[Lingtyp] semantic role of participant that needs something

Christian Lehmann christian.lehmann at uni-erfurt.de
Sat Jul 2 11:22:19 UTC 2022

Volker is right that 'X needs Y' does not imply 'X does not have Y'; at 
least not in English, German and Cabecar. Cabecar has a close synonym to 
'be needed' and with the same valency frame, viz. 'be missed'; and this 
does imply 'lack'.

Then the question remains what 'need' (in the sense of the three 
languages mentioned) means. I am not sure that modality is involved. Do 
you need a modal notion to describe the second clause of 'I can't lend 
you my computer, I need it' ? Moreover, 'in the best of all worlds' is, 
of course, a handy paraphrase which does not directly map onto a more 
formal semantic representation.

'X needs Y' appears to mean 'if X does not have Y, it is bad for X'. Not 
sure whether this would imply 'if X has Y, it is good for X', or if this 
would correspond well to the meaning of 'X needs Y'.

If so, this meaning involves an evaluation. I thought that the 
benefactive/malefactive roles (incidentally, I think appropriate terms 
are 'beneficiary/maleficiary') are essentially characterized by this 
evaluative relation. Of course, a relation between the participant and 
the situation, not between the speaker and the situation.


Prof. em. Dr. Christian Lehmann
Rudolfstr. 4
99092 Erfurt

Tel.: 	+49/361/2113417
E-Post: 	christianw_lehmann at arcor.de
Web: 	https://www.christianlehmann.eu
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