Author Topic: Is the difference between a stative verb and a dynamic verb really a difference.  (Read 325 times)

Offline josephusflav

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Supposedly theirs a difference between a state and a action.

This seems vacuous to me.

Take this example of a stative verb sentence "I think tomatoes are gross." entails "I am a thing that continuously exhibits the behavior of thinking tomatoes are gross"

It seems that if I think something that describes a continuous action.

It seems that states are in fact behaviors, just enduring ones. 



Offline panini

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You are wrong, and you have committed a logical error. It is true that many actions can be referenced by their consequences, for example by the act of committing a logical error, you have acquired the attribute of being wrong. You can also refer to a state by reference to having entered into that state (no thing is eternal, save for "existence"), hence you can say that the apple "is red", or, it "became red". The ability to shift focus between an action and an attribute does not invalidate the distinction.

States and actions necessarily take place in some context (right here, right now), and unless we engage in sci-fi speculation about time quanta, all time is "enduring", that is, the notion of an isolatible "moment" is a cognitive concept, and doesn't refer to anything tangible  in metaphysics. The whole point of language is cognition.

Offline Daniel

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You might want to look into the Vendler's work:
http://www.glottopedia.org/index.php/Aspectual_classes

You are correct that these distinctions are not always exact, but grammars do treat them differently. So consider diagnosing them not by their meaning, but by their grammatical instantiations.

That's why it's unusual to say "I am thinking tomatoes are gross", or "I am being happy". (Of additional interest is what happens when you do say something unusual like that. A slightly different interpretation is forced, or 'coerced', which supports that there is a difference.) Or how it is odd to say "I hit right now".
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Offline josephusflav

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The reason I am concerned as it seems to me that be the case but if I say something happened that seems to entail "a doing".

For example I was told existing is stative

Yet "I do exist" seems to entail "That I am existing".

The latter seems to reconstructable as " existing is something I am doing"

Correct me if I'm wrong but "do" is dynamic

Offline Daniel

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You won't get very far in teasing apart these details by looking only at their meanings. Same for what's a noun and what's a verb-- easy to say that "destruction" is an action, for example. But if you look at how grammars treat these distinctions, you'll find differences. As I said, you can often coerce a different reading, and that's been studied too.

These are just labels linguists use to describe observations of differences. Saying there's no difference would be more wrong than inexactly stating such a difference. It's a linguist's job to figure out better and better ways to explain such things.
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