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Cognitive Linguistics

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Volume 18, Issue 2 (Sep 2007)


Cut and break verbs in Sranan

James Essegbey
  • Corresponding author
  • University of Florida, USA.
  • Email:
Published Online: 2007-09-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/COG.2007.011


Guerssel et al. (1985) propose that crosslinguistically, separation verbs group into cut verbs and break verbs based on their meaning. This meaning supposedly affects the constructions in which the verbs occur, e.g., only break verbs are expected to participate in the causative/inchoative alternation. In Sranan, a verb that superficially looks like ‘cut’ in English is actually a break verb. Also, not only break verbs participate in the causative/inchoative alternation, as expected, but cut verbs do also. I argue that the intransitive use of cut verbs does not yield a passive construction as proposed by some; instead, it is inchoative.

Keywords: cut and break; separation events; verb semantics; causative/inchoative alternation; lexicalization; Sranan

About the article

* Department of African and Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Florida, 458 Grinter Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611-5565, USA.

Received: 2004-11-02

Revised: 2006-07-07

Published Online: 2007-09-25

Published in Print: 2007-09-19

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/COG.2007.011. Export Citation

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Friederike Lüpke
Cognitive Linguistics, 2007, Volume 18, Number 2

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