Download PDFOpen PDF in browser

Alternate Categorization: a Formal-Conceptual Semantics of Reciprocal Alternations

EasyChair Preprint no. 9402

6 pagesDate: December 1, 2022


The reciprocal alternation involves collective predicates (1a) and/or ‘with’ forms (1b) that alternate with binary predicates: transitive verbs (1c) and verbs with prepositional complements (1d).

(1) a. A&B fought/talked. b. A fought/talked with B. c. A fought B. d. A talked to B.

There is currently no general account of the intricate semantic relations between forms as in (1). We present a formal model of these semantic relations, and examine experimental data that allow us to evaluate it. We extend the prototype model of Kruitwagen et al. (2021) for (1a) into a general formal semantic threshold-based model. The model is tested against old data, and new data from five different verbs with ‘with’ (1b) and other binary forms (1c-d), as well as ordering variations in collectives (e.g. (1a) vs. "B&A fought/talked"). The results show strong support for our proposed model over alternatives. In this model, a verbal root has a conceptual core (CC) which specifies the semantic attributes of the different verbal forms, where the weights of those attributes vary between alternations. This accounts for (the lack of) entailments between alternates as in (1) without compromising the formal semantic coherence of the theory.

Keyphrases: categorization, concepts, lexical semantics of verbs, reciprocal verbs, root, threshold

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Imke Kruitwagen and James A. Hampton and Yoad Winter and Joost Zwarts},
  title = {Alternate Categorization: a Formal-Conceptual Semantics of Reciprocal Alternations},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 9402},

  year = {EasyChair, 2022}}
Download PDFOpen PDF in browser