Explicating the English lexicon of ‘doing and happening’
This study proposes NSM semantic explications for a cross-section of the English verbal lexicon of ‘doing and happening’. The twenty-five verbs are drawn from about a dozen verb classes, including verbs for non-typical locomotion (crawl, swim, fly), other intransitive activities (play, sing), manipulation (hold), activities that affect material integrity (cut, grind, dig), creation/production (make, build, carve), actions that affect people or things (hit, kick, kill) or cause a change of location (pick up, put, throw, push), bodily reactions to feelings (laugh, cry), displacement (fall, sink) and weather phenomena (rain, snow). Though the verbs explicated are specifically English verbs, they have been chosen with an eye to their relevance to lexical typology and cross-linguistic semantics (many are drawn from the Verb Meanings List of the Leipzig Valency Patterns project) and it is hoped that the analytical strategy and methodology exemplified in this study can be a useful model for research into other languages. The study demonstrates the application of the NSM concept of semantic templates, which provide a clear “skeletal” structure for explications of considerable internal complexity and which help account for shared semantic and grammatical properties of verbs of a given subclass.