Query on analytic causative verbs

John Newman john.newman at UALBERTA.CA
Thu Mar 29 00:12:28 UTC 2012

In my own research on GIVE verbs, I don't work with logician's definitions
of "strict causation" but I do distinguish a "manipulative" kind of
causative from a "pure" causative. "Manipulative" here means that person A
in some way manipulates person (or animate entity)  B to do something or to
be in a new state.

When I was collecting examples of causative uses of GIVE for my research
some years ago, I wasn't ever satisfied that a usage was non-manipulative
until I found an example where there was no possibility of any
interpersonal interaction. So, the Jacaltec example "the sun made the
clothes dry" made it into my category of a "pure" causative extension of a
GIVE verb, but many other causative examples didn't because of the
possibility of construing them only as manipulation of an animate.


On Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 9:09 AM, Suzanne Kemmer <kemmer at rice.edu> wrote:

> Hi all,
> I have been queried about something I wrote a long time ago, and I did not
> document the facts well enough to easily find more examples of a
> particular kind.
> Does anyone know of any languages in which the causative verb in an
> analytic causative construction
> is a verb literally meaning 'give'?    The example I came across in
> fieldwork and mentioned in my
> paper with Arie Verhagen is:   Luo MIYO  'give' which is used as an
> analytic causative verb.
> The easiest way to sum up the analytic causative construction I am talking
> about
> is:   [  Causer    V(of causation)    Causee      V    (Patient)   ]  .
> Examples include English 'I made her laugh'  and the French FAIRE
> causative.
> Case marking/grammatical relations of the participants  can vary across
> languages; word order can vary.  The second verb - the
> one with the variable lexical content, which expresses a predicate of
> result in this construction -- may or may not be finite, and if non-finite
> may or may not have an infinitive marker.
> The range of meanings of the construction should include  'X made Y do
> something'/ 'X caused Y to do something'.
> The reason:
> I am aware that some languages do not sharply distinguish 'strict
> causation' from
> other force dynamic configurations like allowing or ordering; such
> meanings are often found with such constructions as well as  'strict
> causation'.
> 'Strict causation', which I have often been told is the only
> interpretation of such constructions that is typologically relevant, means
> causation
> as logicians define it:   The caused predicate follows the causing
> predicate (or its associated specific action) in time;  and, supposedly, it
> would not have taken place had not X done something unspecified that is
> expressed schematically by the causing predicate.
> Since many linguists are most interested in this 'logical' causation, I
> wanted to make sure examples of the construction include the meaning 'make
> Y do'.    Not just  'let Y do', 'order Y to do' , etc.
> Thanks for any help!
> Suzanne Kemmer
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