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On Friday, July 16, 2004, at 08:35 , Philippe Caquant wrote:

[snip]
> (This will probably happen the day when we shall no
> more think in terms of "verbs" and "adverbs" - which
> are syntactical notions, thus depending on particular
> languages - but in terms of meaning relations. What is
> a verb ? Nothing.

*verb* /vɜ:b/ n. (V) One of the most important lexical categories, and one
which is seemingly universal. The class of verbs i every language is both
large and open. Grammatically speaking, verbs are most obviously
distinguished by the fact that each verb typically requires the presence
in its sentence of a specific set of NP [noun phrase] arguments, each of
which typically represents some particular semantic role and each of which
may be required to appear in some particular grammatical form (particular
case marking, particular preposition etc.).

So wrote the late Larry Trask in "A Dictionary of Grammatical Terms in
Linguistics". Not my idea of 'nothing'; and I'm trying to figure out how
'meaning relations' differs radically from 'semantic roles'.

But then, what did Larry Trask know about linguistics?

> A verb in English, or in Russian, or
> in Georgian, might be something,

But, presumably according to you, might be nothing (else why use 'might'?)

> but such a thing as
> "a verb" (or: "an adverb") simply does not exist.)

The category traditionally labeled 'adverb' in English or French is
treated in many different ways in the world's great variety of natural
languages. It is not comparable IMHO to the category called 'verb'.

What evidence do you have that a thing called "verb" does not exist?

Ray
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