On special causatives

Artemis Alexiadou (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin & Leibniz-ZAS)
joint work with Elena Anagnostopoulou (University of Crete)

In this talk, we will discuss a productive pattern of causativization in Greek that involves verbs that are otherwise internally-caused change of state verbs and normally resist transitive construals. These can become causative under two very specific conditions: first, as has been reported in the literature, they can have transitive variants where the subject is restricted to the causer role. Second, when the object is animate, it must be clitic-doubled and is interpreted as an experiencer (1b). We will focus on the second pattern here:

(1)       a.         ta fruta orimasan                                      Internally caused verb

                       fruits    ripened

b.        i zoi *?(tin) orimase ti Maria                       Special Causative

                       life       cl    ripened Mary-acc

The obligatory presence of a clitic when the subject is a non-volitional causer is found with psychological object experiencer predicates in Greek (Anagnostopoulou 1999, Roussou & Tsimpli 2007):

(2)       a.         ta nea *?(ton) stenahorisan to Jani

                       the news cl   got upset        John-acc

b.        i simberifora su *?(tin) provlimatise ti Maria

                       the behavior  yours cl                        Mary-acc

We will describe the properties of this special class of causative predicates and see to which extent they can be accounted for under recent analyses of Greek object-experiencer predicates (Alexiadou & Iordachioaia 2014). We will further discuss other special  causativization patterns involving unergative predicates, the aim being to identify what causativization strategies can generally be employed and the factors they are sensitive to.