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Lexical Semantics, Syntax, and Event Structure$
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Malka Rappaport Hovav, Edit Doron, and Ivy Sichel

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199544325

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199544325.001.0001

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On the Morphosyntax of (Anti) Causative Verbs *

On the Morphosyntax of (Anti) Causative Verbs *

(p.177) 9 On the Morphosyntax of (Anti) Causative Verbs*
Lexical Semantics, Syntax, and Event Structure

Artemis Alexiadou

Oxford University Press

The chapter investigates the variation at the level of morphology and at the level of productivity in the anti‐causative alternation on the basis of a non‐derivational approach to the alternation. It proposes to correlate the differences in productivity with the differences in the way languages morphologically mark the alternation. Two main groups of languages are identified. The behaviour of both groups will be shown to be related to properties of their (in)transitive syntax. The main claim of the chapter is that the morphology we see in the alternation should be taken seriously and is the device that helps us explain why anticausative and causative formation is freer in some languages than others. It is shown, first, that if a language lacks special morphological marking for de‐transitivization processes, this language will allow fewer roots to ender the anticausative alternation. Second, it is argued that certain languages are more productive than others in forming causatives, as they have a smaller root inventory, but have a number of functional morphemes to express causation/becoming.

Keywords:   anticausatives, productivity, roots, variation, functional morphemes

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