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Kimian states and the grammar of predicative adjectives
Citation Information: Theoretical Linguistics. Volume 31, Issue 3, Pages 331–347, ISSN (Online) 1613-4060, ISSN (Print) 0301-4428, DOI: 10.1515/thli.2005.31.3.331, November 2005
- Published Online:
Maienborn (this volume) presents a proposal on how to deal with stative expressions which makes the following claims:
(i) There are two types of stative expressions, those denoting Davidsonian states (sit, stand, sleep), which constitute a subtype of Davidsonian eventualities, and Kimian states (know, hate, resemble, and all expressions introduced by the copula), which are of a different ontological sort. This distinction is not tied to a distinction between stage-level and individual-level predicates.
(ii) Expressions introducing Davidsonian states behave like eventdenoting expressions and are different from expressions introducing Kimian states with respect to a number of linguistic phenomena (embedding under perception verbs, modification by locative, manner, and instrumental adverbials, interpretation of certain degree modifiers). Kimian states can be temporally modified, anaphorically referred to, and in German they can enter the dabei- construction.
(iii) While Davidsonian eventualities are spatio-temporal entities, Kimian states have a more abstract nature. In contrast to the more concrete ontological sort of eventualities, they don’t have a spatial dimension, and in contrast to the more abstract ontological sort of facts, they have a temporal dimension. Maienborn conceives of Kimian states as ‘‘abstract objects for the exemplification of a property P at a holder x and a time t.’’
(iv) The grammatical category of verbs is not confined to a particular sort of referential argument. While verbs are either Davidsonian or Kimian predicates, lexical predicates that depend on a copula don’t make ontological choices on their own. It is always the copula that introduces a Kimian state argument.
In the following section I mainly want to comment on (iii) and (iv). In doing that, I will try to refine some ideas about the ontological nature of Kimian states and I will challenge the assumption that it is the copula which introduces the state argument.