Why *Sarah cannot glow the light bulb? Accounting for the constructional behavior of light and sound emission verbs

  1. Rosca , Andrea
Revue Roumaine de Linguistique

ISSN: 0035-3957

Year of publication: 2012

Volume: 57

Issue: 1

Pages: 67-82

Type: Article

Export: RIS


JCR (Journal Impact Factor)

  • Year 2012
  • Journal Impact Factor: 0.071
  • Best Quartile: Q4
  • Area: LINGUISTICS Quartile: Q4 Rank in area: 152/162 (Ranking edition: SSCI)

SCImago Journal Rank

  • Year 2012
  • SJR Journal Impact: 0.208
  • Best Quartile: Q2
  • Area: Language and Linguistics Quartile: Q2 Rank in area: 227/684
  • Area: Linguistics and Language Quartile: Q2 Rank in area: 243/695


  • Social Sciences: B
  • Human Sciences: A


This article provides an in-depth lexical-constructional account of two English verbal classes, namely light and sound emission, with special emphasis on the causative-inchoative alternation, the resultative and the intransitive motion constructions. To shed light on the kinds of constructional realization for these verb classes, I will follow and build on previous taxonomic work by Levin (1993) and Faber and Mairal (1999), which will be complemented by the analytical and explanatory tools developed by the Lexical Constructional Model (Ruiz de Mendoza and Mairal, 2007, 2008; Mairal and Ruiz de Mendoza, 2008, 2009). Levin and Rappaport Hovav (1995) show that internally caused verbs can only participate in the inchoative construction (cf. The stars twinkled in the black sky, Blood gurgled in his throat) whereas externally caused verbs can occur in the causative configuration (cf. He winked the light, She jangled her car keys). Nevertheless, a serious problem for the internal cause generalization stems from the fact that intransitive light emission verbs can also express a light produced by an entity whose surface is in contact with a natural light source (cf. The jewel sparkled in the sun).