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Causation in Grammatical Structures$
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Bridget Copley and Fabienne Martin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199672073

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672073.001.0001

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Causatives and inchoatives in the lexicon and in the syntax

Causatives and inchoatives in the lexicon and in the syntax

Evidence from Italian

(p.351) 13 Causatives and inchoatives in the lexicon and in the syntax
Causation in Grammatical Structures

Raffaella Folli

Oxford University Press

In this chapter it is argued that causative/inchoative alternation with verbs of change of state in Italian is composed of three sub-classes of verbs which, despite superficially homogeneous lexical semantic similarity, show profound differences in their alternating behavior. In this account, the importance of syntax in licensing structure is strongly supported: for example, class II and III verbs show no compelling evidence for lexical transitivity, hence providing confirmation that well-known analyses of causatives of this kind are essentially similar to (visibly) affixal causatives. On the other hand, class I verbs are shown to be lexically transitive/causative and hence able to appear as inchoative only when si realizes the external argument. More generally, the causative/inchoative alternation is related to a more general question regarding the status of the interaction between the lexicon and the syntactic component and the type of analysis we can offer for verb alternations.

Keywords:   causation, inchoative, Italian, transitivity, lexicon, verb alternations

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