Distinguishing causative and permissive readings of the Swedish verb låta
In this paper an account is given of the semantics of the Present-day Swedish verb låta ‘let’ in constructions with an infinitival complement. It is generally assumed that the verb låta in this construction type can encode either causation or permission. From a synchronic perspective, the relationship between the two meanings has been described by some scholars as inclusive, whereas others have adduced possible criteria for distinguishing between them. Using corpus data, it is shown that the two semantic categories can be disentangled by means of a number of syntactic and semantic criteria, the most important of which relates to the semantic features of the central arguments in the sequence. Other criteria have to do with the occurrence of an object in the matrix clause, the Aktionsart of the complement predicate and the various degrees of autonomy of the object. The outcome of the empirical study reveals that the two constructions constitute comparably substantial categories in Present-day Swedish.
Published online: 13 May 2013
Cited by 2 other publications
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