Linking as constraints on word classes in a hierarchical lexicon
Davis, Anthony R.
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We propose an account of linking patterns that does away with intermediary mechanisms such as thematic or actor/undergoer hierarchies, instead, constraints on word classes, defined by both syntactic and semantic criteria, encode generalizations between semantic roles and syntactic arguments, We show that the generalizations a linking theory needs to capture can be modeled via the same mechanisms as other lexical generalizations, using conditions specified within the hierarchy of word classes. Each condition provides a partial specification of the mapping between semantic roles and syntactic arguments. We argue that this constraint-based. verb-class-based view of linking offers several empirical advantages: partial regularities and exceptions are easily accommodated, fine-grained semantic distinctions relevant to linking are countenanced, and cross-cutting similarities between semantic and syntactic verb classes are economically captured.