The semantics of underived event nouns in French

Abstract : This paper deals with underived nouns that denote events in French (e.g. crime ‘crime’, procès ‘trial’, séisme ‘earthquake’). We compare the properties of these nouns with those of deverbal nominalizations, especially as regards argument structure and lexical aspect. The heterogeneity and specificities of underived event nouns (UENs) are brought out. First, the event denotation for UENs can have various semantic origins and be derived metaphorically or metonymically from a non-event meaning. Second, some UENs are completely autonomous event nouns and never combine with participant-denoting complements, whereas others are role assignors and determine the semantics of their prepositional complements. Despite those specificities, UENs share many properties with deverbal event nouns, most notably regarding lexical aspect. UENs can denote durative or punctual, telic or atelic, foreseen or unforeseen events. We argue that lexical aspect is not primarily a property of verbs. It is a matter of semantic rather than grammatical categories, and fundamentally depends upon the denotation of eventualities.
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Journal articles
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01754874
Contributor : Delphine Tribout <>
Submitted on : Friday, March 30, 2018 - 11:29:43 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - 3:46:02 PM

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Richard Huyghe, Lucie Barque, Pauline Haas, Delphine Tribout. The semantics of underived event nouns in French. Italian Journal of Linguistics / Rivista di linguistica, Pacini Editore S.p.A, 2017, 29 (1), pp.121-146. ⟨10.26346/1120-2726-105⟩. ⟨halshs-01754874⟩

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