The Syntax of (Anti-)Causatives

External arguments in change-of-state contexts

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This book develops an approach to the causative alternation that assumes syntactic event decomposition and a configurational theta theory. It is couched within the framework of the Minimalist Program and, especially, within Distributed Morphology. Central to the work is the syntax and semantics of canonical external arguments of causative verbs as well as of oblique causers and causative PPs in the context of anticausative verbs in different languages such as Germanic, Romance, Balkan, and Caucasian languages. The book also develops a new account of the origin and nature of the morphological marking which is often found on anticausatives across languages. The main claim is that this morphology is a reflex of a syntactic way to prohibit the assignment of the external theta role. Moreover, the book develops an account about the origin of the implicit agent in generic middles which often bear the same morphology as marked anticausatives.

Subjects: Semantics; Syntax; Generative linguistics; Theoretical linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Stuttgart

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