimension of Pragmatics that has a direct bearing on grammar is the pragmatic enrichment of lexical information through conversational implicatures. he didn`t rent it). you are no longer free as a speaker to select any other information structure. crucially. respectively? Clearly. This structure is sometimes called ‘topicalization’ because it takes a constituent (i. Technically. where vagueness means underspecification. This kind of situation is pretty much the norm in language. there are even constructions whose all seemingly purpose is to materialize certain patterns like (15) It was John who bought that house. Grammar is a part of a language. Predicate focus designates a structure where the new information is the predicate and the old –this means. As we have seen. It is not that the kid is always exhausted but that only every time he is being brought by John. Grammar and the notion of Language. principles or general restrictions. John didn`t bring the kid exhausted. semantic information is very schematic in lexical items. Obviously. not both at the same time. Languages are very sensitive to information structure. If the sentence is negated as in (14a) the negation operator has scope only over ‘exhausted’. This means that in the case of (1). The question is. the predicate). ‘known’information is given by the rest of the sentence (i. i.e. if frequency adverb modifies the sentence. can be described by rules. the meaning of ‘cousin’ doesn`t specify that information and the crucial point is that this pragmatics comes into play to fill in the blanks.e. it is not part of the focus). It’s a contrastive focus where only one constituent is new information. the fact that languages have grammars at their cores makes them suitable for communication and makes them learnable. speaker and hearer are talking about Pedro and what the hearer doesn`t know is what he did (i. what is the relation between the grammar of English and Spanish and the English or Spanish language. semantic) 26 . Restricted focus refers to the election of a particular constituent of the sentences as focus. If a language were not made of general and abstract (phonological. ‘he brought the kid exhausted’). morpho-syntactical. Phonology plays a crucial role in information structure. if I use the word ‘cousin’ it can refer either to the nephew of your mother or father.. ‘Peter BOUGHT the new house’. ‘John’) out of a clause so that it becomes topic/old information in it (whereas it`s the new/salient information of the whole sentence). For example. Intonation together with word order and ellipsis are the main means used to materialize information structures in linguistic forms. It can be any constituent. You may not need to change word order to signal a restrictive focus in one constituent: you just set intonational stress on it (for example. Contrastive Analysis is devoted mainly to the comparison between grammatical structures of two languages. (14b) John always brought the kid exhausted. We are going to go into more details about this at the end of section 1 of the syllabus. it has scope over the main verb. hence. because it is the focus. lexical representations are said to be ‘vague’. As you might have guessed. that part that is highly structured and. someone may know consciously English grammar without being able to speak or understand English so that the two notions are not the same.

in other words. informal among friends. each particular logic deals with different domains: we are going to study and contrast the logic of Event Construction in English and Spanish as well as the temporal logic. the last section will include something about Verbal Actions and in doing so we will address the core of the articulation of language and interpersonal interaction. etc. The IGL of Spanish is different from the IGL of English and. From words to sentences. grammar. In contrast. Our bet in this course is that by studying grammar and comparing grammatical systems you will be empowered to better solve specific issues of translation by solving them by principle (as opposed to by intuition only). ultimately. In this sense. morpho-syntactic and semantic rules. however. through it. further. the fact that the process is rule governed produces artifacts that can be repeated and recycled over and over. the fact that. it has to include also the impact of the wheel on human history and the development of economy and technology. Furthermore. the chomskyan distinction between I and E language is relevant. between a couple. A fundamental finding in the English-Spanish contrast 27 . In addition. More precisely. This fact is central for communication since it rests on the possibility of reproducing the mental content in the speaker’s mind in a different mind. in general. you may think reasonably that you only need to study E-language. it needs to be partitioned in (perhaps infinite) parts to properly study it. Second point. each IGL consists of a structured set of logics. the condition that makes communication possible is the existence of objective content. The significance of the wheel cannot be reduced to its geometrical shape. among business partners. every linguistic sign is put together following phonological. namely. part of what an object is has to do with the ways in which it is articulated with rest of the objects of the real world. objectivity is made possible by the use of rules and. What is kept from a language once grammar is left out from consideration? In a word. that as translators. The ontology of any object cannot be limited to its intrinsic structure (grammar). The internal structure of a language is the mechanism that we have internalized and that allow us to produce a possibly infinite set of sentences that we have never heard or utter and that is largely independent of specific world knowledge. This means. you can`t grasp E-language at once given its infinite variations. what is kept is the real linguistic behaviors. That is grammar and. the meaning of the word ‘horse’ can be reproduce without major differences in the mind of every English speaker. the first point is that E-language is as such ungraspable. they are fundamental in the constitution of our subjectivity: it is crucial to each of us the fact that we can talk to ourselves creating daily internal dialogues. information that inhabit not only a subjective individual mind but the mind of each and every individual of a linguistic community.). you are going to be dealing with E-language and. any human language includes an essential and constitutive role in human culture and. a language isn`t only grammar. It is different according to register (formal and informal. further. the rules are such that they are able to create an infinite set of units. However. An intrinsic general logic (IGL) is a particular and foreground coded information as well as the way to distribute it through the system according to the available resources. In other words. Luis patterns. In sum. hence.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. by the fact that language is a rule governed behavior. the everyday phenomenon of human beings using a language to carry out social actions. the hypothesis is that in order to understand E-Language we need necessarily –but no only. 7. Nevertheless. each linguistic sign (each sentence for example) would have to be crafted out of scratch. I-Language. We will deal mostly with comparing English and Spanish grammars. there is always something in common among all the real life situations included in E-language. Linguistic variation is high at regional levels (the Spanish spoken in Santiago de Chile is different from the one spoken in Buenos Aires) and at a sociocultural level (the Spanish spoken in Los Cerrillos and the one spoken at La Vacherie or any high-end gated community). We have direct access to E-language and. to I-language. amount that should be unthinkable if the construction process were merely proper of study I-Language or. our hypothesis is that the grammar of each language comprises an intrinsic general logic that may differ from the intrinsic logic of another language. mutatis mutandi. Why is it so? As we already said.

Verbs denote tree kinds of eventuality type in every language: states (love. the listener would infer that you have a single kid and this is not because any information accessed to through any other source than language. In any case. static representations. In particular. which doesn´t need to be different over time as it is required for example by ‘learn’.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. First. English descriptions of the same visual stimuli tend to give more information about Activities. The verb ‘kill’. Luis This second part of unit 1 rests on two central hypotheses. there is one participant that performs an activity over time (walk) or changes in some ways (melt) or there are two or more participants related because the activity of the one affects in a way the other one. recently. further. etc. In this class I’m putting accomplishments and achievements together).). they mean mostly pre-conscious thoughts and even conscious thoughts. Thinking is a very complex process and. for example. cough. for example. hate. sink. Activities are described through syntactic means. We may take visual. 7 Beneath this level. that is. a process that consists of changes from a finite and definite state to another state) as opposed to a continuous flow. more broadly. states are eventualities that describe how a property holds -not changesover time like ‘know mathematics’. This two options reflects dynamic eventualities. although I also show that the content isn’t exactly identical. Second -and perhaps more controversial. In Semantics an event is the entity (object) described by the meaning of every verb. yell. etc. etc. it`s not about the speakers’ intentions. write. auditory and tactile perceptions as examples of these processes as well as any sort of basic instinctive drive (sex and hunger) that determine in some way our mental representations. Each verb meaning represents an eventuality type. on the Activity not on the Result of the eventuality. English represents the opposite pattern: dynamicity is captured in the lexicon whereas Result in Syntax. events with Results) rather than Activities. we can find multiple kinds of automatic and unconscious processes governed by genetically determined mechanisms or conditions. In contrast. take. Another process that is clearly language dependent is reasoning. Furthermore. English. grab. if you utter ‘My kid is really smart’.) and events (build. The point is that in the semantic domain of dynamic spatial relations. involves the mental dynamic akin to finite state processes (namely. specifically. activities (walk. in getting cognitive representations from our perceptual experience. represents a type that is instantiated in the real world any time some living thing dies because of the causal action of some agent. This kind of thought is usually named ‘categorization’ and is involved. In contrast. which is the kind of thoughts we are able to control to certain extent and manipulate. those that involves some (constant or either abrupt) change over time. not every aspect of it is sensitive to language. 7 Here I will make the case that the constitution of cognitive representations of dynamic visual stimuli is determined by the kind of lexical semantic representations that is prevalent in the speaker’s native language. There were twelve killings in Aurora. be. In English the supplementary strategy to code explicitly information about Result is syntactical: the resultative construction. for sure. For example. cry. This thought consists of discrete categories and. In contrast. This difference is caused by the option each system gives to their speakers. I will focus on event representations to show that Spanish focuses on the Result/final part of the event whereas English focuses on the medial part of the eventuality. Each of them was an event that instantiated the event type described by ‘kill’. In any eventuality. an eventuality is a temporal unit: during the course of time or time flow a property or relation hold or a change takes place (either gradually or abruptly). fear. 28 . Spanish speakers tend to describe situations in terms of verbs that denote events (and. Bowerman & Levinson 2001 or Slobin 2008) talk about the relation between thought and language.the native language spoken by the speaker determines the way native speakers think. destroy. The overall thesis is that the Spanish lexicon tends to specify Result and. When authors (for example. namely. languages differ from one another. Spanish makes use of an inferential strategy based on prototypical information and conversational implicatures to communicate the same content. Colorado.

I would like to call this organization. ‘In different ways’ means that they represent information in differently (implicitly or explicitly. In Spanish we use a conversational implicature Q2 that adds the Means of Motion information. hence. It would be redundant to specify Means of Motion if it´s the usual way things are carried out. In general. How is this possible? The idea is that (16a) is pragmatically enriched with the same information that (16b) carries lexically. we may say that the Means of Motion information is lexically backgrounded in Spanish. Means of Motion) in English is richer and. The kid walked into his bedroom. The tendency in Spanish is to have lexical semantic structures that focus on results. Hence. we just say ‘John fue a su casa’. the division of labor among parts. as we will verify in this course. In sum. This means. however.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. In contrast. Luis (16) a. Manner in English. The content communicated is. they use these kind of verbs more often than we do in Spanish to describe the same visual situation. they determine a way of thinking and reasoning. a particular logic. languages tend to allow speakers to perform the same extralinguistic functions. they tend -to certain extent. Linguistic systems differ themselves in the functional weight put by design on their different allow speakers to perform the same extra-linguistic actions. specifying information about Activities. more generally. it’s implicit and requires the use of categories with prototypical effects.reflects a particular organization. roughly the same in (16a) and (16b). English is plainly explicit about Manner from the lexicon (lexical semantics of verbs) whereas it offers a syntactic construction to express result (a construction that doesn`t exist in Spanish because it doesn`t need a balancing effect). however. El niño entró a su dormitorio. for example). otherwise. ‘John walked home’) whereas in Spanish they are possible if Means of Motion is the focus. We have seen that English and Spanish talk about the spatial event differently. which means that is not typically specified. they generate telic verbs -like ‘entrar’ or ‘salir’. if you like a process oriented metaphor. Harry coughed himself into insensibility. typically. The effect is salient (focal) in this construction as well as Manner is when using the Spanish Gerund Construction to express Manner. a particular logic. The premises also include one that directs us to background knowledge and typicality: people usually walk into their bedrooms. the Spanish lexicon is not so subtle as its English counterpart in codifying Means of Motion information or. Fred watered the plants flat. English speakers are required to express Means of Motion to get a colloquial version of ‘entrar’ (‘enter’ is a non-colloquial latinate). However. for example. each system made their speakers pay attention to different portion of an event: result in Spanish. even after considering the balancing effect. some languages may allow results that aren`t possible in another. In Spanish. b. This is so because each system balance itself in such a way that.that denote Events. In a nutshell. (16) c John wiped the table clean. it is lexically foregrounded in English. Indeed. the foregrounded and salient information (‘Juan caminó a/hasta su casa’). This is only a tendency toward balancing the overall system. Manner information tends to be inferred. The distribution of information weight over different parts of the system -or. the set of verbs that describe Activities (in particular. that is. they may reach that goal in different ways and to different degrees. In this sense. if languages govern attention. the contribution that is not made by the lexicon is made by pragmatics. However. it remains vague. Q2 order me to say the minimum. it’s frequent and colloquial to describe motion events with a closed Path with sentences that include Means of Motion verbs ‘John walked to his house’. 29 . In contrast. The pond froze solid.

30 . Zhangsan ku xing le Lisi. he usually get out from home by walking. Estudiante-PL (moverse) en círculos ZHE cancha correr. Zhangsan llorar despertar LE Lisi. Chinese in the middle between Spanish and English (1) Haizi ba chuanghu da po le. Luis (16) d. Zhangsan ku xing le. „El viejo Zahng entró corriendo al patio‟ Another fact that support the idea of a Spanish Lexicon prone to static representations whereas the English one is prone to Activities: Deverbal nouns and denominal verbs. English also has depictive predication: (18) Mary brought the kid back home exhausted. Viejo-Zhang correr entrar LE patio.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. Zhangsan llorar despertar LE. „El viento hizo caer un árbol grande volando‟. „Los estudiantes corrían en círculos en el cancha de deportes‟. (17) Los niños llegaron a casa cansados/ volvieron de la excursión felices. „ Se despertó de tanto llorar. Mifeng fei j jin le houyuan. b. Abeja(s) volar entrar LE patio „Las abejas entraron volando al patio‟ Lao-Zhang pao jin le houyuan. Pedro salió de su casa corriendo. It’s the way he did it that is the salient and informative piece of assertion. We do have though Secondary Predicate Construction. Niño BA ventana golpear romper LE. So the absence of the Resultative Construction in Spanish can`t be attributed to the lack of the template. El niño rompió la ventana. Feng chui dao le da shu. The thesis is that it`s easier (in the sense of morphosyntactic simplicity= zero derivation) to form a noun (static representation) from a verb (dynamic representation) in Spanish and it’s easier to form a verb from a noun in English. it`s a semantic fact. We don`t have resultative in Spanish. „Lisi se despertó POR el llanto de Zhangsan‟ Xuesheng-men rao zhe caochang pao. Viento volar caer-(hacia) abajo LE grande árbol. It wasn’t expected.

clothe. Adjective A very cutting remark N V Spanish Cárcel encarcelar Botella embotellar Bolsa embolsar Enligsh (32) The cowboy corralled the horses yesterday. Box aluminum. El comer …. brick. English Smoke Poss-ing Ernie’s smoking cigars bothers his mother. The clerk boxed my toys before I could say anything. (31) I buttered my toast. board. blanket. Acc-ing Ernie smoking cigars bothered his mother. blindfold. Present Participle The boy cutting the flowers b. carpet. PRO-ing Smoking cigars is fun. caulk. (#chromium). cloud. arm. arch. . 31 . chrome. coat. The hunter trapped the fox we had been looking for. bar. cloak. bait. butter. bandage. SOME OF THE USES OF -ing a. begrime. color. The police jailed the burglars. Ing-of Ernie’s smoking of the cigar bothered his mother. Luis V N Spanish Caminar el caminar… el lento caminar del cosechador … El salir. (30) Mary wallpapered her bedroom. bread.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. asphalt. (33) You have to stamp that envelop.

in reality. it takes place in a little relevant domain. corral. you just have heard of them. ‘Hundir’ es un evento causativo que entraña un Agente que hace algo y esta acción inespecífica causa un cambio de lugar y. etc. Third. ‘achicar’. a reality that we call culture. This is what we are going to address through Verbal Actions later on. my personal position on that is that there is very little room for the non-linguistic thinking and. Thus. diaper. Language creates its own reality. Now. ‘preocupar’. further. not the thinking in general. de estado en un Paciente (‘el barco’). etc. dot. because most of the information we have is multimodal and it involves linguistic coding of some sort. ‘descomponer’. es decir. 32 . the Roman Empire. (24) El submarino hundió un barco. each language may have a different kind of logic. bottle.) as artists do. a particular selection of elements speakers should pay attention to in the extralinguistic world. por lo tanto. ‘aburrir’. una Realización puesto que es posible decir ‘El frío congeló el agua en una hora’. a different way of thinking (organizing representations) on this domain. cellar. Second. ditch. once you have language. which may not involve language at all. La representación de eventos en la diátesis causativa La morfosintaxis de la construcción de representaciones de eventos en español e inglés tiene otra diferencia fundamental relacionable con el procedimiento usado en las respectivas construcciones compensatorias arriba descritas. that is. language is comparably much more precise. cage. The hypothesis of the class is that in every domain that we can contrast. ‘enojar’. You lack any empirical access to those events whatsoever. It narrows down the interpretative possibilities from many to one. kinetic. (23) El frío congeló el agua del balde. etc. (25) El agua se congeló. They allow for different interpretations. 2010) has been maintaining that language determine the thinking for the speaking process. crate. However. ditch. El caso típico es el de los verbos causativos de cambio de estado como ‘derretir’. crown. forest. the genes. flag. Se trata también de una Realización causativa ya que el verbo implica un cambio de estado final al término de un proceso durativo (‘El submarino hundió un barco en dos minutos’). language allows us to get free from the real world but even from images: I don´t need to imagining a running event in its full-fledge richness in order to process the word (and its meaning of course). the moon and the solar system. coop. drug. ‘Congelar’ en (23) refiere un evento causativo y. Is there any thinking process that lack linguistic presence? Apparently. It`s very simple. yes. Now. First. most of the information we have has been obtained thorough linguistic means. por lo tanto. thinking with words is different from thinking with images. Think about the things you believe you know about: our independence process. for you they are really just narratives. it has been pondered that empowering effect of language on our intellectual capabilities comes essentially from the fact that it allows to free from the real world of objects (I don`t need to have the River Plate on my current visual field to talk about it). ‘asustar’. images – even visual ones. eventos que contienen subeventos gramaticalizados. además. se trata de una estructura bi-eventiva donde el primer subevento involucra un Agente (el frío) que causa un cambio de estado en un Paciente (el agua). Slobin (1994. bank. ‘cocinar’. fence. This is absolutely true and crucially relevant. it’s made just of linguistic objects. archive. since ancient philosophy. ‘hundir’. case. can. bench. que ‘el agua estuvo congelándose durante toda esa hora’.are extremely ambiguous and vague. it takes the primacy in the comprehension process. 2006. Luis cork. esto implica. box. ‘disgustar’. El español muestra una tendencia clara a codificar eventos complejos en el significado verbal. bed. gas. frame. curtain. ‘agrandar’. Se trata de un Evento. ‘congelar’. bag. fuel. ‘podrir’. flour. y verbos psicológicos como ‘molestar’. This can’t be foregrounded enough. etc.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. the business of our vice-president. We can think through images (visual but also tactile. el subevento consistente en un cambio de estado. en particular. but there is even more to the significance of language in human experience. En español el morfema ‘se’ es aplicado a ambos verbos y tiene como efecto semántico el recorte de una representación bi-eventiva y causal que queda reducida a un solo evento.

es decir. Inversamente. The submarine sank the ship. es decir. El español. Existe un paralelismo entre esta adición de material semántico mediante procedimientos sintácticos y el procedimiento -ya descrito. La oración en (25) denota un Evento. El español parte de un verbo con una morfología simple (raíz verbal+flexión temporal) que denota una semántica compleja –en particular. El léxico inglés parte de una semántica simple que se complejiza por medios sintácticos.Análsisis Contrastivo 2015 Notas Unidad 1 París. La forma morfológicamente más simple es raíz+flexión temporal y denota la semántica más simple. La construcción de representaciones de eventos es composicional. que tiene como término un cambio de estado sufrido por un Paciente (el agua) luego de un proceso durativo (‘el agua se congeló en diez minutos’ entraña que estuvo diez minutos congelándose. un proceso sintáctico que constituye una forma más compleja. The cold weather froze the water in the bucket. en particular una Realización. una parte del evento ya introducido por el verbo principal. el léxico nos entrega un todo complejo que la derivación morfológica descompone en formas más simples. un único subevento. The water in the bucket froze. The ship sank. (26) denota un Evento donde un Paciente cambia de estado luego de un proceso (‘un barco se hundió en cinco minutos’) previo a alcanzar ese punto télico de culminación. Luis (26) Un barco se hundió. es decir. b. es des-composicional o substractiva. El inglés sigue un camino opuesto como lo muestra el contraste entre (27a) y (27b) con (28a) y (29b). Por su parte. un Evento complejo constituido de dos subeventos causalmente relacionados– y luego mediante reglas léxicas se accede a una morfología más compleja (raíz verbal+se+flexión temporal) que denota un evento más simple. La semántica más compleja (bieventiva y causal) es denotada mediante un proceso de transitivización de los verbos en (27b) y (28b). no suma un (sub)evento.subyacente a CR. (27) a. La construcción resultativa del inglés puede interpretarse como la composición de un evento mayor mediante la sintaxis a partir de una Actividad. ‘entrar’) alude a todo el evento referido en (2) mientras que el gerundio ‘corriendo’ especifica una parte de ese evento. Es decir. la que consiste en un único evento de cambio de estado como en (27a) y (28a). respectivamente. b. El español. por el contrario. En síntesis. tanto en SGI como en la diátesis causativa muestra que el punto de partida léxico es un todo semántico que luego descompone con la ayuda de procedimientos morfosintácticos. CGI en español consiste en la explicitación de una Actividad implícitamente ya contenida en el todo. (28) a. la forma más simple en español se asocia con la semántica más compleja a la que descompone mediante una derivación morfológica. el verbo principal (por ejemplo. 33 .