Causativity and psychological verbs in Spanish

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This paper analyzes the transitive/intransitive alternation in class 2 psychological verbs of Belletti and Rizzi. The transitive variant implies an agentive subject and an aspectual change of state. The intransitive variant implies a cause and a locative state. Spanish class 2 psychological verbs are causative due to the cause component conflated in the verbal structure which gives rise to the verb: most of the psychological verbs with a transitive/intransitive alternation are denominal or deadjetival causative verbs from Romance origin. Some others come from a Latin denominal or deadjectival structure or from a causative meaning which comes as a result of an evolution in their meaning (usually agentive and local). Psychological verbs result from a conflation process by means of which the verb semantically incorporates the psychological element – as it results from a verbal lexicalization of the emotional or psychological noun or adjective, thus shaping a complex predicate. Psychological verbs are consequently complex predicates with a semantically incorporated psychological element.


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