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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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Eliminating causative entailments with the force-theoretic framework

Eliminating causative entailments with the force-theoretic framework

The case of the Tohono O’odham frustrative cem

(p.120) 6 Eliminating causative entailments with the force-theoretic framework
Causation in Grammatical Structures

Bridget Copley

Heidi Harley

Oxford University Press

Force dynamics have long played a significant role in cognitive approaches to linguistic semantics. The chapter proposes that the arguments discovered by Davidson refer to forces instead of to events. A force, conceptually, is energy input into a situation. Formally, the chapter treats forces as functions from an initial situation to the situation that results ceteris paribus. The key feature of the approach is that it allows a simple semantic characterization of a ‘normal’ result that does not entail the existence of that result; in standard event-based treatments, in contrast, possible words or partial events are needed to defeat this entailment in cases where the result does not occur; the adoption of possible worlds over-complicates the semantics while the use of partial events glosses over the issue of how to link causes and results. The chapter illustrates the framework with a detailed analysis of the frustrative morpheme cem in Tohono O’odham.

Keywords:   force dynamics, events, culmination, situations, accomplishments, frustratives

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