Manner and Causation in Movement Verbs


  • Wilhelm Geuder
  • Matthias Weisgerber



This paper investigates the semantic underpinnings of the distinction between two syntactic types of “manner of movement” verbs in Levin (1993), namely the RUN and ROLL classes. According to Levin's (1993) and Levin & Rappaport's (1995) work on unaccusativity, a semantic factor of “internal causation” should be the trigger for the classification of a movement verb as intransitive (=not-unaccusative), and hence for its belonging to the RUN class. We point out empirical problems for this characterisation, mainly coming from the different readings of the German verb fliegen (fly). From a comparison with other semantically similar verbs, we conclude that the semantic description which underlies the class distinction should be refined: instead of “internal causation”, the crucial semantic factor is described here as “inherent specification for a momentum of movement”. This result indicates that forces, and relations between forces, have to be part of the semantic description of the manner component in movement verbs.




How to Cite

Geuder, W., & Weisgerber, M. (2019). Manner and Causation in Movement Verbs. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 10(1), 125–138.