Two types of states: A cross-linguistic study of change-of-state verb roots

John Beavers, Michael Everdell, Kyle Jerro, Henri Kauhanen, Andrew Koontz-Garboden, Elise LeBovidge, Stephen Nichols


Event structural theories decompose verb meanings into an event template and idiosyncratic root. Many mainstream theories assume a bifurcation in the kinds of entailments contributed by roots and templates, in particular that lexical entailments of change of an individual in change-of-state verbs are only introduced by templates, not roots. We argue against such theories by comparing Levin's
(1993) non-deadjectival vs. deadjectival change-of-state verb roots (e.g. crack vs. red roots). A broad-scale typological study reveals that red-type roots tend to have simple (e.g. non-deverbal) stative forms, but crack-type roots do not. Semantic studies of Kakataibo and English show that terms built on crack-type roots always entail change, while terms based on red-type roots may not. We thus suggest that crack-type roots entail change-of-state, contra Bifurcation.


Lexical semantics; events; event structure; change-of-state; root; typology

Full Text:



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Donate to the Open-Access Fund of the LSA

Linguistic Society of America

Advancing the Scientific Study of Language

ISSN (online): 2473-8689

This publication is made available for free to readers and with no charge to authors thanks in part to your continuing LSA membership and your donations to the open access fund.