Syntagmatic and paradigmatic dimensions of causee encodings

Linguistics and Philosophy 22 (1):1-44 (1999)
There have been essentially two types of theoretical approaches to account for the grammatical relations associated with the causee argument of causative constructions. Ignoring the specifics of particular theories, there are transitivity based approaches in which the causee is a direct object when the embedded clause is intransitive, and an indirect object or oblique when the embedded clause is transitive. This pattern finds considerable cross-linguistic support. On the other hand, there are languages in which the causee exhibits alternative grammatical relations irrespective of transitivity: the causee direct object correlates with direct causation, while indirect object or oblique causees are associated with indirect causation. Such phenomena have motivated a semantic approach.Focusing primarily on data from Spanish, we account for both sorts of phenomena by proposing a novel extension of Dowty's [(1991) Language 67, 547–619] proto-property proposal, thereby rendering it a comprehensive model of argument selection for both simple and complex predicates. According to Dowty's original Argument Selection Principle, the most proto-patientive argument in a single argument structure tends to be encoded as a direct object. In the case of causatives with intransitive base predicates, the most proto-patientive argument will be the causee. However, if the embedded clause is transitive, the causee will be less proto-patientive that the embedded patient, and will not be encoded as a direct object. Thus, the Argument Selection Principle, operating in a syntagmatic fashion over co-arguments, effectively derives the transitivity-determined causee encodings. In order to address the effects associated with the semantic approach, we develop paradigmatic interpretation of the Argument Selection Principle. That is, when the causee argument varies in degree of proto-patientivity, the most proto-patientive alternant is encoded as a direct object, and any decrease in proto-patientivity is reflected by relational encodings that are sequentially lower than direct object on the relational hierarchy. Thus, the transitivity and semantic effects of causee encoding are accounted for by the interaction of the syntagmatic and paradigmatic argument selection strategies. We propose that these two strategies represent organizing principles for argument selection information associated with lexical entries
Keywords Linguistics   Philosophy of Language   Artificial Intelligence   Computational Linguistics   Semantics   Syntax
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DOI 10.1023/A:1005462027684
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