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The Theta System$
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Martin Everaert, Marijana Marelj, and Tal Siloni

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199602513

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199602513.001.0001

Lexicon Uniformity and the Causative Alternation

Chapter:
(p.150) 6 Lexicon Uniformity and the Causative Alternation
Source:
The Theta System
Author(s):

Malka Rappaport Hovav

Beth Levin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199602513.003.0006

This paper uses Reinhart's Lexicon Uniformity Principle as a context for exploring the nature of the causative alternation, focusing on alternating verbs that do not permit both variants for every choice of theme argument and verbs that have unexpected causative uses. We demonstrate that such data are problematic for an analysis such as Reinhart's and our own earlier analyses which take the causative variant as basic, deriving the anticausative variant from it by a lexical rule. We propose that the observed distributional properties follow if causative alternation verbs are taken to be lexically monadic, selecting the single argument expressed in their anticausative variant. We propose that a causative variant is available to a verb when the introduced cause argument meets a direct causation condition. We further argue that in some instances only the causative variant is available due to a proper containment condition.

Keywords:   agentivity, causative alternation, change of state verbs, decausativization, direct causation, internal vs external causation, lexicon uniformity principle, polysemy, sound emission verbs

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