Clear from and clear of: the asymmetric syntax of detaching

Zehavit Segal*, Idan Landau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Verbs of detaching (clear, wipe, squeeze, etc.) may occur in two frames in Hebrew. In the Change of Location (COL) frame, the stuff is a direct object and the location is a locative source PP. In the Change of State (COS) frame, the location is a direct object and the stuff is an oblique PP. We demonstrate that this PP is headed by a null preposition, which is responsible for a cluster of peculiar syntactic effects. COL and COS in the two frames instantiate scalar changes. Alternating verbs do not lexicalize any scalar change; nonalternating verbs lexicalize either COL (e.g., remove) or COS (e.g., relieve), failing to occur in the opposite frame due to a constraint against the encoding of multiple scalar changes per event. The advantages of this analysis are critically compared against previous accounts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-278
Number of pages56
JournalLinguistic Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


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