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Encoding Manner and Result Verbs Essay

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Verbs which are not static from different lexical fields are often categorized as either manner or result verbs. As part of their meaning, manner verbs determine the manner of carrying out an action. Result verbs on the other hand, determine the coming about of a result state. Manner and result verbs contrast in terms of how they display their patterns of argument realization (Fillmore, 1970, p.78).

In this paper, I examine encoding of manner and results in verbs by focusing on eight issues: first, describe how manner and result vary in verbs semantically and syntactically; second, explain distinctions in aspect or Aktionsart identified between manner and result in verbs; third, discuss the evidence provided by Levin and Rappaport; fourth, examine why conative construction is relevant in the argument; fifth, discuss the sort of verbs used in conative construction; sixth, discuss Talmy’s lexical patterns: seventh, and eight, describe how languages differ.

How Manner and Result in Verbs differ Semantically and Syntactically

A number of verbs encode functions which might depend on context or situation. These verbs explain nothing concerning the manner in which the event is carried out. By contrast, other verbs depict the manner, but explain nothing about the purpose of the event. English language has many verbs that encode the result of an action, but not the manner of attaining this result besides verbs expressing the manner.

For instance, a verb such as shut depicts an event that results in a closed entity (Talmy 1985, p. 59). However, the manner of shutting widely varies depending on the item being shut. In contrast to result components in verbs, a manner component in a verb like run denotes a specific kind of travelling motion that does not vary depending on who is running.

Levin (2006, p.180) refers a manner verb such as shut accomplishments, and a result verb such as run activities. Accomplishment verbs and activity verbs contrast in their syntactic behaviour besides the presence of different prominent meaning components. Activity verbs occur intransitively; on the contrary, accomplishment verbs must have a direct argument. Rarely can we get verbs that encode both the result and the manner of an event. Both manner and result have to be expressed by two different lexical items (Levin, 2006, p. 57).

Levin & Hovav (2006) Contributive Evidence

Levin and Hovav have argued that there is a general constraint on what elements of meaning may be conflated or encoded by a single verb (Talmy, 1985, p. 58). For instance, they have claimed that it is untenable to find both a manner component and a result component encoded by the same verb.

A verb lexically encodes a scale if it is associated with a single simple attribute with ordered values. It is possible to have verbs like cut and climb which appear to lexicalize both a manner and a result (Levin, 1992, p. 46). The two verbs indicate that there is no single, constant element of meaning which appears in every application of these verbs. The verbs have independent manner and result senses, with the complementarities still observed for individual uses of the verbs.

A number of verbs encode functions which might be context or situation dependent. These verbs explain nothing about the manner in which the event is carried out. Other words by contrast denote the manner, but explain nothing about the purpose of the event. Besides verbs expressing the manner in which an action is carried out, English language has variety of verbs that encode the result of an action, but not the manner of achieving this result. In contrast to result verbs, a manner verb such as run denotes a specific kind of travelling motion that does not vary depending on who does the running (Hall, 2004, p. 36).

Distinctions in Aspect or Aktionsart can you identify between ‘Manner’ and Result Verbs

The manner in which verbs are applied to view an action or state refers to verbal aspect. Writers or speakers view events either from the inside, as though they are portrayed as unfolding (imperfect aspect), or from the outside, as though they are observed as a whole (perfective aspect). In contrast to aspect, Acktionsart refers to procedural characteristics, which are the way verbs behave in particular settings, according to lexeme and many contextual factors (Talmy 1985, p. 59).

Determining verb meanings is one of vexing challenges language learners face. Encoding manner in verbs raises issues of typology and language utilization. Manner in verbs covers a number of dimensions such as; motor patterns usually combined with rate of motion, force dynamics, attitude, and encoding instruments. Encoding manner in verbs is dependent on the option for encoding path.

Generally, verbs of motion such as shovel and clear tend to divide between those verbs that portray manner and those that designate result. An individual can walk, run, or jog in one place. At the same time, this individual can ascend, and descend without specifying any particular manner.

Typically, verbs which are not static from numerous lexical fields are classified as either manner or result verbs. Manner verbs intuitively specify a manner of executing an action as part of their meaning. Result verbs on the other hand explain specifically the coming about of a result state. The contrast between manner and result verbs cut across the transitive/intransitive distinctions (Hall, 2004, p. 36).

According to Levin (1992, p. 49) observation, the distinction between manner and result verbs comes from the complementary distribution. A verb given tends to be categorized either as a manner or result verb but not both. This general classification directly presupposes the difference between what a verb lexically encodes as part of its meaning and what can be inferred from a specific utilization of that verb in context.

Why Conative Construction is Relevant

It has been argued that verbs and other lexical items have been associated with rich frame semantic knowledge. Basic sentence level construction or argument structure constructions designate scenes which are basic to human experience. The set of basic clause types of a language are used to encode general event types such as those depicting that someone did something to someone. Construction tends to be used with manner verbs only when the manner is particularly salient and emphasized.

Exploring the motion domain, Diron (2005, p. 490) recognizes that the verb climb express both manner and result in application. Some verbs may appear to lexicalize both manner and result verbs but actually lexicalize only one verb in any given application. Close analysis of the verbs cut and climb behaviour reveals no single constant element of meaning in every application of these verbs.

However, verbs which are problematic are polysemous and have independent manner and result senses. Specifically, when a manner verb has a conventionally associated result, the result may get lexicalized in some applications of the verb (Hall, 2004, p. 36).

Levin and Havav claim in their argument that verbs such cut would seem to encode both a result, for instance, something like a loaf of bread comes to be cut; and manner component, that is, cutting is achieved by a sharp edge in contact with the loaf of bread which comes to be cut (Talmy, 1985, p. 61). Basically, cut is a result verb in contrast. This is because the verb does not lexicalize a specific manner. Bohnemeyer (2007, p. 156) observes that, cut verbs are flexible about the action performed and the instrument applied.

The verb lexicalizes manner component which specifies motion and contact. Cuts behaviour can be associated to manner component. It’s located in conative construction, and it cannot participate in the causative alternation. Fillmore (1970, p. 490) suggest that the verb expresses both manner and result components. The two verbs (cuts and climb) are not counter examples to manner or result complementarities in work in progress.

Verbs that may tend to lexicalize both manner and result in real sense only lexicalize one in any provided use. Closer examination of the behaviour of cut and climb reveals that there is no single, stable element of meaning which is found in every application of these verbs. In sum, manner/result complimentarily offers a productive perspective for explorations of what the meanings of verbs such as cut and climb actually are (Bohnemeyer, 2007, p.159).

Verbs used in the Conative Construction

Generally, verbs of motion tend to divide between those verbs that designate manner and those that designate a change of location. According to Talmy (1985, p. 59), an individual can walk, run, jog in place and an individual can ascend, descent without specifying any particular manner. This may be correct because the manner of motion and the direction of motion are generally independent.

The verb climb would seem to violate a constraint against manner and direction co-occurring. This is because the verbs climb in its prototypical sense, entails both directed motion and manner. According to Levin (2006, p. 61) climb can be used without directed motion and manner. They note that climb can be applied without directed motion or without manner. Manner and result verbs are meaning elements that contribute to the complexity of verb meanings.

Levin (2006, p. 63) suggest a different systematic sort of lexical gap; that is, the specification of both manner, and result or change of direction by a single verb is not permitted. Examples of manner verbs which designate a non scalar change include; scribble, run, sweep, wipe, rub, wipe and others.

Similarly, examples of result verbs which designate a scalar change include; ascent, advance, arrive, clean, clear and others (Green, 2009, p.112). Rappaport and Levin insist that result verbs need not be telic; instead, the critical factor is that the predicate be scalar. A single dimension with an ordered series of values in order for a predicate to be considered scalar must be there.

Scalar underlies both change of state verbs and directed motion verbs in a straight forward way. Verbs that lexicalize scales with two points are also considered scalar; this allows achievement verbs such as arrive to assimilate to other results and change of location verbs. Activity predicates are designated as manner predicates are designated as manner predicates, and are defined as dynamic verbs that designate non scalar change (Green, 2009, p.115).

Manner and change of location are allowed to combine in certain terms because the two facets tend to co-occur as a single culturally recognized unit. In this scenario, the manner is often dependent on the type of location.

The constraint against designating both manner and result might appear to hold of verbs like write and scribble, where write requires that something contextual comes to exist while scribble designates a manner without specifying a result. However, this analysis hinges on what counts as a result. Scribble does not entail some sort of written form. This verb should count as designating both a manner and result (Hampe, 2007, p. 93).

In addition, the difference between scrawl and jot down would seem to involve the fact that the former entails that the writing is done quickly and sloppily (manner), while the latter entails the writing is done quickly but without necessarily being sloppy (different manner). Both scrawl and jot down imply that written words were created, which would appear to be a result. These verbs appear to be counterexamples to a constraint against encoding both manner and result.

A scalar change is important for its simplicity. Any change that is characterized in terms of an ordered set of values of a single attribute comprises of a non scalar change. Non scalar change comprises of a few words of non scalar change. These include words such as; cross and traverse which involve a change in a single attribute just like verbs of scalar change. However, these verbs fail to specify a particular direction of change in the values of this attribute.

Verbs of creation allow both manner and result since creation itself is type of result. The contrast between manufacture and create can be attributed to the fact that manufacture entails something about the manner of creation. The entity is created by some sort of machinery or systematic division of labour (Felip, 1999, p. 45).

Contrasts among verbs of idea formation would also involve differences in manner; for instance, scheme, invent, concoct, conceive, dream up, formulate and others differ in whether the process takes time, whether the process is effortful or not among other subtle distinctions. Verbs of cooking would also designate both a manner and a result. For example, the difference between roast, fry, and stew would involve the manner of cooking (Diron, 2005, p. 231).

Lexicalization Patterns Discussed by Talmy (1985)

Talmy (1985, p. 128) gave an analysis of manner expressions and typologies of lexicalization patterns. He has given extensive concentration to lexicalization patterns. In his understanding, lexicalization is involved where a particular meaning element is discovered to be in regular association with a particular morpheme (Talmy, 1985, p. 59). He proposed a universal typology of motion events encoding.

His encoding of manner, however, highlighted issues of both typology and language use. Languages vary with respect to the means by which they encode events of directed motion. An elaborate study on variations in lexical encoding of spatial goals was laid bare. In his earlier examination of the typology of expressions of directed motion, he had come up with a distinction between result verbs and manner verbs. This distinction was based on whether directed motion can be encoded by manner of motion verbs with dispositional goal phrases.

Accordingly, verbs of manner of motion combine with propositional phrases showing the goal of motion, particularly in English and not Spanish. The manner of motion cannot be expressed with propositional phrases in Spanish. Instead, the manner of motion can only be specified by an adverbial phrase, and additional non manner verb must be used as the key verb (Talmy, 1985, p. 111). This contrast is explained by Talmy through his appeal to a difference in lexicalization patterns of motion verbs.

Clearly, the most common and prototypical case is one in which the verb and the construction do not designate two separate events. Rather the verb designates the same event that the construction designates, or the verb elaborates the constructional meaning. Talmy (1985, p. 55), posits that events can be casually related by specifying the means, the result or the instrument involved in some act.

A common in English, Chinese and Dutch is that the verb can encode the means of achieving the act designated by the construction. Ditransitive construction can be combined with verbs of creation that do not themselves designate transfer.

What is usually transferred from one person to another is often created for that purpose; thus the creation of the transferred entity is a salient precondition within frame semantic knowledge of transferring (Croft, 1991, p 54). At the same time, we need not have established frames that involve the combined semantics of specific verbs with argument structure constructions.

How languages Differ

Typologically, languages differ in terms of how they map lexical and syntactic elements onto semantic domains (Talmy, 1985, p. 60). This difference is most common in the domain of spatial relations, particularly in expressions of motion events. Talmy (1985, p. 57) compared how Turkish and English speakers as typologically different languages apply their speech as well as spontaneous gestures to express motion events in narrative discourse.

English and Turkish speakers belong to typologically different groups of languages in terms of how they map lexical elements onto semantic elements of motion events (Campbell, 2004, p. 210). Turkish language encourages encoding path of motion in a verb. English on the other hand encodes path of motion by verb particles. For this reason, Turkish belongs to verb framed languages and English belongs to satellite framed languages.

English and Turkish languages differ in the manner in which they lexicalize semantic elements of a motion event such as: manner; and both manner and result with regard to Talmy’s typology. As a verb framed language, Turkish encodes result of motion in a verb. Similarly, as a satellite framed language, English encode result of motion with a particle.

If speakers of English and Turkish have to encode manner of motion in addition to result, differences arise. Since in English result is encoded but not in the verb, the manner can be encoded in the main verb. Thus, English speakers are able to encode both manner and result within one verbal clause. However, since in Turkish the main verb is used to encode result, manner tends to be encoded as subordinate to the main verb (Talmy, 1985, p. 59).


In sum, children encode state changes early, and they apply grammatical markings in a manner that suggests that they attend to manipulative activity scene, with a special focus on the state change. This suggests that it should be easy for children to learn the meaning of causative change of state verbs.

However, children neglect the state change when interpreting causative change of state. Talmy (1985, p. 60) has provided a useful analysis by paying attention to lexicalization patterns. In his terms, lexicalization is involved where a particular meaning component is found to be a regular association with a particular morpheme (Talmy 1985, p. 59).

In this instance, lexicalization of location and displacement of an entity is what is at issue. In such instances, a typology can be introduced in language exhibits a comparatively small number of patterns (Talmy 1985, p. 57). A universal typology of motion event encoding was proposed by Talmy based on the definition of an event that consist of one object moving or located with respect to another object (Talmy 1985, p. 61).

Encoding of manner raises fundamental issues of both typology and language use. Manner is a term that covers a number of dimensions, including motor patterns such as; jump, skip, hop and others. These are often combined with the rate of motion, for instance; walk, run, sprint (Campbell, 2004, p. 210).


Bohnemeyer, J., 2007. Morphelexical Transparency and Argument Structure of Verbs of Cutting and breaking. Cognitive Linguistics 18, 153-172.

Campbell, K., 2004. Verbal aspects, The Indicative Mood. New York: Peter Lang Press.

Croft, W., 1991. Syntactic Categories and Grammatical Relations. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Diron, Edit S., 2005. Lexical Semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Felip, H., 1999. Eventuality Types and Nominal References. New York: Garland Press

Fillmore, C., 1970. How languages Differ. Waltham, Mass: Ginn

Green, R., 2009. The Semantics of Relationships. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Hall, Geoffrey W., 2004. Weaving Lexicon. Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Hampe, Beate G., 2007. From Perception to Meaning. New York: Springer.

Levin, Hovav R., 2006. Constraints on the Complexity of Verb Meaning. New York: Stanford University Press.

Levin, Hovav R., 1992. Wiping the Slate Clean: A lexical semantic Exploration. Oxford: Blackwell

Talmy, Leonard P., 1985. Lexicalization patterns: semantic structure in lexical forms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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