Volitional patients

Hollmann, Willem w.hollmann at LANCASTER.AC.UK
Wed Mar 22 18:12:18 UTC 2006

Hi Ã…shild
Peter Cole wrote an interesting article in 1983 about the marking of causees. In case you're not familiar with it, he shows that if a language displays coding differences in terms of causee case marking, they can be accounted in terms of agentivity. Agentivity isn't exactly the same as volitionality, but they are related. One of Cole's examples is from Japanese:
(i)  Taroo ga Ziroo  o ik-ase-ta
 Taro NOM Jiro ACC  caused to go
 'Taro caused Jiro to go' (Cole 1983:125)
(ii) Taroo ga Ziroo  ni ik-ase-ta
 Taro NOM Jiro DAT caused to go
 'Taro caused Jiro to go' (ibid.)
According to Cole in (i) the "the subject of the matrix clause is indifferent to whether the complement subject consents to go" (Cole 1983:125), while (ii) "may be used when the complement willingly carries out the action in question" (ibid.). He goes on to present similar data from Kannada, Modern Hebrew and Hungarian, and suggests that Bolivian Quechua is especially interesting as it features a three-way formal distinction in terms of causee agency (although the intermediate degree seems to be very restricted in terms of the verbs that may display it). He also argues that while in e.g. Italian there's also a (two-way) distinction, there it represents the *grammaticalisation* of agency. 
(iii) Maria fa scrivere Gianni (DO)
 Maria makes to write Johnny
 'Maria makes Johnny write' (Cole 1983:126)
(iv) Maria fa scrivere la lettera (DO) a Gianni (IO)
 Maria makes to write the letter  to Johnny
 'Maria makes Johnny write the letter' (ibid.)
The IO marking on the causee in (iv) is due to the fact that subjects of transitive verbs are typically agents.
Related to the notion of volitionality and agency is the concept of causee resistance. This notion seems to be implicit in Wolfgang Schulze's message, and is more or less explicitly discussed in quite a lot of literature on causatives, e.g. Terasawa (1985), Dixon (2000), Stefanowitsch (2001). I also talk about it a bit in my thesis (Hollmann 2003, cf. also in press). Of course resistance isn't the same as volitionality (or more precisely the lack thereof). Still, in practical terms (i.e. the analysis of examples, especially real, attested examples), I often find it quite hard to tease them apart.

Cole, Peter. 1983. The grammatical role of the causee in universal grammar. International Journal of American Linguistics 49:115-33.
Dixon, R.M.W. 2000. A typology of causatives: form, syntax and meaning. In R.M.W. Dixon & Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, eds., Changing valency. Case studies in transitivity, 30-83. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hollmann, Willem. 2003. Synchrony and diachrony of English periphrastic causatives: a cognitive perspective. Ph.D. diss., University of Manchester.
Hollmann, Willem. In press. Passivasibility of English periphrastic causatives. In Stefan Th. Gries & Anatol Stefanowitsch (eds.), Corpora in cognitive linguistics: corpus-based approached to lexis and syntax. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Stefanowitsch, Anatol. 2001. Constructing causation: a construction grammar approach to analytic causatives. Ph.D. diss., Rice University.
Talmy, Leonard. 2000. Toward a cognitive semantics. Vol. I: concept structuring systems. Cambridge, MA/London: MIT Press.
Terasawa, Jun. 1985. The historical development of the causative use of the verb make with an infinitive. Studia Neophilologica 57:133-43. 
Willem Hollmann 
Dept of Linguistics and English Language 
Lancaster University 
Lancaster LA1 4YT 
Tel: +44 (0)1524 594644 
Fax: +44 (0)1524 843085 

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