The Unaccusative-Unergative Dichotomy of Predicates. Is There an Unaccusative Mismatch in English?

Anna Dabrowska


The paper addresses the issue of the unaccusative-unergative dichotomy of predicates, providing a special analysis of the class status of the verb “to die” in English. First, the article opens with a view of unaccusativity in the light of the Lexicon-Syntax Interface. Further, the verb “to die” is tested against the six syntactic unaccusativity diagnostics valid for English. The results obtain reveal the fact that the first three diagnostics (auxiliary selection, causative alternation and resultative constructions) do not work for the verb “to die”, while the last three diagnostics (adjectival participle, there-insertion, locative inversion) appear to have been satisfied. This would lead us to a conclusion that the verb “to die” should be considered as a real example of an Unaccusative Mismatch (Levin, 1986).

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