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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • John Beavers
  • Michael Everdell
  • Kyle Jerro
  • Henri Kauhanen
  • 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.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number38
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of the Linguistic Society of America
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2017