UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 10 (1998)



Object Experiencer verbs are assumed to be a class apart, both semantically (i.e. they are specified as "psych", or contain an "experiencer" slot in their thematic grid) and syntactically (they differ syntactically from standard transitives, as argued by Belletti and Rizzi 1988). In this paper I argue against both claims. I show that any position can be interpreted as an experiencer, and that sometimes the same position alternates between an experiencer interpretation and that of a theme and a locative. Showing that the special syntactic behaviour of ObjExp verbs arises only on their stative reading, I suggest that the stative reading is headed by a lexical V head (rather than functional v). ObjExp verbs thus shed light on some central questions in the domain of the syntax-lexicon interface: what lexical properties are syntactically relevant, how semantic changes are syntactically realised, what kinds of VPs exist in the language, etc.

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