The syntax of argument structure: Evidence from Italian complex predicates

Raffaella Folli, Heidi Harley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This paper provides an analysis of Italian complex predicates formed by combining a feminine nominalization in-ata and one of three light verbs: fare 'make', dare 'give' and prendere 'take'. We show that the constraints governing the choice of light verb follow from a syntactic approach to argument structure, and that several interpretive differences between complex and simplex predicates formed from the same verb root can be accounted for in a compositional, bottom-up approach. These differences include variation in creation vs. affected interpretations of Theme objects, implications concerning the size of the event described, the (un)availability of a passive alternant, and the agentivity or lack thereof of the subject argument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-125
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Linguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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