Lithuanian morphological causatives

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We analyse morphological causative verbs in Lithuanian on the basis of an annotated corpus, studying the distribution of different causative suffixes across the valency types of base verbs, as well as the argument structure of the causatives themselves. We show that different causative suffixes are unevenly distributed with respect to the transitivity and agentivity of the base verbs and that morphological causatives in Lithuanian, being no longer productive, tend to pattern in their argument structure and interpretation together with ordinary transitive verbs. The not very numerous causatives based on transitive verbs are investigated, and it is shown that causatives based on “ingestive” verbs like ‘eat’ or ‘drink’ behave differently from causatives formed from other semantic types of bases, in particular in that they allow the expression of both participants of the caused event. The non-ingestive transitive verbs derive so called “curative” causatives which are peculiar in that they never allow regular overt expression of the agent of the caused situation and are therefore not valency-increasing in the strict sense of the term. Such causatives are also shown to undergo meaning shifts rendering them partly synonymous with their base verbs, the original causative semantics being lost.


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