Towards an Inferential Lexicon of Event Selecting Predicates for French

by   Ingrid Falk, et al.

We present a manually constructed seed lexicon encoding the inferential profiles of French event selecting predicates across different uses. The inferential profile (Karttunen, 1971a) of a verb is designed to capture the inferences triggered by the use of this verb in context. It reflects the influence of the clause-embedding verb on the factuality of the event described by the embedded clause. The resource developed provides evidence for the following three hypotheses: (i) French implicative verbs have an aspect dependent profile (their inferential profile varies with outer aspect), while factive verbs have an aspect independent profile (they keep the same inferential profile with both imperfective and perfective aspect); (ii) implicativity decreases with imperfective aspect: the inferences triggered by French implicative verbs combined with perfective aspect are often weakened when the same verbs are combined with imperfective aspect; (iii) implicativity decreases with an animate (deep) subject: the inferences triggered by a verb which is implicative with an inanimate subject are weakened when the same verb is used with an animate subject. The resource additionally shows that verbs with different inferential profiles display clearly distinct sub-categorisation patterns. In particular, verbs that have both factive and implicative readings are shown to prefer infinitival clauses in their implicative reading, and tensed clauses in their factive reading.


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