Lexical Causatives Through Conversion AND Productive Morphological Causatives

Denis Creissels Denis.Creissels at UNIV-LYON2.FR
Mon Jun 2 03:23:41 UTC 2014

Mandinka (Mande) is a good example of a language with both many verbs such
as fàa ‘die’ or ‘kill’, sòto ‘have’ or ‘get’, ké ‘become’ or ‘transform’,
etc. and a very productive morphological derivation. More details can be
found in Creissels, Denis & Pierre Sambou, 2013, Le mandinka : phonologie,
grammaire, textes, Paris: Karthala, or in Creissels (To appear) ‘Valency
properties of Mandinka verbs’ (downloadable with the following link:


On a similar situation in Soninke (another West Mande language), see
Creissels & Diagne (2013) ‘Transitivity in Bakel Soninke’ (downloadable with
the following link :


Basque is another good example of such a situation



De : Discussion List for ALT [mailto:LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG] De
la part de Chao Li
Envoyé : dimanche 1 juin 2014 14:53
Objet : Lexical Causatives Through Conversion AND Productive Morphological


Dear Colleagues,


I was wondering whether anyone was aware of a language that has not only a
number of (say, at least 10) lexical causatives formed through conversion
(i.e. the lexical causative has exactly the same form as a non-causative
adjective or intransitive verb) but also a productive process of forming
morphological causatives through the addition of an affix to the base (e.g.
Japanese causative suffix -(s)ase). With respect to lexical causatives
through conversion, English has a number of examples (see Levin 1993:
244-245; English Verb Classes and Alternations):

(1) abate, alter, blast, blunt, blur, burn, burst, capsize, change, chill,
clear, clean, clog, close, collapse, compress, condense, contract, cool,
corrode, crumble, decompose, decrease, deflate, defrost, degrade, dim,
diminish, dissolve, distend, double, drain, dry, dull, empty, even, explode,
freeze, halt, heal, ignite, improve, increase, inflate, kindle, level, melt,
multiply, narrow, open, overturn, pale, pop, quiet, round, rupture, shrink,
shrivel, shut, sink, slow, smooth, soak, splay, stretch, submerge, subside,
tame, tan, taper, thaw, tilt, topple, triple, unfold, vary, warm, warp

I look forward to your response. Thank you in advance for your time and

Best regards,

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