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Lecture | Com(parative) Syn(tax) series

Two ways of forming causatives and their implications for recursion

Thursday 29 October 2020
Com(parative) Syn(tax) Series
online via Skype (e-mail a.h.j.van.alem@hum.leidenuniv.nl for the link)


Syntactic approaches to the causative alternation disagree as to whether causatives differ from their anticausative counterparts crucially in the addition of a causing event (Harley 1995, 2013; Pylkkänen 2008) or in the addition of a causer participant (Alexiadou et al. 2006, 2015; Schäfer 2008). In this talk, I focus on productive causative constructions of the “X made Y do Z” type and demonstrate that both strategies are in fact attested in the formation of productive causatives. While productive causatives involve added events in Japanese and Turkish, they only involve added participants in Tagalog. I show that the choice of strategy also correlates with a previously unexplored property: the ability to recurse causatives (“X made Y made Z … ”). Causatives which add events can recurse, while causatives which add participants cannot.

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