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Cycle BCL - Léa Nash (Université Paris 8/CNRS)

Structuring indirect causation

Jeudi 23 mai 2024 - à 10h - Salle 213 - BCL, Campus SJA 3


Languages express causation in various ways. Although periphrastic biclausal strategy is universally attested in every language, it coexists with a more parsimonious strategy that involves, depending on language, a light causative verb (e.g. faire in French) or a causative morpheme (-tIr- in Turkish). Since Marantz (1984) and Baker (1988), it has been widely acknowledged in generative theorizing that both of these causative markers are verb categories and carry event semantics. This conception is consistent with a classical semantic definition of indirect causation which involves potential temporal distinctness of the causing event and the caused event (Fodor 1970).

In this talk, I will challenge the categorial uniformity of light causative verbs and causative morphemes. I will propose that in many languages, the causative morpheme is an active Voice head, i.e. a transitiviser, without event semantics. When combined with non-agentive verbs, it introduces an external argument. However, this Voice may not combine with agent-bearing complement, as the result will yield an illicit configuration with stacked Agents. In this case, demotion/deagentivisation of the embedded predicate must take place, as transparently illustrated by Georgian/Hindi/Amharic morphological causatives of transitives. I will further propose that languages where causative marker is not a verb but a Voice head conform to another conception of indirect causation based on the presence of some intervening causer argument between the agent of the causing event and the caused event (Wolff 2007).

publié par Morgane Ftaïta le