Causatives across components

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper divides verbal alternations which, broadly speaking, involve the cognitive notion of Causation into (i) causativization, (ii) decausativization. The latter operation is identical across languages and applies universally in the lexicon. The former is argued to be lexical in some languages; in others, causative verbs are built in the syntax by means of a Cause predicate and an embedded one. The study presents novel empirical evidence, identifies and derives the various clusters of properties associated with the alternations, and formulates the precise mechanisms underlying them. The empirical array is drawn mainly from Hungarian and Japanese. The findings have direct implications for alternative conceptions of the division of labor between the syntax and the lexicon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-704
Number of pages48
JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Causative
  • Decomposition
  • Experiencer verb
  • External argument
  • Lexicon
  • Unaccusative


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