Case and the Event Structure of Nominalizations

Luis López
  • Linguistic Inquiry, January 2018, The MIT Press
  • DOI: 10.1162/ling_a_00267

Case and the event structure of nominalizations

What is it about?

Why is it that when we say 'John's attack', John is the attacker and not the attacked one while when we say "John's capture' John is the captured one? As it turns out, this difference is very general extending to classes of nouns and not exclusive of English. As is shown in this article, the difference between 'attack' and 'capture' is not random but depends on the structure of the event that the noun denotes. Additionally, it is shown that this has consequences for the distribution of morphological case within the noun.

Why is it important?

This paper uncovers a connection between the morphosyntactic structure of a nominalization and its semantic composition that had never been noticed. In particular, it had never been argued that the semantic structure of a nominalization could play a role on the distribution of morphological case.


Luis López
University of Illinois Chicago

I hope this paper will lead to more research on the connection between semantic structure and morphosyntactic structure

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The following have contributed to this page: Luis López