Lexicalized Meaning and Manner/Result Complementarity

  • Beth Levin
  • Malka Rappaport Hovav
Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP, volume 93)


We investigate the English verbs climb and cut, cited as counterexamples to manner/result complementarity: the proposal that verbs lexicalize either manner or result meaning components, but not both. Once their lexicalized meaning is identified and distinguished from contextually determined elements of meaning, cut and climb conform to manner/result complementarity. We show that cut is basically a result verb, with a prototypical manner often inferred. However, as it lexicalizes a result prototypically brought about in a certain manner, some uses simply lexicalize this manner. Crucially, in manner uses, the result component drops out, consistent with manner/result complementarity. In contrast, climb is essentially a manner verb. Once its lexicalized manner is accurately identified and distinguished from meaning contributed by context, the upward direction associated with many uses can be shown to arise from inference. However, climb has some restricted uses which lexicalize a result. Importantly, on these uses, the manner component is lost. With both verbs, then, the manner-only and result-only uses instantiate different, though related, senses of the relevant verb, with each sense conforming to manner/result complementarity.


Reference Object Result Verb Direct Object Upward Direction Manner Component 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank audiences at Brown University, Humboldt University, the University of Alicante, the Conference on Concept Types and Frames, and the twenty-first Annual Conference of IATL for stimulating questions and discussion. We also are grateful to two reviewers for their comments on an earlier version of the paper. This work was supported by ISF grant 370/07 to Malka Rappaport Hovav.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of Linguistics, Faculty of HumanitiesThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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