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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 4, 2010

Agentivity and stativity in experiencer verbs: Implications for a typology of verb classes

Elisabeth Verhoeven
From the journal


Experiencer-object verbs are known to deviate from the prototype of transitive verbs. Previous studies have shown that a subset of these verbs is stative and non-agentive and argue that this semantic peculiarity accounts for particular non-canonical syntactic properties. This article shows that the stativity/non-agentivity of experiencer verbs is subject to typological variation. The empirical evidence comes from an experimental study on speaker's intuitions, which shows that some experiencer-object verbs in German and Modern Greek differ from canonical transitive verbs in agentivity and stativity, while experiencer-object verbs in Turkish, Yucatec Maya, and Chinese display the semanto-syntactic properties of canonical transitive verbs.

Correspondence address: Fachbereich 10, Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft, Universität Bremen, Postfach 33 04 40, 28334 Bremen, Germany; e-mail:

Received: 2009-06-02
Revised: 2010-04-24
Published Online: 2010-11-04
Published in Print: 2010-October

©Walter de Gruyter

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