Raffaella Folli, Heidi Harley
Journal of Linguistics, 49.1, 93-125
Publication year: 2012

This paper provides an analysis of Italian complex predicates formed by combining a feminine nominalization in –ata and one of three light verbs: fare ‘make’, dare ‘give’ and prendere‘take’. We show that the constraints governing the choice of light verb follow from a syntactic approach to argument structure, and that several interpretive differences between complex and simplex predicates formed from the same verb root can be accounted for in a compositional, bottom–up approach. These differences include variation in creation vs. affected interpretations of Theme objects, implications concerning the size of the event described, the (un)availability of a passive alternant, and the agentivity or lack thereof of the subject argument.