Further Specification Analysis of the Unique Path Constraint Effect: From the Perspective of Spatial Extension

Masaki Yasuhara


It has been argued that a single clause may not include a change of state expression and a change of location expression (e.g., *Sam kicked Bill black and blue out of the room.). This co-occurrence restriction is known as the Unique Path Constraint effect. The purpose of this paper is to show that this constraint comes from the nature of event structure ― assuming that an event structure can be composed of at most two internal events, a single event may not include more than one distinct change. I argue that apparent counterexamples (e.g., John broke the egg into the bowl.), which are presented in the literature, can also be explained under the event-based analysis provided in this paper. The co-occurrence of a change of state expression and a change of location expression in a single clause is possible when they are in a further specification relation. In such a case, the two expressions refer to different aspects of a single unified change, so they can be licitly associated with a single subevent. In this paper, I show that a further specification relation is satisfied when an event that is expressed by a change of state expression involves spatial extension, and the spatial extension is specified by a change of location expression. This paper provides empirical evidence for the event-based analysis of the Unique Path Constraint effect, and consequently provides empirical support for the idea that human language is devised as sensitive to event structure.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/elr.v2n2p141


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English Linguistics Research
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