"wear" and "put on"

Östen Dahl oesten at ling.su.se
Wed May 11 11:22:10 UTC 2005

Telicity is not quite the whole story. Notice that in the example "learn"
vs. "study", it is the presence or absence of an endpoint that makes the
difference (in somewhat simplified terms...) But "put on" and "wear" differ
in that "putting on" denotes an action which is rather the starting-point of
"wearing". It is true that "put on" is telic, but you cannot simply state
that it is the telic counterpart of "wear". Perhaps "put on" could be said
to be inchoative or ingressive, but if you look closely at it "put on" is
not quite synonymous to "start wearing" either.

- Östen Dahl

> -----Original Message-----
> From: funknet-bounces at mailman.rice.edu 
> [mailto:funknet-bounces at mailman.rice.edu] On Behalf Of 
> john at research.haifa.ac.il
> Sent: den 11 maj 2005 07:53
> To: David Palfreyman
> Cc: funknet at mailman.rice.edu
> Subject: Re: [FUNKNET] "wear" and "put on"
> David,
> The relevant category is called `telic' (as opposed to 
> `atelic', or some people might want to say that `wear' is 
> `stative'). It means an action which is conceptualized as 
> inherently having an endpoint (e.g. put on). See Comrie's 
> book `Aspect', for example. A similar pair which Hebrew 
> speakers have problems with is `learn' (telic) vs. `study' 
> (atelic), which are both `lamad' in Hebrew. I have heard 
> Spanish speakers get confused between (atelic) `look for' and 
> (telic) `get', because they can both be `buscar' in Spanish 
> (saying e.g. `Look for the cat!' when the cat is in plain 
> sight; what they mean is `get the cat'). A similar problem is 
> the distinction between `go to/fall asleep' (punctual) vs. 
> `sleep' (atelic or perhaps stative); in many languages these 
> are morphologically related forms of the same verb so that 
> non-native speakers will say e.g. `I slept at 11 o'clock last night.'
> There are many words like this.
> Best wishes,
> John
> Quoting David Palfreyman <David.Palfreyman at zu.ac.ae>:
> > My non-native English-speaking brother-in-law and his native 
> > English-speaking wife were preparing to go out, and running 
> late.  He 
> > indicated a dress and said "wear that".  She said "OK" and went on 
> > doing her make-up.  A minute later he said in frustration "come on, 
> > wear that!"  It turned out that he meant "put that on".
> >
> > Now, I can see the difference in meaning between the two verbs, but 
> > how would you describe it in semantic terms, and are there 
> other pairs 
> > of verbs with a similar distinction?
> >
> > :-D
> >
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