Article published in:Transitivity and Valency: From theory to acquisition
Edited by Georgia Fotiadou and Hélène Vassiliadou
[Lingvisticæ Investigationes 40:1] 2017
► pp. 25–42
A competition-based analysis of French anticausatives
Some long-standing questions surrounding anticausatives in languages like French include whether the morphological marking (presence/absence of se) correlates with interpretational differences and/or different syntax. We examine the three anticausatives classes (optional se, obligatory se, no se) in three aspectual contexts and formulate a generalization whereby a default morphological form (reflexive-/non-reflexive-marked) can be identified for each context, plus an interpretive anti-blocking effect: if the lexicon does not provide the default form then the other form (regardless of morphology) preserves the aspectual interpretation of its transitive source. French anticausative se is tied to lexical aspect (rather than syntax), but the distribution is complex and non-transparent. We argue that the grammar allows bidirectional competition among forms and interpretations and the formalize analysis in Bidirectional OT (Superoptimality).
Keywords: anticausative classes, lexical gaps, aspectual interpretations, default mappings, antiblocking effects, Bidirectional OT, Superoptimality
Published online: 08 December 2017
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