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In J. Herschenson, K. Zagona y E. Malln (eds.): Features and Interfaces.

Amsterdam, John Benjamins.

On the weight of light predicates*


Ignacio Bosque
Universidad Complutense, Madrid

1. Introduction
The grammatical properties of so-called 'light verbs' have proved to be
very relevant for our understanding of the syntax of complex predicates.
These verbs (as take in take a walk; make in make a promise or pay in pay
a visit) lack an argument structure. They exhibit tense and agreement
features and assign case to their DP complement, but they have a very
abstract meaning (close, in fact, to that of the verb do). Their DP complement is headed by a nominal (an event noun in most cases) which displays
its own argument structure. Many light verb structures have ordinary verb
counterparts (walk, promise, visit), but it is obvious that light verbs are
independent categories, since they are not taken from the lexicon as compounds.1
Abstract light verbs have also played an important role in recent
developments of phrase structure. Chomsky (1995) adopts Larson's
(1988) VP shell configuration and Hale & Kayer's (1993) layered
approach to internal arguments. For Chomsky (1995: 315), vP is a light
verb projection that encodes "the causative or agentive role of the external
argument". However, in subsequent work (Chomsky 1998) this light verb
projection does not seem to be related to lexical meaning anymore, and
turns out to play a role close to that of the agreement object projection in
previous versions of the theory. In this paper I will keep to the classical
meaning of the notion 'light verb'.
Most current references to the semantic content of light verbs
implicitly assume that it comes close to the meaning of an abstact verb of
action, such as do. In fact, the meaning of pay in pay attention is not
much different from that of make in make a promise or give in give a cry.
*

I would like to thank Claudia Borgonovo, Luis Sez and Javier Gutirrez-Rexach
for their comments on a previuos version of this paper. Needless to say, all errors are
my own.
1

Some basic references include Cattell (1984) for English; Vivs (1983) and Danlos
(1992) for French, and Alonso Ramos (1997, 1998) and Mendvil (1999) for Spanish. See
below for further references.

In this brief paper I will show that some apparently peculiar properties of
a number of Spanish verbs and nouns are explained if we propose that the
class of light categories is more extense than it is usually assumed to be.
This raises the problem of the lexical content of light verbs, that is, the
problem of whether or not these verbs are just the lexical support for
morphological features. I will point out a number of empirical advantages
that follow if we widen the alleged restricted class of light predicates.
Some of the properties that I will consider are related to configurational
structures (particularly, the double VP-internal complement); some other
involve lack of argument structure and the encoding of abstract aspectual
meanings. Those features will be shown to be defining properties of light
verbs, even if other parts of their lexical meaning make them appear as
more contentful categories.

2. 'Heavier' light verbs


The fact that wh- movement is improved with certain verbs and rejected
with others was repeatedly pointed out in the seventies and early eighties.
In Chomsky's words (1977: 114) "the conditions on the choice of the
matrix verb are obscure". Not much effort was devoted to the study of
those lexical choices at that time, beyond the occasional mention that "the
particular properties associated with the semantics of 'creation' verbs"
(Erteschik-Shir 1981: 152) play some role in the syntax of wh- extraction.
Notice that observations of this sort are correct, but hard to understand on
conceptual grounds: Why should a syntactic process based on formal
properties of a configurational structure (mostly categorial properties)
depend on a particular semantic class? We know by now that the intuition
was correct, but perhaps not properly formulated.
The following minimal pairs show a number on contrasts in whmovement sentences involving Spanish transitive verbs:
(1) a. El viaje a Pars que Juan {planeaba/criticaba}
'The trip to Paris that Juan was planning/criticizing'
b. El viaje que Juan {planeaba/*criticaba} a Pars
'The trip that John was {planning/criticizing} to Paris'
(2) a. La expedicin al Himalaya que {organiz/rechaz} nuestro equipo
'The expedition to the Himalayas that our team {organized/rejected}'
b. La expedicin que {organiz/*rechaz} nuestro equipo al Himala-

ya
'The expedition that our team {organized/rejected} to the
Himalayas'
(3) a. El atentado contra el presidente que {cometieron/analizaron}
'The attack against the president that they {committed/analyzed}'
b. El atentado que {cometieron/*analizaron} contra el presidente
'The attack that they {committed/analyzed} against the president'
(4) a. La campaa contra el ministro de agricultura que {emprendi/censur} la prensa
'The campaing against the Agriculture Minister that the press
{initiated/denounced}'
b. La campaa que {emprendi/*censur} la prensa contra el
ministro de agricultura
'The campaing that the press {initiated/denounced} against the
Agriculture Minister'
Contrasts similar to these have been pointed out for French by Danlos
(1992), Giry-Schneider (1987), La Fauci (1980) and Vivs (1984), and for
Spanish by Alonso Ramos (1998) and Mendvil (1999). In the (a)
sentences, the single VP complement of a transitive verb is extracted, and
both options are grammatical. In the (b) examples, a clear difference
shows up. The grammatical examples in these sentences are not instances
of extraction from DP (notice that the nominals here have exactly the same
definite determiners) but rather cases of verbs allowing for two VP
internal complements. This means that verbs such as planear, cometer,
organizar (but not, rechazar, detestar and analizar) may have a single
direct object, as in the (a) sentences, or may have two complements: a DP
and a PP. Obviously, this DP complement is extracted in the grammatical
(b) sentences. The ungrammatical (b) sentences in (1)-(4) simply show that
these other verbs have a direct object as their single complement. They
also show that no wh- extraction is possible out of definite DP complements, a familiar fact.
The verbs that allow for the grammatical structures in the (b) sentences above seem to be ordinary transitive verbs. I will argue that they are
not. They share four important grammatical properties with light verbs:
a) They display two syntactic structures. In fact, the double syntactic
structure that these verbs give rise to is responsible for the facts in (1)-(4).
This double structure is a standard property of light verbs. As it has been

pointed out in several analyses of light verbs (including Jackendoff 1974,


Cattell 1984, Danlos 1992 and many more), both the branching in (5a)
and in (5b) (with Spanish examples) are correct at some level of the
grammatical representation:
(5) a. [Dar] [un paseo por la playa]
'Take a walk to the beach'
b. [Dar un paseo] [por la playa]
The branching in (5a) shows that the PP complement is an argument of the
noun. (5b) shows that the PP is also a complement of the light verb
complex. The long debate on the specific ways in which these two
structures must be related is not essential to my concern in this paper (see
Mendvil 1999 for a detailed overview).2 Head to head incorporation is an
option in the case of light verbs taking bare noun complements, as in
hacer mencin ('mention') (see Masullo 1992, 1996), an analysis that is
not clearly available for full DP complements. Many authors have argued
for a process of reanalysis for pairs such as (5), but notice that the status
of reanalysis is not clear in the restrictive view of grammar associated
with the minimalist program. The relationship between these structures
takes place in the lexicon for Jackendoff (1974), Cattell (1984), DiSciullo
& Rosen (1990) and others. The process that provides the light verb with
the argument structure of the noun is syntactic for Grimshaw & Mester
(1988). N-to-V incorporation at LF seems to be another option, but the
debate is not settled. In fact, the grammatical relation between (5a) and
(5b) would not take place in the lexicon if Chomsky (1993: fn. 18) is right
in considering that Hale & Keyser's (1993) lexical relational structures
may belong to the overt syntax.
Whatever analysis of this alternance turns out to be the right one, the
relevant fact here is that the alterance itself is a property of light verbs,
and also of the verbs that allow for either single or double VP complements in (1)-(4).3
2

Alternances of this sort were simply stipulated as lexical properties of some


predicates in the middle seventies, as in Bach & Horn (1976). 'Restructuring' was a
process subject to lexical properties by Chomsky (1977), Cinque (1980) and many others.
The rule would, then, apply to verbs such as make or find, but not to destroy.
3

The contrasts in (1)-(4) are instances of A' movement. Notice that A movement
procesess give rise to similar pairs, as expected:
(i)

El ataque {cometido/*analizado} contra el presidente


'The attack {committed/analyzed} against the president'

b) Light verbs do not seem to have an argument structure. Either they


borrow their complement's th-structure (as argued by Grimshaw & Mester
1988) or they lack one altogether. Apparently, this is not the case for the
verbs in (1)-(4). They seem to have an external argument of their own: it
is obvious that I can plan someone else's trip, but I cannot take someone
else's walk. But notice that even if, in other contexts, these verbs have
their own external argument, they share their complement's when they act
as light verbs. The crucial fact is this: the presence of different external
arguments in the verb and the noun disallows the double VP complement
structure altogether. Consider (1b) again. Suppose that Mara is Juan's
wife and that she is making plans for Juan's trip to Paris. Then, we can
say (6a), but not (6b):
(6) a. El viaje de Juan a Pars que Mara planeaba
'The trip of J. to Paris that M. was planning'
b. *El viaje de Juan que Mara planeaba a Pars
'The trip of J. that M. was planning to Paris'
This implies that planear is a light verb in (6b), but not in (6a). In fact,
most English light verbs (take, make, pay...) have non-light counterparts
in other contexts.
c) Most analyses coincide in the fact that light verbs lack external arguments, that is, John is the external argument of walk in John took a walk
to the beach. The noun walk is not selected by take; rather, the opposite
seems to be the truth: walk lexically selects for take, and other nouns take
different choices in light verb structures.4
The verbs that expand the class of light predicates in (1)-(4) are to a
certain extent lexically selected by their complements, just as light verbs
are. This specific lexical relation has a rubric in standard lexicography:
these are cases of so called collocations, a concept that some experts on
the lexicon have (regrettably) defined on statistical basis rather than on
semantic grounds. Notorious exceptions include Mel'uk (1984-1992),
Pustejovsky (1995) and a few others. Any theory of the lexicon has to
4
Some light verbs seem to be volitional (pay a visit), while others are not necessarily
so (take a chance). It is not clear whether or not this difference follows from the lexical
properties of the embedded noun. Notice that this is somehow reminiscent of the
controversy on whether or not all root modals theta mark their subject. See Picallo (1990)
and Boskovic (1994, 1997) for discussion.

account for the fact that different verbs are chosen by different nouns in
these cases: we choose the verb cometer ('commit') for different types of
crimes and offences, much in the way in which we choose utter for cry,
pay for visit or attention; make for call or promise, and so on. We may
thus think of cometer as the specific verbal form that the lexicon gives us
to fill an aspectual content close to "achieve", or simply "do" when we
talk of crimes. Pustejovsky's (1995) telic qualia are an option to formulate
that specific relationship in the lexicon.5 Mel'uk's lexical functions are
another one, as pointed out by Alonso Ramos (1997, 1998). Other
frameworks have different names for this privileged lexical relation.
Whatever our choice is among those lexical frameworks (which coincide,
to a great extent, in the basic nature of the concepts involved), it seems
that this is the specific place to which light verbs, whether strictly light or
somehow heavier, belong in a theory of lexical relations.6
In a way similar to that in which the noun call is able to select for make,
pay or give as light predicates in English, the noun campaa is able to
select for emprender in (4c) in Spanish, and admiracin ('admiration') is
able to select for verbs such as despertar ('awaken', 'be born in'), surgir
('arouse') and sentir ('feel'), as "heavier" light predicates. These verbs
provide specific lexical forms for an abstract aspectual concept, namely
the achievement process that gives rise to the coming into existence of the
notions "admiration" and "campaign".7 This is an interesting point of
coincidence between 'heavier light verbs' and 'standard light verbs', since
5

It is important to emphasize that these are not idioms. Cinque's (1980: 54) term
"semi-idiomatic forms" was a good intuition at that time, since it suggests some kind of
restricted lexical relation.
6

The relevance of lexically selected telic predicates (as Pustejovsky's 1995 conceives
them) has wider implications in other areas of the grammar. In Bosque (1999: 264) I
suggest an explanation for the optionality of the PP complement in (ia), but not in (ib):
(i)

a.
b.

Un problema difcil (de resolver)


'A difficult problem (to solve)'
Un distancia difcil *(de calcular)
'A difficult distance (to calculate)'

The verb sentir ('feel') does not seem to be strictly aspectual. But notice that in the
interpretation intended here it comes close to an inceptive verb, since it provides a lexical
shape for the concept "coming into existence" when applied to the concept of
'admiration'. In fact, Mel'uk's (1984, 1992) theory of 'lexical functions' (and much
subsequent work on that approach to the lexicon) assumes this extented view of lexical
aspect.

the latter usually convert atelic predicates ('walk', 'move') into telic ones
('take a walk', 'take a move'). Since this property makes the verbs in (1)(4) (and others like them) belong to the extended grammatical class of
light verbs, the alternance pointed out for light predicates becomes
available for them, as expected. Other verbs, such as those which suggest
the disappearance of the state of affairs being denoted, simply do not
accept it:
(7) a. La admiracin por los intelectuales que se haba {despertado/
agotado} en l
'The admiration for intelectuals that was {born/exhausted} in him'
b. La admiracin que se haba {despertado/*agotado} en l por los
intelectuales
'The admiration that was {born/exhausted} in him for intelectuals'
d) The verbs we have been considering are indirectly "creation verbs",
just as light verbs are. Nevertheless, I believe that this is not a proper
grammatical class on which wh- movement depends, but rather a rough
way of saying that the meaning of light predicates is aspectually determined: as the verb do does, these other verbs denote in various ways the
coming into existence of an event or a state of affairs. The concept of
"creation verbs" is not responsible for the alternances in (1)-(4). Rather, a
somehow wider notion of light verb is able to account for these
phenomena without changing or disturbing the basically syntactic nature
of wh- movement. Consider the pair iniciar/terminar ('initiate/finish'),
two transitive verbs. We find a clear difference between them in whextraction structures:
(8) a. El asalto que el ejrcito inici contra la fortaleza
'The assault that the army initiated against the fortress'
b. *El asalto que el ejrcito termin contra la fortaleza
'The assault that the army finished against the fortress'
Although one would be tempted to say that the contrast in (8) is due to the
fact that iniciar is a "creation verb" and terminar is not, it seems more
appropriate so say that iniciar is a standard representative of aspectually
inceptive verbs. It is not an exact equivalent of do, just like planear
('plan'), emprender ('undertake') or organizar ('organize') are not either,
but semantic equivalence is not required by the grammar in order to
categorize these verbs as (heavier) light predicates. Unquestionably, there
are more semantic differences among these lexical choices than one finds

between give a call and make a call; drop a curtsy and make a curtsy or
pay a visit and make a visit. But from the semantic point of view, the very
concept of 'light predicate' does not stand on a required synonymy but on
the lexical choice by the noun based on aspectual (i.e. Aktionsart)
patterns.8

3. 'Lighter' light verbs


Just as there are 'heavier' light verbs, we also find 'ligther' light verbs.
The natural candidates are copulative verbs. In fact, the double option in
(5) extends to copulative sentences, a relation that Cattell (1984: 20) traces
back to Poutsma. As for Spanish, Sez (1993) shows that the grammar
needs the two branching structures suggested in (9) to account for
different syntactic processes:
(9) a. [Estoy] [contento de verte]
'I am happy to see you'
b. [Estoy contento] [de verte]
8

The double VP structure requires strong prepositions in most cases: contra


('against'), hacia ('towards') and por ('for'), and others. Consider the following
asymmetry:
(i)

a.
b.

(ii)

a.
b.

El ejrcito inici [el asalto contra la fortaleza]


'The army initiated the assault against the fortress'
El ejrcito [inici el asalto] contra la fortaleza
El ejrcito inici [el asalto a la fortaleza]
'The army initiated the assault [lit. to] the fortress'
*El ejrcito [inici el asalto] a la fortaleza

Since (iib) is unavailable, and asalto cannot be wh- extracted in (iia), being the head of a
DP, the assymmetries in (iii) naturally follow:
(iii)

a.
b.

El asalto {a/contra} la fortaleza que inici el ejrcito


'The assault against the fortress that the army initiated'
El asalto que inici el ejrcito {contra/*a} la fortaleza
'The assault that the army initiated against the fortress'

The parsing in (iib) is excluded, but remember that the preposition a accepts the
alternance in (1b) and (2b). The difference lies on the fact that a is a strong (contentful)
preposition in (1b) and (2b), but an empty (Case marker) preposition in (ii) and (iii), since
asaltar ('attack', 'assail') is a transitive verb.

The parsing in (9a) is straightforward, since adjetives head maximal


projections. The parsing in (9b) is necessary, as Sez (1993) argues, to
account for wh- movement of the adjective leaving behind the complement, as in (10a), and for the cliticization of the adjetival head by lo,
leaving aside its complement, as in (10b):
(10) a. Qu contento estoy de verte!
'Hoy happy I am to see you'
b. Estoy contento de verte, pero no lo estoy de que te vayas tan
pronto
'I am happy to see you, but (I am) not that you are leaving so
soon'
The connection that light verbs maintain with copulative verbs does not
stop in this double parsing, but it extends to lexical relations, as expected.
In Spanish copulative sentences it is the lexical properties of the predicate
in fact, aspectual properties, as suggested by Lujn (1981) and others
that lexically select for the auxiliaries ser or estar. That is, copular verbs
are light verbs because a) they share the two syntactic structures
mentioned above with the members of that class, b) they lack an argument
structure, and c) they are lexically selected by their adjectival complement
on aspectual grounds. Assuming that the small clause analysis of
copulative sentences is basically correct (see Couquaux 1981, Stowell
1981 and Moro 1996, among others), a natural question is whether or not
this analysis can be extended to other classes of light verbs ('regular' light
verbs and 'heavier' light verbs). The answer is most likely to be positive,
but the necessary argumentation falls beyond the scope of this paper.

4. Light nouns
The distinction betwen c-(ategorial) selection and s-(emantic) selection
(Pesetsky 1982, Chomksy 1986) has proved to be of great importance in
theoretical grammar. Heads c-select for their complements, or more
exactly they select their complement's head in a local configurational
relation. It is well-known that s-selection does not respect these local
requirements strictly. Thus, predicates taking DP complements s-select for
the NP lower head (as in read the book or through the forest). S-selection
implies reduction of a set of entities to a subset determined by the needs or
requirements of the main predicate. Obviously, this relation holds between

read and book, or through and forest. Any potential modifier of these
nouns let's say, an adjective would maintain the basic semantic relation
existing between the selecting predicate and the selected noun. Lexical
projections interfere in s-selection of a lower noun by a higher predicate,
but many (arguably functional) projections do not interfere. These include
quantificational phrases in pseudo-partitive structures, as in (11a),
partitive complements, as in (11b), classifying NPs, as in (11c) (partially
analogous to them), and some appositive NPs, as in (11d):
(11) a. hire a group of people; smell a bunch of flowers
b. read the end of the book
c. fold a certain type of paper; contract a variant of some disease
d. fire that imbecile of John
Having this in mind, we may now recall that nominals in light verb
structures are s-selected by higher predicates, but light verbs are not. That
is, in the sentence (12)
(12) I promised him to take a walk to the beach
there is a semantic relation (namely, s-selection) between promise and
walk, but there is none between promise and take.
Interestingly, we find an analogous phenomenon in the structure of
DPs. In fact, the nominal heads of NPs such as medidas de carcter
excepcional ('steps of exceptional character') or problemas de naturaleza
muy compleja ('problems of a very complex nature') are the external
arguments of the adjectives excepcional and compleja respectively (cf.
*medidas de carcter, *problemas de naturaleza). In fact, these phrases
are equivalent to medidas excepcionales ('exceptional steps') and
problemas muy complejos ('very complex problems'). As Koike (1998,
2000) has correctly observed, NPs such as situacin difcil ('difficult
situation') and circunstancias crticas ('critical circumstances') appear in a
number on contexts in which the relevant semantic property asked for by
the selecting predicate is provided by the adjective, not by the noun. The
examples in (13) are Koike's; those in (14) and (15) are mine:
(13) a. La nacin pasa por circunstancias crticas
'The nation is going through critical circumstances'
b. La nacin pasa por una crisis
'The nation is going through a crisis'
c. *La nacin pasa por circunstancias

'The nation is going through circumstances'


(14) a. Estamos atravesando (por)9 un momento difcil
'We are going through a difficult moment'
b. Estamos atravesando (por) una dificultad
'We are going through some difficulty'
c. *Estamos atravesando (por) un momento
'We are going through a moment'
(15) a. Se hallaban al borde de una situacin peligrosa
'They were on the brink of a dangerous situation'
b. Se hallaban al borde de un peligro
'They were on the brink of some danger'
c. *Se hallaban al borde una situacin
'They were on the brink of a situation'
I will use the term LIGHT NOUN for medida, naturaleza, circunstancia,
situacin and momento in these examples,10 and I will suggest that the
selectional facts in these cases bear a close parallelism to the phenomenon
that (12) illustrates. That is, in both cases the higher predicate does not sselect for the light category, but for its strong complement. In the (b)
examples of (13)-(15), some verbal or prepositional predicate s-selects for
a particular semantic notion that these nouns happen to fit in. These very
notions are present in their (a) counterparts, but in an adjectival form.
From the semantic point of view, the abstract nouns in (13)-(15)
provide "instances" of the quality or the state of affairs denoted by the
adjective, much in the way in which abstract predicates close to do
provide "instances" of the verbal action encoded by the event noun. If the
abstract nouns in these examples were strictly light, one would perhaps
expect nominals such as "thing" or "fact", or some other close notion. Obviously, the nouns above have meanings more precise than that, just like
our 'heavier' light verbs provided more specific meanings than that of the
English verb do.
From the syntactic perspective, the selectional problem should be
solved by providing the appropriate configurational relations among
9

The variant with por is more frequent in American Spanish; the variant with direct
object is prefered in European Spanish.
10

Kishimoto (2000) uses the term LIGHT NOUN for quantificational nouns such as thing
in something interesting (cf. *a book interesting) and argues that light nouns overtly raise
to the head of Number Phrase, contrary to ordinary nouns.

categories. The relevant question seems to be, then, whether the projection that these light nouns give rise to is funcional or lexical. If it were
functional, (13)-(15) would reduce to (11). I will suggest that this is a
possible reduction, to a certain extent. Even so, the relationship that these
abstract nouns bear to light categories still holds, since the basic
selectional facts pointed out above remain.
It is obvious that the categorial features of NPs such as
circunstancias crticas are provided by the noun circunstancias, whereas
the s-selectional features are provided by the adjective crticas. A short
number of nominals can be interpreted as predicates of the noun embodied
in their adjectival modifiers in most Romance languages. This explains the
ambiguity11 of phrases such as el fennemo turstico ('the touristic
phenomenon' or 'the tourism phenomenon') or el problema universitario
('the University problem' or 'the problem of the University'). In the
restrictive interpretation of turstico, the adjective refers to some specific
phenomenon, as opposed to some other. In the subject interpretation,
tourism is alleged to be a phenomenon, that is, phenomenon is a
appositive predicate, rather than the external argument of the adjective.
This appositive relation provides the relevant interpretation of the
examples in (16), taken from Koike (1998):
(16) a. Todo el mundo ha condenado la ola terrorista
'Everybody has condemned the terrorist wave '
b. Todo el mundo ha condenado el terrorismo
'Everybody has condemned terrorism'
c. *Todo el mundo ha condenado la ola
'Everybody has condemned the wave'
From this perspective, (16a) reduces to (11d) (although the 'categorial
problem' that these adjectives create in the syntax still requires a proper
formal solution). We might even try to reduce (13a) and (15a) to (11c), on
the idea that in these cases we refer to "instances" of difficulty or crisis.
The same idea extends to constructions involving other 'heavier light
nouns'. Consider the complex preposition en caso de ('in case of'). The
possible complements of this particle include guerra ('war'), enfermedad
('illness') and a large number of negative notions. The relevant s-selection
takes places in (a) and (b) examples of (17)-(18), but not in the (c) cases:
(17) a. En caso de comportamiento inconveniente
11

To my knowledge, first noted in Schmidt 1972.

'In case of inappropriate behavior'


b. En caso de inconveniencia
'In case of inappropriateness'
c. *En caso de comportamiento
'In case of behavior'
(18) a. En caso de competencia desleal
'In case of disloyal competition'
b. En caso de deslealtad
'In case of disloyalty'
c. *En caso de competencia
'In case of competition'
Again, these contrasts are closely reminiscent of the situation with light
verb constructions: from I am taking a walk, we infer "I am walking",
rather than "I am taking a certain entity". That is, the light category is an
abstract nominal lexically selected by its strong complement, not by some
higher predicate.

5. Conclusion
In this brief paper I have tried to show that light categories are relevant to
the grammar not because of their lightness, but rather because of the way
in which there are lexically selected and also because of the syntactic
structures they give rise to. In fact, the English term light focusses on the
abstract meaning of these predicates, while the French term support, the
Italian supporto and the Spanish apoyo ('support') or vicario ('subordinate'), sometimes used, focus on their grammatical defectiveness. We have
seen that some 'meaningful verbs' share the double VP internal argument
structure with light verbs. They also share the process in which they are
lexically selected by the lower nominal, and the abstract aspectual
meaning of light predicates. Some nouns behave in similar ways as
regards lexical selection.
It seems, then, than a number of good candidates for the class of
light categories are not exactly light, but the grammar makes them part of
that class, abstracting away from their lexical idiosyncracies and picking
up the basic (mostly aspectual) features of their meaning. These specific
lexical peculiarities make them look heavy, rather than light, but it is mere
appearance.

REFERENCES
Alonso Ramos, Margarita. 1997. "Coocurrencia lxica y descripcin
lexicogrfica del verbo DAR: hacia un tratamiento de los verbos
soportes". Zeitschrift fr Romanische Philologie 113.380-417.
------. 1998. tude smantico-syntaxique des constructions verbe
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