Volume 21, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1606-822X
  • E-ISSN: 2309-5067



On the basis of the argument realization of Mandarin resultative verb compounds, this paper argues that the Proto-Agent properties as well as the Proto-Patient properties proposed by Dowty (1991) are not equal in status. Specifically, the Proto-Agent property corresponding to the Causer and the Proto-Patient property corresponding to the Causee are two higher-ranked properties. In a non-prototype approach to thematic roles, this means that the Causer and the Causee are two higher-ranked thematic roles that are immediately relevant to the argument realization of monotransitive causative predicates. The paper shows that, compared with Dowty’s equal-weight approach, the alternative approach recognizing the Causer and the Causee as two higher-ranked properties or roles can give a simpler, more effective, and more straightforward account of the argument realization associated with monotransitive causative predicates, including lexical causatives, morphological causatives, and resultatives. This study has implications for research in the argument realization of causatives involving three (or more) arguments as well. Meanwhile, it has implications for any theory utilizing thematic hierarchy because (i) none of the thematic hierarchies proposed in the literature includes both the Causer and the Causee and (ii) a complete theory of thematic roles needs to take these two higher-ranked roles into consideration.

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Keyword(s): argument realization; causative; Causee; Causer; resultative; thematic hierarchy
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