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VerbsAspect and Causal Structure$
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William Croft

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199248582

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248582.001.0001

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Causal structure in verbal semantics and argument realization

Causal structure in verbal semantics and argument realization

(p.220) 6 Causal structure in verbal semantics and argument realization

William Croft

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6, “Causal structure in verbal semantics and argument realization”, surveys a number of typological phenomena with respect to the hypothesis that simple verbs construe an event as a directed, acyclic, nonbranching causal chain. It introduces the distinction between antecedent and subsequent oblique types, and the analysis of noncausal relations (space and possession), from Croft's earlier work. Event types that are symmetric or undirected in various ways vary in their morphosyntactic expression across languages, in ways that represent different ways to construe such events as directed, acyclic and nonbranching. A brief survey of voice systems shows that causal relations are sometimes outranked by topicality in argument realization. Finally, causatives and applicatives display complex argument realization patterns partly due to the different ways to construe inducive (interpersonal) causation.

Keywords:   verbs, causation, subject, object, oblique, antecedent oblique, subsequent oblique, typology, case, reflexive, reciprocal, alignment, ergativity, voice, causative, applicative, argument realization

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