Generalized incrementality: The veridicality property of clause-embedding reveal-type predicates in Polish

  • Karolina Zuchewicz
  • Luka Szucsich


It is a common observation that the so-called incremental theme verbs like ‘eat’, ‘drink’ or ‘build’ enforce a gradual affectedness of a direct object by the verbal process (Dowty, 1991; Krifka, 1992 among others). In aspect languages like Polish, perfective incremental theme verbs imply a total affectedness: The object vanishes (in the case of ‘eat’ or ‘drink’), it appears in its totality (in the case of ‘build’) or is fully involved in any other way (for example in the case of ‘read’, where there are no unread pages left in a single reading event). In contrast, imperfective counterparts only imply partial affectedness of their objects (Wierzbicka, 1967; Filip, 1985, 1997, 1999; Krifka, 1989a, 1989b, 1989c, 1992). Crucially, the gradual/total affectedness relation between the verb and its object only holds for incremental theme verbs. For instance, seeing a sandwich, in contrast to eating a sandwich, neither changes anything in the structure of a sandwich nor does it necessarily relate to its parts. This paper shows that propositional objects are also subjected to verbal events in a gradual manner if a clause- embedding verb is an incremental theme verb. In this case, the counterpart to total affectedness is veridicality, i.e. the revelation of a truth-conditional object. Building upon Zuchewicz (2020), we propose an account of generalized incrementality. In this account, incrementality is defined on the level of events and does not enforce the object to be divided into parts (compared to Krifka, 1989a, 1989b, 1989c, 1992 among others). As a result, the analysis holds for all incremental theme verbs, regardless of the type of a complement they combine with. The justification for this line of reasoning comes from a diverse nature of incrementality. Our object of investigation are transitive verbs which, if realized by clause-embedding predicates, take a that-clause as a complement. Their incremental character cannot be captured by dividing a proposition expressed by a that-clause into parts, but by a gradual creation of a proof for an embedded proposition.
How to Cite
Zuchewicz, K., & Szucsich, L. (2020). Generalized incrementality: The veridicality property of clause-embedding reveal-type predicates in Polish. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 24(2), 521-538.