The Causee in Romance and Germanic Causative Constructions
This paper is concerned with the relationships between the semantic role 'causée' and the morphosyntactic patterns used to express it in a range of Germanic and Romance languages. We will try to show that the causee — a hybrid semantic role as it is both a patient and an agent — has special relationships with object case marking. The evidence shows that Germanic languages such as German and English, and some Romance languages such as Spanish and Portuguese, resort to positional rules to preserve the distinction between causee and true object. Other Romance languages such as Italian and French, however, obtain the same result by morphological means, especially as regards the causee. We claim that such differences can be better understood in the light of a diachronic and typological study of causative constructions in these languages.
Published online: 09 November 1999