Events and Dispositions

  • Melanie Bervoets
Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP, volume 102)


Future-directed opining verbs like offer, recommend, and insist are used to describe events in which a subject brings an opinion about a future-directed possibility into the common ground. These uses correspond to predicates that are [+telic] and [+stages], categorizing them as eventive accomplishments (within systems of verbal classification like that of Vendler (Philos Rev LXVI:143–160, 1957)). However, they are also found in stative-looking [-telic] contexts. Without positing some kind of systematic ambiguity, there are two major strategies here. The first is to take the accomplishment-like guises to be basic, deriving the stative-like manifestations by some other means, such as the presence of a dispositional operator. The second is to assume that the verbs are stative, and to posit the existence of an episodic-making operator whose presence would be responsible for their appearance in accomplishment-like predicates. To assess these two strategies, dubbed α and β, each can be evaluated against some additional characteristic features of the future-directed opining verbs, specifically compatibility with non-sentient subjects, the objectivity of their objects, and a requirement for attestation in all predicate types. Doing so establishes that the first strategy, α, is better able to accurately capture the use of the verbs in the full range of predicates, and is better motivated by independent means.


Aktionsart Habituality Dispositions Sentience Subjectivity and objectivity Propositional attitude verbs Speech reporting verbs Opinion verbs Attestation 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melanie Bervoets
    • 1
  1. 1.TorontoCanada

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