Article published in:Current trends in analyzing syntactic variation
Edited by Ludovic De Cuypere, Clara Vanderschueren and Gert De Sutter
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 31] 2017
► pp. 104–136
Expanding the causative alternation
What about a third variant?
The causative-inchoative alternation has been a subject of much debate. It might also be a case where variation patterns that escape existing typological descriptions provide a new perspective on the problem. We analyze the variability and systematicity of alternative argument structure realizations, together with corresponding aspectual/event properties, by considering three different ways in which change-of-state verbs can be semantically and syntactically construed in Romance. Under the general assumption that the syntactic projection of arguments correlates non-trivially with event structure, we apply a novel theoretical approach to the semantics and syntax of the causative-inchoative alternation. We argue that different verbal heads can be independently combined to yield contrasting verbal configurations, with corresponding event/argument structure properties quite freely. Alongside standard cases such as causative and inchoative frames, we discuss what we call ‘stative-causative constructions’ [SCC], where the initiator appears as the sole argument. The general properties of this additional (third) variant suggest the availability of a null causative (external-argument-selecting) v 0 producing original monoargumental structures with corresponding (simpler) event structure. These little-known Spanish data challenge current argument structure theories assuming that the causative v 0 necessarily implicates the eventive (BECOME) component, or that the latter figures in the verb’s permanent lexical entry. SCCs provide empirical evidence suggesting that what is commonly described as a basic unaccusative/transitive verb may have unergative uses.
Published online: 23 April 2018
Bhatt, Rajesh, and Roumyana Pancheva
2008 “Italian Null Objects and Resultative/Depictive Predication.” NYUWPL 1. Available at http://linguistics.as.nyu.edu/docs/CP/2345/cattaneo-2007-nyuwpl.pdf.
Folli, Raffaella and Harley, Heidi
Folli, Raffaella, and Heidi Harley
Folli, Raffaella, Heidy Harley, and Simin Karimi
Hale, Ken, and Samuel J. Keyser
Hale, Ken, and Samuel Jay Keyser
Hale, Ken, and Keyser, Samuel J.
Harley, Heidi and Ralf Noyer
2009 “Aspectual Approaches to Lexical Semantic Representation.” LSA Course (available at web.stanford.edu/~bclevin/lsa09aspapp.pdf.)
Mangialavori Rasia, M. Eugenia
2017 “Transitivity alternations in Romance. A case of (micro)parametrical variation?” Paper presented at Theoretical and Empirical Approaches to Microvariation (TEAM 2017) , Padua, 22–24 June 2017.
Rappaport-Hovav, Malka and Beth Levin
Rappaport-Hovav, Malka, and Beth Levin
Ritter, Elizabeth, and Sara Rosen
Rivero, Maria L.