The causative-inchoative alternation (as we know it) might fall short
Crosslanguage systematicities and untapped data from Romance and Greek
This contribution challenges the claim that internal arguments are stable/constant arguments in the causative-inchoative alternation. It presents evidence that a third (external-argument-only) variant, produced by the standard combinatorial system, is possible (and systematic) in Romance and Greek. Free composition with a null causative v
0 independent of the internal-argument-licensing head: explains all the hallmarks of monadic (intransitive) variants; correctly preserves event/argument structure correlation (no internal-argument-introducing head, no change-of-state event); uncovers crosslanguage contrasts concerning ±availability of cause(r) interpretation of sole arguments in equipollent derivations. My argument is supported by a parallel with non-Romance languages with comparable morphology (Greek). Such symmetries show a transparent morpho-semantic-syntactic correlation in the choice of argument frame, extending to other verb classes with transitivity alternation. Greek and Romance data support a (a) wider causative alternation with expected semantic/syntactic/morphological implications; (b) (missing) structural distinction among (in)transitivity alternations. Arguably, languages may differ in the availability of this option, showing at least two patterns of variation.
- 2.A basic monadic eventless configuration
- 2.1Why not a null object?
- 2.2Eventless monoargumental (and eventless cause)
- 2.3Section summary
- 3.Additional evidence
- 3.1Psych verbs
- 3.3Section summary
- 4.Final remarks