Mercedes Tubino Blanco
A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
For the Degree of
In the Graduate College
As members of the Dissertation Committee, we certify that we have read the dissertation
prepared by Mercedes Tubino Blanco
entitled Contrasting causatives: a minimalist approach
and recommend that it be accepted as fulfilling the dissertation requirement for the
Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
__________________________________________________ Date 5/3/10
Heidi Harley, Committee Chair
__________________________________________________ Date 5/3/10
Andrew Carnie
__________________________________________________ Date 5/3/10
Rudolph Troike
Final approval and acceptance of this dissertation is contingent upon the candidate’s
submission of the final copies of the dissertation to the Graduate College.
I hereby certify that I have read this dissertation prepared under my direction and
recommend that it be accepted as fulfilling the dissertation requirement.
__________________________________________________ Date 5/3/10
Dissertation director: Heidi Harley
This dissertation has been submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for an
advanced degree at the University of Arizona and is deposited in the University Library
to be made available to borrowers under rules of the Library.
Brief quotations from this dissertation are allowable without special permission, provided
that accurate acknowledgment of source is made. Requests for permission for extended
quotation from or reproduction of this manuscript in whole or in part may be granted by
the head of the major department or the Dean of the Graduate College when in his or her
judgment the proposed use of the material is in the interests of scholarship. In all other
instances, however, permission must be obtained from the author.
SIGNED: Mercedes Tubino Blanco
Writing this dissertation and getting a PhD has been a long and sometimes bumpy road. I
would like to thank many of those who helped make this possible. First of all, I would
like to thank my dissertation committee members, Heidi Harley, Andrew Carnie, and
Rudy Troike, for always being supportive and encouraging. I am grateful to them for
thoroughly reading each of my chapters and providing insightful comments. The contents
and quality of this dissertation greatly benefited from their expertise. Each one of them
deserves an individual dedication.
I met Rudy Troike the first year I started my academic studies at the University of
Arizona. He was the director of the Masters Program in English as a Second Language I
first joined. As my academic advisor, Rudy believed in my potential as a theoretical
linguist and encouraged me to take courses on theoretical syntax from the very beginning.
That is how I met Antxon Olarrea, an excellent professor that made me realize that I
loved syntax and that I was good at it. It was a hard and intense class, one that required
lots of work and thinking in order to solve the weekly ‘Problemas’. However, I was
hooked. Every week, I looked forward to Antxon’s classes on Monday. I will always be
grateful to Antxon for being so inspiring and supportive for all these years.
My second semester in Arizona I met Andrew Carnie, whose classes helped me
realize that theoretical syntax, in general, was what I really wanted to do as a job. Later,
when I joined the PhD program in linguistics, Andrew came to be my mentor. One
encouraging statement he made when I was doubtful between doing a PhD in Linguistics
or in Second Language Acquisition was: ‘You’re a linguist in your heart’. I decided to
join Linguistics. In hard moments, especially when I was lacking confidence and
inspiration at different stages of my thesis, the remembrance of Andrew’s statement made
me feel strong again. During my first years as a PhD student, Andrew was my advisor.
During those years, Andrew was my rock, ‘forcing’ me to meet my deadlines and my
course requirements. I will always be grateful to Andrew for being severe with me when I
most needed it.
During my later years as a PhD student, Heidi Harley became my advisor. Ever
since I met her, she has been my major source of inspiration. I cannot measure all I have
learned from Heidi, but mostly, I have learned from seeing her doing fieldwork and
elicitation. I met Heidi when she gave me a job as a graduate assistant as part of her
research project The Morphosyntax of Hiaki, where Jason Haugen was also working. I
learned a lot of theory from the PhD courses that were part of the academic requirements.
However, I really learned how to become a linguist as part of this research project. Both
Jason and Heidi were very patient with me during the beginning months. I had never
done fieldwork, less so on a non Indo-European language. From elicitation sessions with
Jason and Heidi I learned how to effectively obtain relevant data. Jason patiently taught
me how to transcribe and he was a great companion during conference presentations. I
really missed Jason after left the group to accept a job some place else. My work
continued with Heidi and Joe Sanchez, and Alex Trueman who joined us later. I am
grateful to these people for their insightful questions to our two consultants, Maria
Florez-Leyva and Santos Leyva, that always made me ‘discover’ some new exciting
aspect about the absolutely beautiful Hiaki language. I would like to pause in order to
thank Maria and Santos, to whom I owe almost the entirety of the Hiaki examples
included in this dissertation. Maria and Santos were always patient and affable with us,
and made the elicitation sessions extremely enjoyable, interesting and funny. They not
only are extremely helpful with the data we are specifically interested in, but they also
volunteer new data, always directing us to new exciting aspect of their language. I can
say that Heidi, Jason, Joe, Alex, Maria and Santos have a lot to do with what the new
perspective on linguistics I have right now: the study and documentation of Indigenous
languages of The Americas, which I will continue pursuing at my new position at the
University of Sonora, in Mexico.
The last stages of my dissertation writing have greatly benefited from the help of
my colleagues at the University of Sonora, especially Zarina Estrada Fernández.
Additionally, I am grateful to Lilián Guerrero, from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma
de México and Constantino Martínez, from the University of Sonora, for their help with
some of the Hiaki data and comments to my work.
I am indebted to people in Spain and Portugal that helped me during the first
stages of my dissertation. Thanks to Victor Longa, Xulio Sousa, Rosario Alvarez Blanco,
at Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Anabela Gonçalves from Lisbon, Ana Maria
Brito from Porto, Ángel Gallego, Jaume Mateu, Gemma Rigau, Jon MacDonald, Josep
Maria Brucart, Silvia Martínez, Elías Gallardo and the rest of faculty and students at the
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. I especially would like to thank Jaume Mateu for
suggesting me to include Hiaki as part of the languages of study. I listened to him, and I
will always be happy for that. Finally, I am grateful to Ángel Jiménez, from Universidad
de Sevilla, who first introduced me to generative syntax.
Thanks to all the Spanish and English speakers that helped me with the data
included in this dissertation. They know who they are.
Back in Arizona, I thank the following faculty and staff for their help, support,
and inspiration: Simin Karimi, Andy Barss, Andy Wedel, Adam Ussishkin, Massimo
Piatelli-Palmarini, Mary Willie, Michael Hammond, Jennifer Columbus, Amy Fountain,
and Marian Wisely. Among my peers, I’d like to single out the ones that started the
program with me, especially because we all shared the excitement as well as the
challenges of the first years as a PhD student in Linguistics: Jerid Francom, Mans
Hulden, Yosuke Sato, Michael Anderson, Hannah Soreng, Stacey Oberly, and Selene
Gardner. Jerid and Mans deserve special mention for all the good and (thanks to them not
so bad) times throughout all these years; I miss your crazy conversations at the bar, at
Mans and Micky’s place or at Jerid and Claudia’s place. Other students that deserve
being mentioned here Polly O’Rourke, Alex (again), Shannon Bischoff, Dave Medeiros,
Sylvia Reed, Drew Glines, AJ O’Donnell, Yuko Watanabe, Lindsay Butler, Amy
LaCross and Marisa, Lynnika Butler and Alex, Jeff Punske, Leila Lomashvili, Dainon
Woudstra, Björn Lundquist, Miriam Díaz, Maite Correa, Jaehoon Choi, Deniz Tat, Greg
Key, Angelina Serratos, Alan Hogue, Bryan Gordon, and Dan Brenner.
I especially thank the following friends because I had so much fun with them
when writing was so painful: Jaime Parchment, Lio Mathieu, Adam Usshishkin, Andy
Wedel (as well as my Kip). I thank them for all the good times and conversations
including those in which all I could do was just smile and nod.
Polly: Thanks for being there anytime I was feeling down. Thanks for all good
Miriam, Lily, Laura, Andrés, Claudia (Francom), Gabe, Amagoia, Maite,
Gilberto, Carlos, Mari, Roberto, Hugo, Chuy, Teresa, Charito, Valeria, Nadia, Justin,
Robyn, and the rest of my Spanish-speaking friends, thanks for always making me feel
more like at home.
And, of course, I reserve this part of the acknowledgments page(s) to thank my
friends and family back in Spain, especially my brother, Jose, for being the best brother
ever, my mother, Ana and Manolo for always being there for me, my aunts, Isabel and
Mercedes, for always being so caring and enthusiastic. Thanks, Dad (Rafael Angel) for
always being so inspiring, and Mamen (my sister), for always being so joyful. Without
your help and support, this dissertation would have not been possible. Finally, I thank my
new family, especially, Jon and Jason, for being so intellectually engaging (I really like
you guys), and Tori, whose emails were such a nice break from dissertation writing.
My husband, Kip, has been the most influential person in my life during the
writing of my dissertation. Without his continuous and unconditional encouragement,
interest, support, help, love, understanding, care, etc., etc., etc., this dissertation would
probably not exist. Thanks, baby, for always believing in me, regardless of how little I
did. Thanks for the intense and engaging conversations on the topic, despite your lack of
linguistic instruction. I learned so much from your insights! Thanks for enduring all the
hard moments and for always being there for me. You are a crucial part of this
To the memory of my grandmother, Mercedes Solís Casasolariega, who passed away
when I was writing this dissertation. Thanks, Abuela, for making me feel special and for
having such a particular way to express yourself. This dissertation is dedicated to her.
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION….…………………………………….…………………17
1. Crosslinguistic variation in lexical causatives:
the causative-inchoative alternation………….…………….18
2. Crosslinguistic variation in productive causatives...…....………….……………23
3. Structure of the dissertation…....…….....………………...………….…………..30
1. Introduction…...…………………………………………………………………31
2. Introducing Pylkkänen (2002, 2008)…………………………………………….31
2.1. The data………….…………………………………………...……………….31
2.2. The lexical vs. productive distinction….………………...………………...…33
2.3. Causation and the Causer………….…………………………...……………..34
2.3.1. Causation: An argument increasing phenomenon?......................................35
2.3.2. The interpretation of the causer-less causatives………………..……….....37 The adversity interpretation of Japanese causer-less causatives......….37 desiderative interpretation of the Finnish causer-less causative.....38
2.3.3. Concluding, causers are not intrinsic to causation…..……………..……...45
3. Pylkkänen’s pieces of causation……..……………………………………………46
3.1. The syntax and semantics of Cause…..…….………………..………...……..46
3.1.1. Pylkkänen’s Cause…………….……………………………………...…..46
3.1.2. Cause: a little history………..….……………………………………..….48’s VP shells…….……………………………………................48 verbs and complex predication.…...…………….…….………...50 verbs with null phonological content…….………….………….52 ‘flavors’ of v…...………..………………………..……...….55
3.2. The Causer in Pykkänen’s framework: Kratzer’s (1994, 1996) Voice……....57
4. Pylkkänen’s Voice-bundling parameter……………………………………….….63
4.1. The data………………….…………………………………………………...63
4.2 Voice and Cause: Two different functional heads…………..……………..…64
4.3.The Voice-bundling parameter……..……………..………………………….66
5. Selection…………...…………………………………….…………………….….68
5.1. Cause is parameterized for Selection……..…….….……………………...…68
5.1.1.Marantz (1997): acategorial roots………………………..……….………69
5.1.2. The Selection parameter…………………………………..………….…..71
5.2. Summary……………………………………………………...………….…..76
6. Voice-bundling and selection working in tandem……………………….……….77
6.1.Voice-bundling / Root-selecting Cause (English):
non-agentive complements…………………………………………………..…79
6.2. Voice-bundling Cause (Finnish, Japanese):
Agent complements are allowed……………………………………………….80
6.3. Summary……………..…..…………………………………………………...82
6.4. Pylkkänen’s predictions……..………………………..………………………83
7. Discussion…..……………………………………………………………………..84
1. Introduction……………………….……………………………………………...89
2. Pylkkänen’s model for Root causatives……….…………………………………91
2.1. Voice-bundling Root causatives…………….……………………………… ..91
2.2. Non Voice-bundling Root causatives……….………………………………...93
3. Hiaki lexical causatives………………….……………………………………….97
3.1. Productive and lexical causatives in Hiaki………….………………………...97
3.2. Japanese…………………………………………….…………………………99
3.3. Hiaki lexical causatives are non Voice-bundling and root selecting….……..101
3.3.1. Lexical vCAUSE in Hiaki is Root selecting …..…………………………..102
3.3.2. Hiaki is non Voice-bundling…………..………………………………..113
3.3.3. Summary……………..…………………………………………………115
3.4. Hiaki and Japanese lexical causatives contrasted……….…………………...115
3.4.1. Hiaki disallows the lexical causativization of unergatives……………115
3.4.2. The adversity interpretation of transitive die………………………….121
3.5. Other suppletive verbs in Hiaki……………….……………………………..129
3.5.1. A case study: suppletive causative forms for die crosslinguistically…..131
3.5.2. The phenomenon of suppletion in lexical causatives…………………..132
3.5.3. Kill as a suppletive lexical causative…………………………………...135
3.6. Summary…………………….……………………………………………….139
4. Root causativization of unaccusatives in Voice-bundling languages……………140
4.1. Suppletion cannot explain all cases….………………………………………143
4.2. Testing unaccusativity……….………………………………………………145
4.2.1. Break……………………………………………………………………149
4.2.2. Arrive and appear………………………………………………..……..150
4.2.3. Comparing break with arrive/appear………………...………………...151
4.3. Identifying the locative element………………………….………………….153
4.4. Word order and pro-loc in Romance………………….……………………..155
4.5. The deictic component has nothing to do with Voice-bundling..….…...……160
4.6. There-construction and locative inversion: a deictic correlative?……...........164
4.7. Potential problems……………………………………………….……..……167
4.7.1. Leave does not behave the same as arrive……………………………...168
4.7.2. Japanese………………………………………………………………...174
4.8. Summary………………………………………………………………….…176
5. Conclusion……………………………………………………………………….177
1. Introduction……………………………………………………………………..180
2. English productive causatives…………………………………………………..181
2.1. English vCAUSE has different flavors………………………………………...181
2.2. English make is phase selecting……………………………………………..183
2.2.1. What is ‘phase’ for Pylkkänen………………………………………...184
2.2.2. On phases……………………………………………………………...184
2.2.3. VoiceP as a phase: introductory ideas………………………………...186
2.3. Diagnostics…………………………………………………………………..190
2.3.1 Internal VP modification………………………………………………...191
2.3.2. Verbal morphology between the root and vCAUSE…….…………………192
2.3.3. Agentive modification is possible under make…………………………193
2.3.4. High applicative morphology is allowed between vCAUSE and the root....195
2.3.5. Causatives of unergatives and transitives are possible…………………197
2.3.6. Unaccusative causatives………………………………………………...198
2.4. Summary…………………………………………………………………….200
3. VoiceP is a phase……………………………………………………………….201
3.1. Passives contain VoiceP…………………………………………………….201
3.2. VoiceP is contained in active sentences: evidence from ellipsis…….……...205
3.3. The complement of make is not TP…………………………………………209
3.4. The complement of make is a VoiceP phase………………………………..212
3.5. Summary……………………...……………………………………………..219
4. Passive causatives with make…………………………………………………….220
4.1. Passive make………………………………………………………………...220
4.2. A preliminary analysis………………………………………………………225
4.3. The nature of to in the syntax of passive causatives………………………...227
4.3.1. Hornstein et al. (2006)………………………………………………….227
4.3.2. Other analyses: Santorini & Heycock (1988), Higginbotham (1983)….230
4.4. The role of T features in Agree relations:
Pesetsky & Torrego (2001, 2004a,b, 2006)…………………………………236
4.4.1. The auxiliary do is an instance of T in C……………………………….236
4.4.2. That is an instance of T in C…………………………………………....237
4.4.3. Two types of T………………………………………………………….239
4.5. To is an instance of To raised to Voice……………………………………...240
4.5.1. Asymmetries in passive causatives……………….……………………..240
4.5.2. Voice contains a uT feature……………………….…………………….241
4.5.3. To is an instance of valued T on Voice…………….…………...………241
4.5.4. The valuation of uT on Voice by matrix T……………………………..242
4.5.5. The valuation of uT on Voice by matrix To…………………………….243
4.5.6. The valuation of uT on Voice by embedded To………………………...244
4.5.7. Extending the proposal to other structures……………………………...246
4.6. Summary…………………………………………………………………….248
4.7. Passive causatives not containing Voice…………………………………….249
4.8. Cause to……………………………………………………………………..251
5. Summary and conclusion………………………………………………...………253
0. Introduction……………………………………………………………………..254
1. Hiaki productive causatives: The data………………………………………….255
1.1. Morphological causatives………………………….………………………...255
1.2. Types of verbs embedded by productive causatives………………………...256
1.3. The arguments of Hiaki productive causatives……………………………...257
1.3.1.A contrast between –tua and –tevo……………………………………..257
1.3.2. The causee argument…......……………………………………………258 –tua requires an explicit causee……………………………………258 –tevo generally disallows an explicit causee………………………259
1.4. Summary…………………………………………………………………….260
2. The direct causative –tua………………………………………………………...260
2.1. Productive –tua……………………………………………………………...260
2.1.1. The vCAUSE occupied by productive –tua selects VoiceP….…….………260
2.1.2. Is –tua phase selecting?............................................................................261
2.1.3. Direct causative –tua is non Voice-bundling…………………………...265
2.1.4. -tua disallows passive complements……………………………………267
2.1.5. Summary………………………………………………………………..272
2.2. Other uses of –tua…………………………………………………………...273
2.2.1. ‘To pretend’…………………………………………………………….273
2.2.2. ‘Let’………………………...…………………………………………..274
2.2.3. Analysis………… ……………………………………………………274
2.3. Nominal and Root complements of –tua……………………………………275
2.3.1. Nominal complements of –tua………………………………………….276
2.3.2. Root complements of –tua……………………………………………...278
2.3.3. Analysis…………………………………………………………………278
2.4. Lexical causatives with –tua may be embedded by productive –tua………..283
2.4.1. The argument structure…………………………………………………283
2.4.2. A morphological restriction…………………………………………….285
2.4.3. Analysis...………………………………………………………………286
2.5. Lexical causatives with –tua embedded by productive causative –tevo…….287
2.6. Summary…………………………………………………………………….288
3. The syntax of –tevo………………………………………………………………289
3.1. The indirect causative –tevo is verb-selecting………………………………289
3.2. –tevo: an analysis……………………………………………………………290
3.2.1. -tevo is non Voice-bundling…………………………………………….291
3.2.2. –tevo is verb-selecting…………………………………………………..292
3.3. The causee is excluded from –tevo causatives………………………………294
3.3.1. Subjects of causativized passives……………………...……………….295
3.3.2. Number agreement between causees in intransitive suppletive verbs….298
4. The –tua-tevo causative………………………………………………………….298
4.1. The elimination of the embedded subject in –tua-tevo………...……………300
4.2. –tevo is verb-selecting and –tua is non Voice-bundling…………………….301
5. Indirect causatives with seemingly overt causees………………………………..301
5.1. –tevo: an apparent optionality……………………………………………….305
5.2. Internal arguments of yepsa/yevih-/yahi- ‘arrive’ in –tevo causatives………307
5.3. The passive interpretation of ne’e ‘fly’ as the complement of –tevo………..311
5.4. Summary…………………………………………………………………….312
6. Conclusion……………………………………………………………………….313
0. Introduction…………………………………………………………………….315
1. Syntactic properties of hacer…………………………………………………...316
1.1. FI versus FQ...……………………………………………………………....316
1.2. The complement of FI versus the complement of FQ………...……………320
1.2.1. FI and FQ with unergative, transitive, and accusative complement…….320
1.2.2. FI is more restricted than FQ……………………………………………321
1.3. FI versus FP…………………………………………………………………323
1.4. Non-verbal complements of hacer………………………………………….324
1.5. Unaccusative hacer…………………………………………………………325
1.6. Summary…………………………………………………………………....327
2. Hacer may be functional or lexical……………………………………………..328
2.1. Italian fare: Folli & Harley (2003, 2007)…...………………………………328
2.2. Lexical hacer: the FP construction………………………………………….331
2.2.1. Hacer in FP is VºDO…………….……………………………………...331
2.2.2. Passives of causatives…………………………………………..……..335
2.2.3. Restructuring and FP………………………………………………….338
2.3. Functional hacer: FQ…………………………………………………….…345
3. Spanish FI…………………………………………………………………...….348
3.1. Proposal…………………………………………………………………….348
3.2. Some previous accounts……………………………………………………350
3.2.1. Treviño (1994)……………………………………………………….351
3.2.2. Recent proposals:
The syntax of the causee and the functional nature of hacer……………355
3.3. FI in Italian: Folli & Harley (2003, 2007)…………………………………356
3.3.1. Basic analysis………………………………………………………..356
3.3.2. The dative causee…...…………………………………………….…359
3.4. Spanish applicatives……………………………………………………….360
3.4.1. Cuervo’s (2003) affected applicative……………………...…………360
3.4.2. Productive hacer and applicative causees……………...…………….361
3.4.3. Datives with FQ……………………………………….……………...366
3.5. The animacy of the dative………….…...…....…………………………..…..368
3.6. The clitic doubling of the dative…...…....…………………..……….370
3.7. Agent-oriented verbal modifiers………….......………………...……………372
3.8. External arguments and depictives……....….………..………………………373
3.9. FI does not allow agentless complements….…..………………….…………374
3.10. The causee may be a derived subject…….......………………………..……376
3.11. Summary…………..…………………..……………………………………377
4. FN: hacer with non-verbal complements…………………………………..……378
5. Unaccusative hacer…..…………………………………………………………..382
5.1. The complement of the unaccusative may be a finite CP...........……………385
5.2 The matrix verb exhibits default (3sg) agreement……….......……………….387
5.3. Only datives are allowed in this construction…………….....………….……388
5.4. Hacer in weather/time constructions…...………………..…...……………...389
5.5. Other instances of hacer with no external argument…...…..…...…………...391
6. Conclusion……………………………………..…………………………...……393
CHAPTER 7 CONCLUDING REMARKS………………………………………………395
Direct causative
Indirect causative
Complementizer Phrase
Determiner Phrase
hacer-subjunctive with dative
final vowel
Noun Phrase
Past tense
Prepositional Phrase
Past participle
Small Clause
Tense Phrase
Verb Phrase
Voice Phase
Root Phrase
1st person
2nd person
3rd person
This dissertation explores the mechanisms behind the linguistic expression of causation
in English, Hiaki (Uto-Aztecan) and Spanish. Pylkkänen’s (2002, 2008) analysis of
causatives as dependent on the parameterization of the functional head vCAUSE is chosen as
a point of departure. The studies conducted in this dissertation confirm Pylkkänen’s claim
that all causatives involve the presence of vCAUSE. They further confirm that variation is
conditioned by both the selectional and ‘Voice-bundling’ properties of the causative
head. I show that this pattern triggers differences across languages, although other factors
are also responsible for the existence of multiple causative configurations within
In some languages (e.g. English), causatives require the obligatory presence of an
external argument (i.e., Causer). I provide additional data supporting Pylkkänen’s
proposal that causation (in certain languages) may also exist in the absence of a syntactic
Causer. In particular, I offer data from Hiaki indirect causatives and Spanish desiderative
causatives (e.g., ¿Te hace salir? ‘2sg.dat (expl)makes go.out, Do you feel like going
out?’), and weather/temporal constructions (e.g., Hace mucho calor ‘(expl) makes much
heat, It’s very hot’) in support of this hypothesis.
The results of this research, however, question Pylkkänen’s claim that certain
languages may allow the Root-causativization of transitives and unergatives. I show that
this is not possible even in languages that exhibit Causer-less causatives (e.g., Hiaki).
Moreover, certain unaccusatives (e.g., arrive) also resist (Root) causativization crosslinguistically, regardless of the ‘Voice-bundling’ properties inherent to the causativizing
head. I claim that this happens in contexts in which unaccusative verbs exhibit
‘unergative’ behavior (i.e., whenever they involve syntactic elements that are basegenerated in positions higher than the root).
Cross-linguistic variation in the expression of causation is not always a direct
consequence of the internal properties of the causative predicate. Because of languageinternal requirements, different languages impose specific limitations on the syntactic
realization of causative structures. For instance, English and Spanish heavily rely on
Agreement relations among their constituents. The consequence of this is that it is
difficult in these languages to discern what elements really are part of causation and what
elements are not, as well as the nature of the elements involved in causatives (e.g.,
whether the dative in Spanish productive causatives is an external argument or an
applicative). This dissertation addresses all these questions.
The aim of this dissertation is to look at the syntax of causatives in Spanish, English, and
Hiaki, placing special emphasis on the syntax of productive causatives. The research
questions behind this investigation are the following:
(1) Research questions
(a) What are the ‘pieces’ of causation?
(b) Are the ‘pieces’ of causation the same in all languages?
(c) How are different types of causatives (ie., lexical vs. productive) syntactically
encoded? Do they involve the same ‘pieces’?
(d) How does the general internal architecture of languages contribute to the linguistic
expression of causation?
(e) What determines crosslinguistic variation in the expression of causation? Are
the ‘pieces’ of causation encoded differently across languages or are they constant
while variation is contributed by elements external to causation itself?
In order to answer these questions, I adopt, as a departure point, the minimalist model
recently developed by Pylkkänen (2002, 2008) in which she accounts for specific patterns
of variation observed in the formation of lexical and morphological causatives in a
number of languages. For this author, variation in causatives essentially originates in the
‘pieces’ of causation themselves. She argues that the central piece of causation, the
functional element Cause, is parameterized in the sense of Chomsky’s (1981) Principles
and Parameters model. That is, semantically, Cause is a functional element that
contributes the meaning of causation to linguistic structures; syntactically, different
instances of Cause involve contrasted properties across languages and, presumably, also
within languages, in the expression of different types of causation (lexical vs.
productive). This is, according to Pylkkänen, what explains the observed variation in the
linguistic expression of causation both across and within languages.
Pylkkänen’s model makes a very important contribution to the study of variation
in causative structures by making straightforward predictions about the behavior and
properties of the elements participating in causatives in a number of languages. However,
the model is not free of pitfalls. In this dissertation, I review Pylkkänen’s account of
causatives, in order to (i) revise some of the wrong predictions that Pylkkänen’s model
appears to make involving the syntax of certain causatives, (ii) extend the revised model
to account for the syntax of productive causatives, which are not specifically treated by
Pylkkänen, and which may be expressed periphrastically (ie. Spanish or English) or
morphologically (ie. Hiaki or Japanese). Chapter 2 offers an extensive review of
Pylkkänen’s model.
1. Crosslinguistic variation in lexical causatives: the causative-inchoative alternation
Consider the English sentences in (2). The verb in these sentences, open, exhibits the
causative-inchoative alternation.
(2) a. Inchoative open
The door opened
b. Causative open
John opened the door
The contrast exhibited in the sentences in (2) is a clear illustration of the causativeinchoative alternation in English. The verb open is an alternating verb in that it has two
uses: a) intransitive (2a), and b) transitive (2b). Verbs exhibiting both transitive and
intransitive uses are alternating if (i) the transitive use means ‘cause to V-intransitive’
and (ii) ‘the semantic relationship between the two variants is reflected in the fact that the
subject of the intransitive variant and the object of the transitive variant bear the same
semantic role’ (Levin and Rappaport Hovav 1993: 79). Thus, the verb open in (2)
participates in the alternation because (i) the transitive sentence in (2b) can be
paraphrased as John caused the door to open, and (ii) the subject of the intransitive
variant in (2a), the door, has the same semantic role than –and is in fact identical to, the
object of the transitive variant in (2b).
Transitive alternating verbs are conventionally described as lexical causatives,
whereas their intransitive counterparts are identified as inchoative (ie., Lakoff (1965),
Lyons (1969), Fodor (1970), Cruse (1972), Dowty (1979), Borer (1991), Haspelmath
(1993), Levin & Rappaport-Hovav (1995), Song (1996), Piñón (2001), Alexiadou et al.
(2004), Schäfer (2008, 2009)). Typically, alternating verbs are change-of-state verbs.
Their difference in terms of meaning/thematic structure is that only the causative use
involves the presence of an (often agentive) causer. If an alternating verb is used
inchoatively, the event will be perceived as spontaneous. Open in (2) is a change-of-state
verb (ie., both sentences in (2) involve a change of the state undergone by the door, from
an initial state closed to the resultant state open).
Regarding the meaning contrast involving the causative and the inchoative uses,
only the causative sentence in (2b) explicitly specifies the cause originating the change of
state (ie. the agent John). In the case of the inchoative sentence in (2a), the source
causing the change of state is linguistically omitted (ie., only the change of state per se
and the resultant portion of the event is presented, but not the source causing the door to
open) . Other alternating change-of-state verbs are close, break, dry, stop, sink, and boil.2
The causative-inchoative alternation is a crosslinguistic phenomenon. Thus,
change-of-state verbs such as open and break universally form lexical causatives.
Nonetheless, the alternation is not exempt from variation from one language to another.
The alternation has received multiple analyses both typological and theoretical.
Classical typological classifications may be found in Comrie (1981), Haspelmath
(1993) or Shibatani (2002). Typological studies identify causative alternations with
respect to the form they present (ie., whether the alternation involves the derivation of
one form from the other). They classify languages regarding the type of alternations they
For instance, in his (1993) typological survey on the causative-inchoative
alternation, Haspelmath identifies several language classes, depending on what form
seems to be derived from the other. Thus, some languages (eg. French, (4a)) exhibit what
he terms the causative alternation in which the inchoative form is basic and the causative
form is morphologically derived. Some other languages (eg. Russian, (3b)) exhibit the
anticausative alternation, in which the basic form is the causative and the inchoative is
derived. Some other languages (eg. Japanese, (3c)) exhibit non-directed or equipollent
alternations in which neither form is derived from the other. In suppletive alternations
(eg. Russian, 3d), different verb roots are used. Finally in labile alternations (eg. English,
(3e)) the same verb is used for both forms. I show some examples in (3) and (4).
See Ramchand (2008) for an event-based account of the phenomenon, whereby she divides the change of
state event in three different sub-events, the initiating event expressing the source causing the change of
state, the process expressing the actual change of state, and the result encoding the resultant state.
See Levin & Rappaport Hovav (1995) for a more detailed lexical-semantic account of the phenomenon.
(3) Haspelmath typological classification of the alternations
a. Causative – French
faire fondre
melt (intr.)
make melt, melt (tr.)
b. Anticausative – Russian
roll (intr.)
roll (tr.)
c. Non-directed/equipollent – Japanese
gather (intr.) gather (tr.)
d. Suppletive – Russian
burn (intr.)
burn (tr.)
e. Labille – English
burn (intr.)
burn (tr.)
Lakoff (1965), Lyons (1969), Fodor (1970), Cruse (1972), Dowty (1979), Levin &
Rappaport-Hovav (1995) and Borer (1991) are examples of theoretical analyses of the
construction. Many of the theoretical approaches to the construction discuss the question
of whether the causative or the inchoative forms are one derived from the other. Fodor,
for instance, presents arguments contra approaches such as Lakoff (1965) and Lyons
(1969), that lexical causatives (ie., melt, kill) are not derived from their inchoative forms
(ie., melt, die). One of the arguments he offers against this view has to do with the event
structures that ‘cause to die/melt’ and ‘kill/melt’ encode. He claims that kill/melt cannot
mean cause to die/melt because the two structures involve differences in their event
All the examples in (3) with the exception of (3e) have been taken from Haspelmath (1993:91-92[6-10])
structure: whereas cause to die/melt is bieventive kill/melt is monoeventive. . He shows
this in the following examples.
(5) a. (Floyd (caused (the glass to melt on Sunday))) (by (heating it on Saturday))
b. *Floyd melted the glass on Sunday by heating it on Saturday
Fodor (1970: 433[17, 19])
Fodor argues that, were causative melt derived from non-causative melt, the sentence in
(5b) would be grammatical, like (5a). The contrast then shows, according to Fodor, that
causative melt is not derived from inchoative melt. After Fodor, some authors such as
Cruse (1972) continued defending Fodor’s approach. Many other authors, however, still
sustained that the causative is derived from the inchoative form. Dowty (1979), for
instance, posits that the causative is derived from the inchoative via a ‘causative rule’.
The result is the addition of a predicate, CAUSE, to the original form, which has a
semantic impact.
More recent approaches (ie., Borer (1991), Harley (1995, 2006), Piñón (2001),
Pylkkänen (2002, 2008), Ramchand (2008), Schäfer (2008)) argue that no form is derived
from the other, but they both involve different syntactic configurations in which the same
(lexical) root (ie., √) participates. Different syntactic configurations involve different
functional heads (e.g., vBECOME vs. vCAUSE for i.e., Harley (1995) or Res(ult) vs. Proc(ess)
vs. Init(iation) for ie., Ramchand (2008)). In these models the lexical root provides the
basic lexical meaning to the construction, whereas the syntactic configuration determines
whether the resulting construction is inchoative or causative. I show a diagram in (6).
See chapter 3 for further discussion on the event structure of lexical causatives. For further reading see,
for instance, Shibatani (1975, 2002), Harley (1995, 2006) or Ramchand (2008)).
(6) a. Unaccusative
b. Causative
the door
The door opened
the door
John opened the door
Harley (2006: 27[30])
In this dissertation I adopt an approach along the lines of (6) in which the causativeinchoative alternation does not involve one form derived from the other, but each form is
independently formed, compositionally. Chapter 3 offers an account of the causativeinchoative alternation (ie., lexical causatives) in English, Spanish, and Hiaki.
2. Crosslinguistic variation in productive causatives
Consider the English sentences in (7). The verb sleep is used non causatively in (7a) and
causatively in (7b).
(7) a. Non causative
John is sleeping
b. Causative
Mary is making John sleep
The contrast in (7) distinguishes an English productive causative construction (7b) from
its non-causative counterpart (7b). Unlike lexical causatives (see previous section),
English productive causatives involve the overt presence of a causative verb, make (7b).
Typically, this causative along with the presence of an additional (external) argument,
Mary (7b), are surface indicators of causation in English or other languages like Spanish
and the rest of Romance languages that express productive causation via ‘supporting’
verbs such as make.
The presence of an overt causative marker, however, is not always an indication of
productive causation. This is, for instance, the case of languages that express causation
morphologically, such as Hiaki, Japanese or Finnish. In these languages, lexical and
productive causatives may be expressed via an identical base form. An example is offered
in (8).
(8) Lexical vs. productive causation in Japanese
a. Taroo-ga hahaoya-o sin-ase-ta
Taro-nom mother-acc die-cause-past
i. ‘Taro caused his mother to die’
ii. ‘Taro’s mother died on him’ (adversity)
Pylkkänen (2008: 108[56])
b. Taroo-ga musuko-o sini-taku-sase-ta
Taro-nom son-acc die-des-cause-past
i. ‘Taro made his son want to die’
ii. *’Taro was adversely affected by his son’s wanting to die’ (adversity)
Pylkkänen (2008: 109[60])
Both Japanese sentences in (8) express causation via the suffix –(s)ase ‘cause/make’.
Nonetheless authors such as Shibatani (1973), Miyagawa (1998), Harley (2006) and also
Pylkkänen (2002, 2008) show both surface and structural evidence that distinguish lexical
from productive causatives, even in affixal languages like Japanese.
For instance, as pointed out by Pylkkänen (2006, 2008), only the sentence in (8a)
may be interpreted as a lexical causative. The sentence in (8b) is obligatorily interpreted a
productive causative. This is so since only the sentence in (8a) is (i) ambiguous in its
interpretation, and (ii) allows an idiosyncratic interpretation, the so called ‘adversity’
interpretation of causatives (8a, ii). Because of the way structural properties trigger
compositional interpretations, productive causatives disallow idiomatic readings, so the
intended idiomatic interpretation of (8b, ii) is disallowed.
A morphological contrast between lexical and productive causatives has been
discussed by authors like Harley (2006). The contrast involves the surface form of the
causative suffix. Whereas lexical causative markers tend to exhibit idiosyncratic forms
(ie., -osi, -e, Ø), productive causative markers tend to exhibit invariable forms (ie., -sase).
A clear example of this morphological distinction is shown in (9). The example is from
Shibatani (1973).
(9) a. Lexical
Taroo-wa Hanako-o rokuzi-ni ok-osi-ta
Taro-top Hanako-acc six-dat get.up-cause-past
‘Taro got Hanako up at six’
b. Productive
Taroo-wa Hanako-o rokuzi-ni oki-sase-ta
Taro-top Hanako-acc six-dat get.up-cause-past
‘Taro made Hanako get up at 6’
In (9), the lexical causative (9a) is the example that exhibits allomorphy in its surface
form (ie., -osi). The productive causative (9b), in contrast, is expressed via the typically
invariable form -sase.
Adverbial scope is another test used by authors like Shibatani (1973) in order to
distinguish lexical from productive causatives. This test is indicative of the amount of
structure that is embedded by the causative.5
Pylkkänen (2002, 2008) uses the adverbial modification test in order to identify the nature of the
functional material that is present in different types of causatives. See chapters 2 and 3 for further
discussion on Pylkkänen’s approach.
Shibatani explains that only productive causatives allow ambiguous scope of
temporal adverbs. For instance, in the lexical causative in (9a) above, the temporal adverb
rokuzi-ni ‘at six’ has non-ambiguous scope and it necessarily modifies the whole clause.
That is, the adverb simiultaneously indicates the time of Taro causing Hanako to get up
(ie, the causing event) and the time of Hanako getting up (ie., the caused event). This is
an indication that there is no structural separation between the causing event and the
caused event in lexical causatives.
In productive causatives, in contrast, the temporal adverb rokuzi-ni ‘at six’ has
ambiguous scope. That is, the adverb may independently modify the causing event or the
caused event. If it modifies the causing event, we get the interpretation that Taro, at six,
made Hanako get up. If it modifies the caused event only, we get the interpretation that
Taro (e.g., at five) made Hanako get up at six.
So in productive causatives, modification of the caused event may happen
independently of the causing event, which is a sign that this causative type is bi-eventive.
In the case of lexical causatives, the two events cannot be independently modified, so
they are identified as mono-eventive. Further discussion of the differences between
productive and lexical causatives will be offered in chapter 3.
Most approaches to causatives associate the presence of the external argument or
agent, typically identified as the Causer, with the presence of a verbal/predicative element
involving causation. Theoretical approaches assume that light (functional) verbs
introduce the external argument (ie., Hale & Keyser (1993), Chomsky (1995), Harley
(1995, 2006), Folli & Harley (2003, 2007)). These approaches coincide in that it is the
presence of vCAUSE that guarantees the presence of the additional external argument in
(7b). In other approaches to causation that do not treat CAUSE as a light verb (Fillmore
(1971), Shibatani (1973), Baker (1988)) the appearance of the external argument (eg.,
agent, ‘force’, instrument, cause, etc) in causative structures is still triggered by the
presence of causation, typically as a theta role assigned from the verb. I show a diagram
of an Italian productive causative under Folli & Harley’s analysis in (10).
Gianni ha fatto riparare la macchina a Mario
Gianni has made repair the car to Mario
‘Gianni made Mario repair the car’
DP dat
a Mario
la macchina
Folli & Harley (2007: 207[16a])
In Folli & Harley’s analysis in (10), the light verb vCAUSE introduces the external
argument/agent/causer Gianni. Analyses such as (10) presuppose then that productive
causatives and causatives in general all involve the presence of a Causer.
In contrast, authors such as Pylkkänen (2002, 2008), Schäfer (2008, 2009),
Alexiadou et al. (2004, 2005), Harley (2007) and Tubino & Harley (to appear) offer
arguments in favor of Kratzer’s (1994, 1996) proposal that the external argument is
introduced by an independent functional projection, Voice, which does not have any
causative component to its semantics. In this sense, there is a dissociation between the
mechanism that brings about causation (ie., vCAUSE) and the mechanism that introduces
external arguments into structures. This is a desirable idea, since the external argumentcause relation is asymmetrical: Cause involves an external argument but the presence of
an external argument does not involve Cause. I show a diagram of Tubino & Harley’s
proposed structure of Hiaki productive causatives in (11).
uusi-ta hitto‘child’ ‘treat’
Maria hitevi-ta uusi-ta hitto-tua
Maria doctor-acc child-acc treat-cause
‘Maria is making the doctor treat the chid'
Tubino & Harley (to appear)
The diagram for the Hiaki productive causative in (11) shows the independence of the
Causer Maria from the light verb (the causative marker/suffix) –tua ‘make’, as they are
introduced in the structure by independent functional heads, Voiceº in the case of the
external argument, and vº (ie., cause) in the case of the causative marker. This is the
approach I will follow in this dissertation.
Approaches that dissociate the appearance of Cause from the presence of an
external argument (such as Pylkkänen 2002, 2008) identify a source for crosslinguistic
variation in that some languages present causative structures lacking an external
argument. This is the case of Finnish desiderative causatives (12).
(12) Maija-a laula-tta-a
Maija-part sing-cause-3sg
‘Maija feels like singing’
Pylkkänen (2008: 95[32a])
The Finnish desiderative causative in (12) exhibits a causative marker, -tta, in the
absence of an external argument (the only argument Maija is not an external argument,
but an experiencer).
Another source of crosslinguistic variation identified in productive causatives (eg.,
Shibatani 1975) is the affixal versus non-affixal charater of the causative marker. For
instance, the Finnish causative marker -tta and the Hiaki causative marker -tua are
affixal, whereas the English causative marker make and the Romance causative markers
fare (Italian) and hacer (Spanish) are non-affixal. Despite this morphological contrast,
causative structures show parallel syntactic patterns crosslinguistically. Such is the case
of Spanish causatives, which like Finnish causatives (12), may allow the presence of a
causative marker hacer ‘make’ in the absence of an external argument (13).
(13) Me hace cantar
1sg.dat make(3sg) sing
‘I feel like singing’
The Spanish non-affixal causative in (13) shares with the Finnish affixal causative in (12)
(i) the possibility of finding the causative verb hacer in the absence of an external
argument, (ii) the experiencer interpretation of its only argument, the first singular clitic
me, (iii) the desiderative interpretation of the construction. In chapters 4, 5, and 6, I study
this and other syntactic parallelisms observed in the structure of English, Hiaki, and
Spanish productive causatives.
3. Structure of the dissertation
In chapter 2, I introduce and discuss the framework I adopt in my analysis, Pylkkänen’s
(2002, 2008). In this chapter, I describe Pylkkänen’s predictions and I point out potential
problems with the framework. In chapter 3, I use data from English, Spanish and Hiaki
lexical causatives in order to test Pylkkänen’s framework, and I explain some
constructions found in these languages that pose a problem to the framework. In chapters
4, 5, and 6 I develop an analysis based on Pylkkänen’s framework for English, Hiaki and
Spanish productive causatives respectively. I conclude that Pylkkänen’s framework
successfully predicts the core structure of productive causatives. Nonetheless, the
addition of layers of syntactic structure, typical of these constructions as compared with
their lexical counterparts, let language-proper mechanisms independent of causation itself
be a major source of variation in the linguistic realization of productive causatives across
1. Introduction
In this chapter, I discuss Pylkkänen’s (2002, 2008) model for causatives, which is the
theoretical framework adopted as the basis for the study of causatives undertaken in this
dissertation. This chapter does not present new data other than to support specific points,
but it is merely a review of Pylkkänen’s proposal, discussion, and results. In section 2, I
present and discuss Pylkkänen’s original data and I introduce ideas that are central to her
proposal. In section 3 I discuss Pylkkänen’s pieces of causation, the functional head
Cause and the functional head Voice; In section 4 I discuss Pylkkänen’s Voice-bundling
parameter. In section 5 I discuss her Selection parameter. Section 6 illustrates how
Pylkkänen’s framework works regarding predictions associated with different
applications of the parameters. Section 7 is the conclusion.
2. Introducting Pylkkänen (2002, 2008)
2.1. The data
Causative structures across languages exhibit systematic patterns of resemblance as well
as variation. Pylkkänen (2002, 2008) offers the sentences in (3) to illustrate a clear
systematic similarity in the way English, Japanese and Finnish express lexical causatives.
All three languages in (1-3) allow the causative-inchoative alternation: English break (1a,
b), Japanese kusa- ‘rot’ (2a, b), and Finnish hajo- ‘break’ (3a, b)).
(1) English zero (lexical) causatives: The causative-inchoative alternation
a. Non-causative
The window broke
(2) Japanese causatives
a. Non-causative
Yasai-ga kusa-tta
Vegetable-nom rot-past
‘The vegetable rotted’
b. Causative
Mary broke the window
b. Causative
Taroo-ga yasai-o kus-ase-ta
Taro-nom vegetable-acc rot-cause-past
‘Taro caused the vegetable to rot’
(3) Finnish causatives
a. Non-causative
b. Causative
Ikkuna hajo-si
Liisa hajo-tt-i ikkuna-n
Window(nom) break-past Liisa(nom) break-cause-past window-acc
‘The window broke’
‘Liisa broke the window’
Pylkkänen 2008:81[1-3]
The sentences in (1-3) represent the basic data analyzed by Pylkkänen. Next I introduce
the key ideas regarding Pylkkänen’s analysis.
The English causatives referred to throughout Pylkkänen’s work are English zero (ie., lexical) causatives.
This dissertation will focus on the syntax of periphrastic (ie., productive or syntactic) causatives (eg.,
English causatives with make).The restrictions encountered in productive causatives as well as their
argument realization are different than those observed for lexical causatives. Compare the following
English examples:
a. John made Mary cry
b. John made Mary sit in the chair
*John cried Mary
b. John sat Mary in the chair
Pylkkänen explains the restrictions in (ii) associated with the (zero) causativization of certain types of
verbs such as the unergative cry in terms of the syntactic properties of this causative type. Pylkkänen’s
discussion on this matter will be described later in this chapter. She does not discuss the syntax of English
productive causatives with make (eg. (i)), which will be the main focus of this dissertation.
2.2. The lexical vs. productive distinction
The three examples above exhibit the so-called inchoative-causative alternation in
English, Japanese and Finnish, respectively, the (a) examples representing non-causative
constructions in each of the languages, the (b) examples exhibiting their causative
Structures participating in the inchoative-causative alternation have been
traditionally classified as ‘lexical causatives’ (ie., Comrie 1976, Shibatani 1973, 2002;
Levin & Rappaport-Hovav 1995). In chapter 1 I discuss the traditional opposition made
between lexical and syntactic or productive causatives, (ie., Mary made John break the
window). Structurally speaking, lexicalist studies of causatives (ie., Levin & Rappaport
Hovav 1995) have classified sentences like (1b) as ‘lexical’ and sentences like (3b) as
‘productive’, claiming that the former are formed in the ‘lexicon’ (ie., the causative
component of English verbs like break is learned as part of its lexical entry) whereas the
latter are formed compositionally, in the syntax.
Pylkkänen (1999, 2002, 2008) challenges this view by claiming that all structures
in (1-3) are the same in that they are all formed compositionally, in the syntax. They all
share one same component, the causative element that she terms Cause. The sentences in
(1-3) exhibit variation because the causative element, Cause, that is part of all causative
sentences, is syntactically flexible, that is, it is compatible with configurations of
different nature (in Pylkkänen’s terms, it is parameterized, in Chomsky’s (1981) sense).
This is, in a nutshell, the essence of Pylkkänen’s proposal. In the next subsections I
discuss other important ideas to take into account to understand her model.
2.3. Causation and the Causer
The causative-inchoative alternation in the sentences in (1-3) involves an argumentstructure-altering process. In this process, some predicate (eg. break (1), kus- ‘rot’ (2),
and hajo ‘break’ (3)) has the number of its arguments increased by the introduction of a
new element, which becomes the syntactic subject of the sentence and which is typically
interpreted as an external argument or Causer7. That is, in all the examples above, the (b)
sentences exhibit the additional arguments Mary (1b), Taroo-ga ‘Taro’ (2b) and Liisa
‘Lisa’ (3b), which are interpreted as having an active participation in bringing about the
events described by the non-causative sentences in (1a), (2a) and (3a) respectively.
This argument-increasing phenomenon is one of the main points of resemblance
shared by causative structures across languages. Pylkkänen (2002, 2008) points out that
this is not totally accurate. She argues that, in some languages (eg. English) the syntax of
causative sentences appears to be linked, in effect, to an increase in the number of
arguments, as compared with their non-causative counterparts. In other languages (eg.
Japanese and Finnish), in contrast, the presence of ‘causation’ in a sentence does not
necessarily involve an argument-number-increase with respect to non-causative
counterparts. In this section, I discuss the implementation of the causative head Cause,
and how this syntactic element affects both the syntax and meaning of causatives in
In the causative literature, a Causer is the agentive main subject of causative sentences ,which is typically
introduced in the structure as a result of causativization itself. In this dissertation, I will also make use of
this terminology. The Causer is an external argument that plays an active role in causation by bringing
about the caused event. For instance, in the causative John closed the door, John is the Causer, as the
external argument that performs the closing of the door. The causer role of this argument is overtly
indicated in the paraphrase of the sentence, John caused the door to close.
Pylkkänen’s framework.
2.3.1 Causation: An argument increasing phenomenon?
Compare the following causatives in English, Japanese and Finnish.
(4) Causatives with no external argument
a. English zero causatives
Mary broke the chair (cf. the chair broke, non-causative)
‘(i) Mary caused the chair to break,
(ii) #The chair broke on Mary’
b. Japanese adversity causative
Taroo-ga musuko-o sin-ase-ta
Taro-nom son-acc die-cause-past
‘(i) Taro caused his son to die
(ii) Taro’s son died on him (to Taro’s grief)’
Pylkkänen 2008:90(19)
c. Finnish desiderative causative
Maija-part laugh-cause-3sg
‘Maija feels like laughing’
Pylkkänen 2008:95(32b)
In English, zero causatives (4a) are identifiable by the very presence of an agentive extra
argument (eg. Mary). In fact, English verbs with a causative meaning require that at least
one of their arguments be interpreted as an external argument, so a non-externalargument reading of Mary in (4a) is simply not an option in English (eg. reading (ii)).
Pylkkänen claims that both the Japanese and the Finnish sentences in (4) are
inherently causative, even when the Causer argument is syntactically unavailable.
Different authors use different labels for the functional head involved in causatives. Pylkkänen (1999,
2002, 2008) uses the label ‘Cause’ for this head. Other authors such as Harley (1995, 2006), Folli & Harley
(2003, 2007) use vCAUSE to refer to this same head. In my analysis I will adopt Harley’s and Folli &
Harley’s label, vCAUSE.
Morphologically speaking, both (4b) and (4c) contain causative morphology, which is
overtly realized by causative suffixes (ie., the Japanese –ase-, (4b) and the Finnish –tta
(4c)). Semantically speaking, both readings of (4b) and the sentence in (4c) have
causative meaning, even when the syntactic presence of a Causer is excluded (ie. the (4b,
ii) and (4c)). For instance, the Japanese sentence in (4b) is ambiguous. The locus of this
ambiguity is the presence vs. absence of a Causer. In Japanese (4b), only in the first
reading is the nominative Taroo-ga ‘Taro’ interpreted as the agent or instigator (ie. the
Causer) that brings about the caused event (eg. Taro caused the son to die). In the second
reading of this sentence in (ii), in contrast, Taroo-ga ‘Taro’ is not a Causer, but it is
interpreted as an experiencer, adversely affected by what is denoted by the caused event
(eg. Taro adversely experienced the son’s death).
Similarly, the Finnish causative in (4c) does not involve the presence of an
external argument, since the interpretations ‘Maiija caused somebody to laugh’ or
‘Somebody caused Maiija to laugh’ are unavailable in the sentence in (4c). The reason
why this is so is that the only argument available in the causative sentence, the partitive
Maiija ‘Maiija’, is not involved in the caused event as an agent or instigator, but it is
interpreted as an experiencer. Because an external argument (ie. a Causer) is lacking, the
desiderative is the only reading available for the Finnish causative in (4c).
2.3.2. The interpretation of the causer-less causatives
Pylkkänen does not fully address why Japanese causatives lacking an external argument
receive an adversity interpretation whereas Finnish causatives lacking an external
argument receive a desiderative interpretation. To me, the different interpretation of the
two structures appears to be the consequence of the argument relations as well as the type
of event available in each of the constructions. The adversity interpretation of Japanese causer-less causatives
In the case of the Japanese adversity causatives, the origin of the adversity reading seems
to be the consequence of a (possession) relation established between the nominative and
accusative arguments invariably present in the structure. Pylkkänen notes Japanese
adversity causatives are similar in interpretation to Japanese adversity passives illustrated
in (5).
(5) Japanese adversity passives
Hanako-ga dorobou-ni yubiwa-o to-rare-ta
Hanako-nom thief-dat ring-acc steal-pass-past
‘Hanako was affected by the thief stealing her ring’
Pylkkänen (2008: 65[120])
In passives such as (5), a new (nominative) argument, Hanako-ga ‘Hanako’ appears,
establishing a possession relation with the argument in accusative, yubiwa-o ‘ring(acc)’.
Because of this possession relation, the possessor receives a malefactive interpretation.
This construction lacks an external argument. The argument that appears in
nominative in adversity causative constructions, Taroo-ga ‘Taro-nom’ (4b), establishes a
possession relation with the argument appearing in accusative musuko-o ‘son-acc’. This
(malefactive) possession relation is probably the cause of the adversity interpretation of
the causative (ie.,Taro is adversely affected by the son’s death), although Pylkkänen does
not offer an explicit analysis of the two arguments and how the structural relation
between them affects the interpretation.9 The desiderative interpretation of the Finnish causer-less causative
Pylkkänen does not explain in much detail the origin of the Finnish desiderative
interpretation of causatives with no external argument either. In her (1999) paper, she
compares the Finnish construction with the following desiderative construction in
Tohono O’odham (6).
(6) Tohono O’odham desiderative causative
s-ñ-ko:s-im-c ‘at
prefix-object-sleep-des-cause aux
‘I am sleepy’ (ie.,‘I feel like sleeping’/’Something makes me feel like sleeping’)
Zepeda (1987: 348[1]))
The O’odham construction in (6) contains the desiderative suffix -im embedded by the
causative suffix –c. The only argument licensed in this construction is the object 1sg
prefix ñ-. The interpretation of the construction is similar to the interpretation of the
Finnish desiderative causative, ‘I am sleepy (ie., I feel like sleeping)’. For this reason,
Pylkkänen suggests that it is plausible that, besides causative morphology, the
construction in Finnish includes an unpronounced desiderative morpheme, analogous to
the O’odham desiderative suffix –im, which is responsible for the interpretation of the
Pylkkänen analyzes the nominative arguments appearing in adversity passives as introduced by an
applicative head. See Pylkkänen (2002, 2008) for further details on this construction. See Kubo (1992) for
an alternative analysis of these constructions.
causative as desiderative. I show Pylkkänen’s suggested structure for the Finnish
construction in (7).
(7) Maija-a laula-ø-tta-a
Maija-part sing-des-cause-3sg
‘Maija feels like singing’
Pylkkänen (1999:170[16])
In (7), the null desiderative suffix (ø) results in the desiderative interpretation of the
sentence. This is an appealing explanation of the phenomenon. Zepeda shows that,
although sentences like (6) tend to omit the Causer, it is possible, under very restrictive
limitations, to find explicit Causers in this type of construction. The causer will always be
an abstract Cause rather than an agent and it has to refer to some internal state or emotion
of the object.
(8) a. Causer names some internal state of the object (the object’s tiredness)
‘at ‘a:ñi g gewkogdag
prefix-object-des-cause aux I det tiredness
‘Tiredness made me want to sit down’
Zepeda (1987: 356[17])
b. Causer doesn’t name internal state of the object (work is external to the object)
g cipkandag
prefix-object-drink-des-cause aux det work
‘Work made me desire to drink’
Zepeda (1987: 358[23])
In Finnish, the inclusion of a Causer in desiderative causatives is allowed, although it
does not seem to obey the same restrictions as the Causer in O’odham desiderative
causatives (9).
(9) Tämä-n kuvalehde-n ostaminen häve-tt-i minu-a
This-acc magazine-acc buying(nom) be.ashamed-cause-past/3sg me-part
‘Buying this magazine made me feel ashamed’
Nelson (1999: 147[8b])
In (9), the causer tämän kuvalehden ostaminen ‘buying a magazine’ does not name any
internal state of the object (minua ‘me’).
Despite this fact, Pylkkänen’s explanation is theoretically appealing: desiderative
causatives owe their desiderative interpretation to a null desiderative suffix. This alone,
however, is not sufficient. It needs empirical support that is not easy to obtain in Finnish.
First, Pylkkänen does not show independent evidence of the existence of a null
desiderative suffix in Finnish that does not involve the causative suffix. Second,
morphological languages such as Finnish are normally characterized for marking
functional/verbal/eventive heads by means of overt affixes.
Like causative suffixes, desiderative affixes are typically overt in agglutinating
languages. In O’odham, non-causative desiderative sentences involving the desiderative
suffix –im exist alongside the desiderative causative construction, as shown in (10).
(10) Mali:ya ‘at s-ko:s-im
Mary aux prefix-sleep-des
‘Mary is sleepy (ie., Mary desires to sleep)’
Zepeda (1987: 348[2])
Pylkkänen does not show whether Finnish exhibits sentences analogous to (10) in which
the desiderative interpretation of sentences may be obtained without the support of the
causative suffix -tta. On the contrary, a Finnish non-causative sentence analogous to (10)
(ie., in the absence of a causative suffix) would be interpreted as a factitive, not as a
desiderative (11).
(11) Minä laula-n
I(nom) sing-1sg
‘I sing’
Nelson (1999: 148[12])]
The difference between this sentence and the desiderative causative is, however, more
than just the absence of the causative suffix (12).
(12) Minu-a laula-tta-a
I-part sing-cause-3sg
‘I feel like singing’
Nelson (1999: 148[12b])
The differences between (11) and (12) are, respectively (i) the absence versus the
presence of the causative suffix –tta, (ii) the 1sg versus the 3sg tense agreement (ie., the
verb agrees with the 1sg overt subject in (11) but it establishes default 3sg agreement in
(12)), and (iii) the nominative case of the only argument in (11) versus the partitive case
of this argument in (12).
This is, however, no evidence that the desiderative causative contains a null
desiderative. First, Finnish does have non-causative clauses with desiderative
(conditional) meaning, as Pylkkänen shows.
(13) Halua-isi-n naura-a
want-cond-1sg laugh-inf
‘I would like to laugh’
Pylkkänen (2008: 98[37])]
Second, O’odham non-causative desiderative sentences (10) exhibit the same argument
relations as the non-causative factitive sentence in (11). In O’odham non-causative
desideratives (10), the only argument, Mali:ya, is not an object but a subject. In the
Finnish sentence in (11), the only argument Minä is nominative (a subject). In the
O’odham desiderative causatives (8) the only argument is always an object; the only
argument of Finnish desiderative causatives is a partitive, typical of objects or derived
subjects (ie., subjects of passives).
All in all, it looks like there should be no reason for sentences such as (11) to
receive, at least, an ambiguous interpretation between factitive and desiderative, if
Finnish did have a null desiderative suffix. Since this is not the case, I conclude that
Finnish does not have a null desiderative suffix and that the source of the desiderative
interpretation of desiderative causatives in this language is just derived from the type of
configuration involved in this construction (ie., an external-argument-less cause
embedding atelic events understood as states).10
Andrew Carnie (p.c.) suggests the possibility that Finnish desiderative and
causative suffixes may be homophones (ie., –tta). If both desiderative and causative
suffixes in Finnish shared the same phonological realization, perhaps it would be possible
to find –tta-tta sequences in which one instance of –tta would correspond to the
desiderative, the other to the causative. I do not know whether this is a possibility. In any
case, a failure of the language to exhibit double instances of the –tta suffix does not
necessarily mean that the causative and desiderative are not homophones. This is so since
some languages impose restrictions on sequences of suffixes with identical phonological
realization. This is the case of Hiaki, as we will see in chapter 5, that disallows sequences
of the identical causative suffix –tua.
(14) *Inepo [Maria-ta Peo-ta-u hiotei-ta (a)=vit-tua]-tua-k
1sg Maria-acc Pete-acc-to letter-acc (3sg)=see-cause-cause-perf
‘I made Maria send a letter to Pete’
Pylkkänen shows that the reason why the only argument appears in partitive case is precisely because the
event embedded by the causative is atelic, since this is the case marking of objects of atelic events in
Jussi osa-a ranska-a
Jussi(nom) know-3sg French-part
‘Jussi knows French’
Pylkkänen (2008: 96[33b])
Whenever a productive causative in this language embeds a lexical causative with
identical phonological realization, only one instance of the suffix surfaces, the other one
becoming null (ø).
(15) Inepo [Maria-ta Peo-ta-u hiotei-ta (a)=vit]-tua-ø-k
1sg Maria-acc Pete-acc-to letter-acc (3sg)=see-cause-cause-perf
‘I made Maria send a letter to Pete’
Were Finnish subject to similar restrictions, no examples would be found involving –ttatta sequences in which one is an instance of the desiderative suffix, the other an instance
of the causative suffix. This issue is then hard to resolve.11 Nonetheless, the contrast
between the argument realization in desiderative causatives and simple desideratives in
O’odham offers a clearer answer to this question. In (8) and (10) I discussed Zepeda’s
point that there is a contrast in O’odham in which the only arguments involved in
desiderative causatives (8) are objects, whereas the only arguments appearing in simple
desideratives (10) are realized as subjects. If the Finnish suffix –tta were used in the
expression of simple desideratives and causatives independently, it would be reasonable
to think that the argument involved in the simple desiderative would be realized, either as
a subject (nominative), or as an experiencer (elative) (16).
(16) a. Nominative (stative)
Jussi osa-a ranska-a
Jussi(nom) know-3sg French-part
‘Jussi knows French’
However, as Heidi Harley (p.c.) points out, were the suffix –tta a (non-causative) desiderative suffix,
instances of the suffix rendering (non-causative) desiderative readings (ie., Maija wants to sing) should be
possible, contrary to fact.
b. Nominative (conditional)
Minä halua-isi-n
1sg(nom) want-cond-1sg
‘I would like’
c. Nominative (experiencer subjects)
Minä pidän sinu-sta
1sg(nom) like you-ela
‘I like you’
Pylkkänen (2008: 96[33b], 97[36a])
Conversely, derived subjects (passive subjects) and objects can be partitive in Finnish
(17) a. Partitive (Derived subject)
Pekka-a rakaste-ta-an
Pekka-part love-pass-agr
‘Pekka is loved’
b. Partitive (Object)
Jussi osa-a ranska-a
Jussi(nom) know-3sg French-part
‘Jussi knows French’
Pylkkänen (2008: 96[33b, 34]
Let us recall the argument realization in the desiderative causative.
(18) Maija-a laula-tta-a
Maija-part sing-cause-3sg
‘Maija feels like singing’
Pylkkänen (2008: 96[33c])
The only argument, Maija-a, is partitive, which makes it pattern with either derived
subjects or objects, but not as non-derived subjects. This implies that the sentence in (18)
has an implicit subject (like passives) and that the argument Maijaa is a derived subject,
as suggested by Pylkkänen. This all implies that the suffix –tta is a causative suffix only,
as it does not participate in the type of configurations in which desiderative suffixes in
other languages participate (ie., licensing base generated subjects).
In chapter 6 I will present evidence from two unrelated languages, Chemehuevi
(Serratos 2008) and Spanish which, like Japanese and Finnish, also exhibit causer-less
causative constructions. The Spanish construction I will show is similar to the Finnish
one just discussed, also involving an overt causative marker (ie., hacer ‘make’) lacking
an external argument. The interesting aspect of this construction is that, like the Finnish
desiderative, the Spanish agentless causative also receives a desiderative interpretation.
Unlike Pylkkänen, I will not assume that the Spanish construction includes a null
desiderative morpheme, but that the kind of configuration in which the causative appears
(ie., stative and lacking an external argument) results in the desiderative interpretation
2.3.3. Concluding, causers are not intrinsic to causation
Back to the initial examples in (4), recall that the only possible interpretation for the
English causative in (4a) is that in which the nominative argument Mary is agentive (i),
while an interpretation in which this argument is perceived as an experiencer (ii) is
disallowed, just because English zero causatives require that their argument structure
include the presence of an external argument.
This is one of the central ideas in Pylkkänen’s account of causatives. That is,
causative structures vary across languages in whether they obligatorily require the
syntactic presence of a Causer or not. According to her, the locus of this variation is in
the syntax of the causativizing element Cause and the parameterization of its interaction
with the syntactic element Voice, the head responsible for the introduction of external
arguments. Section 4 discusses Pylkkänen’s implementation of this relationship as well as
its impact on both the form and meaning of causatives across languages. Nonetheless, in
this dissertation I show that the properties of causatives are not necessarily derived from
whether they are realized as suffixes, as might be concluded from works such as
Pylkkänen’s or Shibatani’s (1976). The existence of external-argument-less productive
causatives in a synthetic language such as Spanish shows that the optional presence of an
external argument is not tied to the morphological characteristics of languages.
3. Pylkkänen’s pieces of Causation
In this section I discuss the different elements that contribute to causative formation in
Pylkkänen’s framework.
3.1. The syntax and semantics of Cause
In Pylkkänen’s framework, one single element is attributed the introduction of causation
structurally: The functional head Cause. In this section I offer some discussion of its
nature and the role it plays in Pylkkänen’s model.
3.1.1. Pylkkänen’s Cause
Recall the sentences in (4) above. I repeat them in (19).
(19) Lexical causatives with no external argument
a. English zero causatives
Mary broke the chair (cf. the chair broke, non-causative)
b. Japanese adversity causative
Taroo-ga musuko-o sin-ase-ta
Taro-nom son-acc die-cause-past
‘(i) Taro caused his son to die
(ii) Taro’s son died on him (to Taro’s grief)’
c. Finnish desiderative causative
Maija-part laugh-cause-3sg
‘Maija feels like laughing’
Pylkkänen (2008)
All sentences in (19) contain a causative component in terms of both their morphology
and their semantics. Pylkkänen argues that this is so since all causative constructions
involve the presence of a verbal functional head, Cause, ‘which combines with
noncausative predicates and introduces a causing event to their semantics’ (Pylkkänen
2008:84). She proposes the following semantic denotation in (18) for Cause.
(18) Universal causative element
Cause: λP.λe. (∃e’) P(e’) & CAUSE(e, e’)
Pylkkänen assumes Parsons’ (1990) view that Cause is a relation between two events, the
causing event, e, and the caused event (ie., the event denoted by the embedded predicate),
e’, in (18). For instance, in a causative sentence such as Mary melted the chocolate,
Pylkkänen assumes a caused event, e’, which involves the melting of the chocolate, and
also a causing event, e, involving the existence of some cause giving way to an event of
chocolate melting.
In strictly syntactic terms, Pylkkänen follows a tradition, also assumed in previous
work on causatives such as Miyagawa (1998) and Harley (1995, and subsequent work),
whereby Cause takes the form of a functional ‘light verb’ that heads its own projection
(CauseP), and takes the syntactic material participating in the caused event as its
complement, as shown in (19).
(19) (Mary) melted the chocolate
CauseP λe. (∃e’) melting(e’) & theme(e’, the ice) & CAUSE(e, e’)
λe. melting(e) & theme(e, the ice)
λf.λe.(∃e’)f(e’) & CAUSE(e,e’)
the chocolate
In the sentence in (19) the functional verb Cause gives the sentence its causative
meaning, ‘somebody (Mary) caused the chocolate to melt’, by virtue of embedding the
non-causative predicate VP melted the chocolate ‘ie., the chocolate melted’.12
Semantically speaking, Cause is responsible for both introducing the causing event (e’)
and relating it with the event involved in the embedded material (e). This same
syntactico-semantic analysis of Cause will be assumed throughout this dissertation.
3.1.2. Cause: a little history
In this section I offer an overview of the development of Cause as a functional verbal
element. Larson’s VP-shells
The proposal of Cause as a functional head embedding a lower lexical predicate is
initially based on Larson’s (1988) proposal of VP shells, which were originally intended
The structure in (19) is meant to illustrate the status of Cause as a functional vº head that provides the
material it embeds with causative meaning. For ease of exposition, the analysis of the rest of the material
involved in the sentence Mary melted the chocolate has been oversimplified. A complete analysis of the
rest of the elements participating in lexical causatives will be developed and shown in the following
to account for ditransitive constructions in English. In Larson’s framework, each of the
VP shells is responsible for introducing each one of the two objects (ie., direct and
indirect) in ditransitive sentences, as shown in (20).
(20) Larson’s VP shells
[DP a book]
[PP to John]
The structure in (20) represents Larson’s analysis of the core argument structure of the
ditransitive sentence Mary gave a book to John. He proposes that such structure contains
two verbal (ie. VP) shells. The most embedded VP shell hosts the lexical verb gave as its
head, which takes the indirect object PP to John as its complement and the direct object
DP a book in its specifier position. The higher VP shell, in turn, is generated with an
empty e head. It takes the embedded VP shell as its complement and hosts the subject DP
Mary in its specifier position13.
The crucial idea contributed by Larson’s (1988) proposal is the availability, in the
argument structure of predicates, of multiple verbal heads, which may have an impact on
the number of arguments allowed in structures with certain degree of complexity, such as
ditransitives, and which open up space for additional functional content in the verbal
Larson’s (1988) VP shell framework involves a further step, whereby the lexical verb gave in (20) moves
up to the head of the higher VP shell in order to discharge the external argument theta-role to the agent DP,
which is in its specifier position. This detail is merely informative, however, as neither Pylkkänen nor
myself assume this proposal for external theta-role assignment.
domain. That is, in addition to the lexical meaning and argument structure inherent to the
verb give (ie., give x), the verbal domain in sentences like (20) expands in order to
contribute additional functional material that may have an impact on the overall
interpretation and argument realization of the resulting structure (ie., give x [to
somebody]). Light verbs and complex predication
Scholars concerned with complex predication (ie., Butt & Ramchand 2003, Rosen 1989,
Butt 1995) analyze verbal structures involving more than one predicate by identifying a
‘light verb’ (Jespersen 1954) as part of the structure.
Light verbs are ‘light’ because although they have syntactic import, they have
‘light’ semantics. Grimshaw & Mester (1988) relate the ‘lightness’ of light verbs with the
fact that they are ‘thematically incomplete (…). Although it is a main Verb, its argument
structure is more like that of an auxiliary’ (p. 210). For instance, the verb have functions
as a light verb in expressions such as have a rest. The verb is syntactically functional (ie.,
the head of the VP) and participates in different conjugations (ie., He is having a rest).
However, the expression does not mean ‘to own a rest’. Rather, light verbs are known as
‘helping’ predication of, for instance, V+NP complexes (ie., have a rest, take a shower)
by ‘verbalizing’ the NP. I show the structure in (21).14
This diagram is an oversimplification just meant to illustrate how the idea of light verb works.
(21) Light verbs with phonological realization
a shower
In (21) the NP a shower is used predicatively by virtue of being the complement of the
light verb take that is responsible for the event syntax and semantics of the complex (the
complex predicate is understood as an event). The lexical content of the verb is
nonetheless ‘light’, and it does not contribute much to the structure at this level.15
Light verbs do not only combine with non-verbal elements. Rosen (1989), Guasti
(1992, 1993, 1996, 1997), and Baker (1988), for instance, analyze the causative member
of productive causatives (eg., make) as a light verb. These analyses generally assume that
the (structurally lower) lexical verb incorporates to the (structurally higher) light verb,
thus forming the complex construction. In this sense, productive causatives are complex
predicates. I show Guasti’s analysis in (22).
(22) Guasti’s analysis of Italian productive causatives with fare ‘make’
a Gianni
la macchina
Guasti (1997: 137[45])
See Butt (2003) for a more thorough description of light verbs in complex predication.
In Guasti’s analysis, the causative verb fare ‘make’ is treated as a light verb that takes a
further VP as a complement. The head of the lower VP, riparare ‘repair’ undergoes
incorporation to the (higher) light verb, forming the complex predicate fare riparare
‘make repair’. The light verb fare just contributes causative semantics to the structure,
whereas its complement contributes lexical content. Light verbs with null phonological content
So far we have seen light verbs with phonological content like have, take and fare
‘make’. The concept of light verb has been extended, however, to the treatment of
syntactically verbal elements with null phonetic content.
Hale & Keyser (1991, 1993), for instance, analyze the denominal predicates in
sentences such as shelve the books or saddle a horse as complex predicates involving a
light verb plus a NP or a PP. In such cases, the light verb is present in the structure but
lacks phonological content. Like in the case of Baker’s (1988) and Guasti’s (1992 and
subsequent work) analyses of complex predicates, Hale & Keyser’s structures also
involve syntactic incorporation of the non-verbal complement to the light verb. I show
the basic structure in (23).
Hale & Keyser’s analysis of denominal verbs
(her books)
(I) shelved her books
Hale & Keyser (1993)
The sentence I shelved the book in (23) is analyzed in a similar way to the sentence I put
the books on the shelf. The difference is that in the latter sentence the verb put and the
preposition on have phonological content. In the case of (23), the material in the P and V
heads is null. The noun head shelf undergoes incorporation, first to the null preposition,
then to the null light verb heads.
The realization of these cyclic movements obeys Travis’ (1984) Head Movement
Constraint, which proposes that the movement of a head need to be done cyclically, from
head to head. Because the noun shelf has incorporated to a null light verb, it
phonologically surfaces in the structure with verbal morphology, I shelved the books.
Chomsky (1995) adopts the idea that verbal predicates are composed of a higher
functional layer or shell, a typically phonetically null v, and a lower lexical layer or shell,
V. This analysis of verbal predicates is still generally assumed in minimalist approaches
to syntax.16 I show the structure in (24).
(24) Transitive ‘light verb’
the door
The structure in (24) shows the argument structure analysis for the transitive sentence
Mary closed the door in a layered VP-shell fashion, along the lines of Larson (1988). The
verbalizing ‘light verb’ not only has a ‘verbalizing’ function in (24); this functional head
is also responsible for the introduction and the assignment of external θ-role to the DP
Mary in its specifier position, as well as the assignment of accusative case to the object
DP the door.17
Proponents of Distributed Morphology (ie., Halle & Marantz 1993, Marantz 1997, Harley & Noyer
1998, 1999) use the label ‘root’ √ rather than V for lexical roots, as the category of lexical roots is not
assumed until these do not compose, in the syntax, with the specific category-assignment heads nº, vº, or aº.
This is the view also adopted by Pylkkänen (2002, 2008), which will be further developed later.
The implementation of accusative case assignment to objects by v has a certain range of variation in the
minimalist literature. For some authors, following the former theory of AgrOP, accusative case assignment
involves a strict locality relation between little v and the object DP, and it only occurs after movement of
the object DP within the lower VP projection, from its original complement of VP to the [spec, VP]
position. In more current frameworks such as Chomsky (2000, 2001), accusative case assignment may
occur in situ, via checking under an Agree relation, as it does not require a strict spec-head relation between
the assigner and the assignee. This is the position assumed throughout this dissertation.
55 Different ‘flavors’ of v
A number of linguists specializing on the relation between transitivity and causation (eg.,
Miyagawa (1998), Harley (1995) and subsequent work, Folli & Harley (2002)) propose
that the different nature (eg. causative, unaccusative, stative, unergative) of events is not
determined by lexico-semantic information contained in the lexical entries of the verbal
roots, but it is rather dictated by the existence of different types of v heads that contain
specific event-semantic content. The structures in (25) show this contrast for the
sentences Mary opened the door (25a), The door opened (25b), and Mary ran (25c).
(25) Flavors of v
a. v
‘(Mary opened the door)’
b. v
‘The door opened’ c. vDO ‘(Mary) ran’
[DP the door]
v DO
[DP the door]
In (25a), vCAUSE determines the causative nature of the sentence Mary opened the door, in
(25b) vBECOME is responsible for the unaccusative nature of the sentence The door opened,
and in (25c) vDO is behind the unergative nature of the sentence Mary ran.18 In Harley’s
(1995) analysis, the different types of v heads are assumed to have an impact on the
The structures in (25) are partial analyses of the causative sentence Mary opened the door, the
unaccusative sentence The door opened and the unergative sentence Mary ran, as their only purpose here is
to illustrate some of the different types of v heads proposed in work such as Harley (1995). For further
details, see the original author and subsequent work.
argument structure and syntactic properties of the predicates they embed.
As proposed in Chomsky (1995), vCAUSE is not only responsible for the causative
interpretation of the predicate open the door in (25a). Its transitive nature makes it
compatible with a VP complement (ie., open) that licenses the object DP the door, by
assigning it accusative case. Furthermore, it opens up a specifier position for the licensing
and theta-assignment of the agentive DP Mary, which is interpreted as the Causer of the
causative event.19
In contrast, the unaccusative nature of vBECOME in (25b) impacts the syntax of the
predicate it embeds by not assigning accusative case to the embedded object DP the door
and by not opening up a specifier position for the licensing of agentive DPs, which
explains the absence of Causers in unaccusative sentences.
3.1.3. Summary
Earlier in this section, Pylkkänen’s causative head, Cause, was discussed. This head is
similar to Harley’s vCAUSE in that it behaves like a light verb (v) head, that is, it has
functional (causative) content that impacts the syntax and the semantics of the predicates
composing with it, giving them a causative interpretation. There is a crucial difference
between Pylkkänen’s Cause and Harley’s vCAUSE. While the latter necessarily opens up a
This departs from views like the Verb Internal Subject Hypothesis (Koopman & Sportiche (1991)), in
which subjects are originated (and thematically marked) internally to the verb (ie., closed in (25)). In
approaches based on Chomsky (1995), the Verb is a complement to a functional vP, and it is this functional
vP that licenses external arguments (ie., subjects) in its specifier position. The proposal that external
arguments are licensed by a functional head different from VP is original from Kratzer (1994, 1996) as we
will see in the next section.
slot for the licensing of external arguments, Pylkkänen’s Cause may appear in causative
sentences with no agentive-like arguments, as suggested by the data in 2.3. above. The
following sections expand on this idea and discuss the way in which Pylkkänen resolves
the introduction of external arguments in causative constructions as well as the potential
independence of these ‘special’ arguments from the causativizing head Cause.
3.2. The Causer in Pylkkänen’s framework: Kratzer’s (1994, 1996) Voice
Pylkkänen adopts Kratzer’s (1994, 1996) proposal in which the semantic introduction of
agents occurs in the syntax by a functional head, which she terms Voice, and which is
separate from the head that introduces the lexical predicate. Kratzer’s proposal is based
on the idea that agents are not arguments of lexical verbs. In this sense, they are external
arguments, as opposed to themes or patients that are internally generated within the verb
phrase. Kratzer finds empirical evidence in support of her proposal in Marantz (1984),
which shows that (i) external arguments have a special status as compared with internal
arguments, and (ii) internal arguments play a crucial role on the composition of the verb’s
meaning as opposed to external arguments, which do not.
For instance, Marantz argues that whereas external arguments are excluded from
the lexical representation of verbs, internal arguments are both present and assigned a
thematic role by the verb. Consider the verb buy in the sentence in (26).
(26) a. John bought a pack of American Spirits
b. buy (theme)
Out of the two arguments in the sentence in (26a), only the theme, a pack of American
Spirits, is included in the lexical representation of the verb buy in (26b). For Marantz,
subjects are arguments of predicates, not of verbs. The evidence he offers in support of
his argument is based on idiomatic readings of certain verbs, which are intimately tied to
internal arguments, as these trigger the particular interpretations of the verbs, but exclude
external arguments, which do not contribute anything to the idiomatic reading.
(27) a. kill a cockroach
b. kill a conversation
c. kill an evening watching TV
d. kill a bottle
e. kill an audience
The idiomatic readings of kill in (27) are strictly conditioned by the particular internal
arguments appearing along with the verbs. For instance, for the idiomatic reading of
(27d) to apply, the verb kill imposes strict selectional restrictions on its internal argument
(i.e., it has to be some container that holds some liquid or, more specifically, some
liquor). If the internal argument has different properties (eg., it is an animal), then the
reading in (27a) is the only one available. In contrast, external arguments (i.e., subjects)
do not form idiomatic readings along with verbs. For instance, an external argument such
as Mary kill has the same meaning if combined with a cockroach (27a), a conversation
(27b), or a bottle (27d). So this is evidence that only internal arguments form part of the
verb’s lexical representation.
Kratzer takes this as evidence that the functional head Voice is the sole
responsible for the presence of the external argument in a sentence. She uses semi-neoDavidsonian event semantics for the formal implementation of her proposal. NeoDavidsonian event semantics (28b) is distinguished from Davidsonian event semantics
(28a) in that only the event argument is an argument of the verb, whereas each argument
is introduced by a separate predicate. In Davidsonian event semantics, all arguments,
including the event argument, are directly related to the verb; they are opposed to
adjuncts, that are not directly related to the verb. For instance, the logical representation
of a verb such as buy may be one of the following.
(28) a. Davidsonian
buy λxλyλe [buy(x)(y)(e)]
b. Neo-davidsonian
buy λxλyλe [buying(e) & Theme(x)(e) & Agent(y)(e)]
Kratzer 1994:110[figures 1,2]
In (28) buy is a 3-place predicate that involves an agent, a theme, and an event. In
Kratzer’s view, buy is a 2-place predicate, where the inner argument of the verb is the
Theme(x) (ie, what’s being bought) and the higher argument is the Event Argument (e).
Its lexical entry is shown in (29), where the agent has been eliminated. Because the verb
retains the ability to introduce one of its non-event arguments, but does not introduce the
external argument, she terms this approach semi-neo-Davidsonian.
(29) buy
λxλe [buy(x)(e)]
Kratzer 1994:110[figure 3]
According to Kratzer, the agent is added to structures by an independent predicate,
syntactically encoded in an independent projection, since it is not a real argument of buy.
She supports this idea with a proposal previously made in (Hung 1988) based on data
from Malagasy, in which an overt suffix, -an- realizes active morphology.
(30) M+an+sasa ny lamba (amin ny savony) Rasoa
wash+active the clothes (with the soap) Rasoa
‘Rasoa washes the clothes (with the soap)’
Hung (1988)
The structure is analyzed as in (31).
ny lamba
Kratzer (1996:117[14b])
The diagram in (31) exhibits a complex verb structure in which the higher layer exhibits a
light verb that is phonologically overt, an-. This higher layer is what Kratzer identifies as
the agent-introducing functional head, which she labels Voice as, in Malagasy, it is the
instantiation of Voice morphology. 20 Kratzer extends this analysis to all verbs with
external arguments in any language. In Kratzer’s account, then, external arguments are
introduced by the functional head Voice, and they are both semantically and syntactically
independent from VP (ie., the syntactic projection that introduces the lexical verb or
verbal root). Voice has a double role: it (i) introduces the external argument, and (ii)
assigns accusative Case to internal arguments.21,22
Voice is related to its verb via Event Identification, which according to Kratzer is
Kratzer does not discuss, however, whether the Voice particle –an- appears in Malagasy in active
sentences that do not involve agents. Thanks to Gerardo López (p.c.) for pointing this out to me.
See Kratzer (1994, 1996) for arguments on the functional (ie., inflectional), as opposed to lexical, status
of Voice.
The following clarification is important at this point. Kratzer’s Voice is the equivalent of the functional
head v in, for instance, Chomsky (1995) and subsequent work as the light verb that introduces external
arguments. Kratzer’s structure does not assume the presence of a lower light verb that, for instance, in
causatives, provides the structure with causative meaning. Pylkkänen’s approach is different in that she
proposes a division of labor between two distinct functional heads regarding the introduction of external
arguments (ie., Voice) and the introduction of causative semantics (ie., Cause).
‘one of the several admissible conjunction operations (…). It takes a function f and a
function g as input and yield a function h as output.’ (p. 122). Functions are either of the
type <e,<s,t>> or of the type <s,t>, where s is the type of ‘events’, e is the type of
‘individuals’ and t is the type of ‘truth-values’. In Event Identification, entities of the type
<s,t> are then functions from events to truth-values and entities of the type <e,<s,t>> are
functions that map individuals to functions from events to truth-values. With this in mind,
we can understand the semantic relations in the diagram in (32).
λxeλes [agent(x)(e)]
λes [feed(the dog)(e)]
λxeλes [agent(x)(e) & feed(the dog)(e)]
Kratzer (1996:122[24])
The Event Identification in (32) shows then how the verb and Voice are semantically
combined. As for the location of Voice in the syntax, Kratzer proposes that it “can appear
anywhere in the hierarchy of a verb’s inflectional heads, as long as the Event Argument is
not existentially quantified” (Kratzer 1994: 125). The Voice Phrase’s denotation is a
property of events, not a truth-value, but a higher inflectional head, Tense, is what will
existentially quantify the open event argument in the denotation of VoiceP, as in (33).23
F.A. stands for Functional Application; E.I. stands for Event Identification
(33) Mittie fed the dog
λP∃e [P(e) & past(e)] (λe [Agent(Mittie)(e) & feed(the dog)(e)])
VoiceP [λe[Agent(Mittie)(e) & feed(the dog)(e)] by F.A .
Voice’ [λxλe[agent(y)(e) & feed(the dog)(e)] by E.I.
[λyλe[agent(y)(e)] Agent
the dog
[λe[feed(the dog)(e)] by F.A.
V [λxλe[feed(x)(e)]
Kratzer 1994:125[29]
In (33) Voice is the ‘agentive’ functional head that introduces the external argument, the
subject DP Mittie. This functional head composes with the lexical VP via Event
Identification, but stays unsaturated (the combination does not result in a truth-value).
Right above Voice is the inflectional head Tense. It is the inflectional head Tense, higher
than Voice in the structure, that existentially quantifies and saturates the Event Argument
Pylkkänen, too, assumes [Spec, VoiceP] position as the locus of external
arguments or Causers of causatives. In order to account for syntactic variation in the
crosslinguistic behavior of lexical causatives, Pylkkänen builds her argument around the
potential parametric setting of languages. The syntax of Voice and its interaction with the
causative head Cause are key in the development of the first of Pylkkänen’s parameters
of variation in causatives. The parameter, which she calls Voice-bundling is discussed in
the next section.
4. Pylkkänen’s Voice-bundling parameter
Pylkkänen develops her framework by claiming that the causative head Cause is
parameterized in two ways and the different parameterization of this functional head is
what triggers crosslinguistic variation. I will discuss each of the possible parameterization
frames undergone by Cause in this and the following sections. This section discusses the
Voice-bundling parameter.
4.1. The data
Let us remember one particular contrast Pylkkänen points out about causatives in English
and Japanese (34).
(34) Causatives with no external argument
a. English zero causatives
Mary broke the chair
‘(i) Mary caused the chair to break,
(ii) ≠ The chair broke on Mary’
b. Japanese adversity causative
Taroo-ga musuko-o sin-ase-ta
Taro-nom son-acc die-cause-past
‘(i) Taro caused his son to die
(ii) Taro’s son died on him (to Taro’s grief)’
In the English causative in (34a) the causer, Mary, is obligatory (ie., ii). This same
argument is optionally absent in Japanese (34b, (ii)).
Such a contrast suggests that whatever head introduces the causers Mary (34a)
and Taroo-o ‘Taro-nom’ in (34b), this head cannot be the causativizing head Cause in
section 3.1. Were this the case, the Japanese sentence in (34b) would obligatorily have
one sole interpretation: that in (i). In other words, if Cause were the functional head
involved in the licensing of causers, all causative sentences would obligatorily have a
causer, contrary to fact (ie., 34b(ii)).
4.2. Voice and Cause: two different functional heads
Working on the proposal by Kratzer just seen in section 2.5., Pylkkänen proposes that
causative sentences involve two functional heads, the causativizing head Cause,
responsible for the introduction of causative semantics, and the head Voice, responsible
for the introduction of external arguments or causers. The structure in (35) illustrates the
way in which Voice and Cause are combined in lexical causatives.
(35) The separation of Voice and Cause in lexical causatives
Tense VoiceP
Structures like (35) explain how, in Japanese, it is possible for causative sentences to
exclude the presence of the causer, as in (34b). The structure in (36) shows how (35) may
be implemented for Japanese.
(36) Non-agentive causatives in Japanese
In (36), three functional heads are separate pieces in the structure of the Japanese lexical
causative Taroo-ga musuko-o sin-ase-ta ‘Taro-nom son-acc die-cause-past, Taro’s son
died’. The highest functional head, Tense, hosts the past tense morpheme –ta. Next
comes VoiceP, which licenses the Causer Taroo-ga ‘Taro-nom’ in its specifier position.24
A third functional head, Cause, both hosts the causative morpheme –ase-, and is
responsible for the causative meaning of the sentence.
The independent status of the two heads Voice and Cause explains then why, in
Japanese, causatives do not necessarily involve the presence of a Causer. The autonomy
of Cause with respect to Voice in, for instance, Japanese does not explain, however, why
in some languages like English (34a) Cause does not seem to be available independently
of Voice, given the non-existence, in this latter language, of non-agentive causatives.
The structure in (36) observes the original structure of Japanese, a right-branching SOV language. Only
the portion of the sentence showing the independence between Cause and the Causer are shown here. For
ease of exposition, the portion of the sentence showing the material embedded under Cause, [musuko-o sin]
‘eg. the son died’ has been left out from the structure in (36).
4.3. The Voice-bundling parameter
Pylkkänen claims that the crosslinguistic variation in (34) can be explained by appealing
to the parameterization of Cause with respect to Voice. Cause is parameterized: (i) it may
appear in a structure independently, as a causativizing head, or (ii) it may require the
presence of the incorporated head Voice in order to properly form causative structures.
The two possible settings corresponding to the Voice-bundling parameter of Cause are
the following:
(i) Voice-bundling
In languages with Voice-bundling Cause, Cause and Voice cannot occur as separate
functional heads. Rather, Cause is syntactically realized as the bundle Voice-Cause,
heading a unique causativizing Voice-Cause projection. Causatives in these languages
require the obligatory presence of Causers.
(ii) Non-Voice-bundling
In languages exhibiting non-Voice-bundling Cause, Cause and Voice are
independently realized by separate functional heads, each of them heading its own
projection: VoiceP, which introduces the Causer, and CauseP, which provides the
sentence with causative morphology and semantics. Causatives in these languages do
not obligatorily require the presence of a Causer.
The structures in (37) illustrate the contrast between Voice-bundling and Non-Voicebundling Cause, as shown in Pylkkänen (2002, 2008). In (37), x represents the external
argument (ie., the Causer) introduced by Voice, when present. The unspecified material
under Cause represents its complement.25
The nature and type of elements that may be licensed as the complement of Cause will be fully discussed
in section 5. As an anticipation, elements of three different types may be embedded by Cause: a) a bare root
√, b) a vP, c) a Phase (ie. what roughly corresponds to a full clause).
(37) a. Voice-bundling
b. Non-voice-bundling
[Voice, Cause]
Pylkkänen (2008: 84[10])
The Japanese sentence in (36) above corresponds to the structure in (37b) as an example
of non-Voice-bundling Cause. Recall how, in the Japanese lexical causative in (36),
Voice and Cause are independently realized, heading their own projections.
Compare the structure in (37b) with that in (37a), which illustrates the syntax of
Voice-bundling Cause. English Cause is parameterized as Voice-bundling. The structure
in (38) shows the implementation of (37a) for the English sentence Mary broke the chair.
(38) Voice-bundling in English lexical causatives
Tense Voice-CauseP
Mary Voice-Cause’
In the English lexical causative in (38), syntactic causation is configured as the bundle
Voice-Cause.26 Unlike Japanese, English Cause is realized by zero morphology (ie., Ø).
Because of the obligatory presence of Voice, the presence of the Causer Mary is required
As in the Japanese example in (36), and for ease of exposition, the structure in (38) only shows the
functional domain of the English lexical causative Mary broke the chair. The lexical domain of causatives
will be discussed in the following sections.
in this type of configuration. This explains why lexical causatives lacking an external
argument are ungrammatical in English, suggested earlier by the non-availability of the
second reading of (34a).27
Pylkkänen proposes a second source of crosslinguistic variation in lexical
causatives also associated with the parameterization of Cause. This second source of
variation in causatives, which Pylkkänen terms Selection, has to do with the kinds of
complements that different Cause heads are compatible with. The details are fully
discussed in the next section.
5. Selection
5.1. Cause is parameterized for Selection
Pylkkänen proposes the availabitily of different types of Cause heads in causatives across
languages that vary in terms of their selectional properties (ie., selection in Pylkkänen’s
terms). In order to implement this claim, Pylkkänen draws from Marantz’s (1997)
account on the decomposition of ‘lexical’ words into non-categorial roots and categoryassigning functional heads. I discuss Marantz’s framework in the following subsection.
We will see, in e.g., chapters 4 and 5, that the voice-bundling distinction becomes complicated in the
case of productive causatives in English and Hiaki. For instance, while unaccusative causatives haven’t
been attested in either English or Hiaki causatives, evidence (e.g., from passive causatives) suggests that
the type of Cause that participates in productive causatives in these languages cannot be Voice-bundling.
Harley (2009) argues on the basis of English nominalizations of verbs containing verbalizing morphology
(eg., nominalization) that even English is a non Voice-bundling language. See original work for further
details on this proposal.
5.1.1. Marantz (1997): acategorial roots
Marantz’s (1997) non-lexicalist framework proposes that ‘words’ can be decomposed
into (i) acategorial roots (√) which are abstractions of the conceptual material denoted by
words, and (ii) category-defining heads (eg. nº, vº, aº), which carry syntactic information
with strictly functional import28.
Thus, word items are nouns, verbs or adjectives, not because they are atomically
stored in the lexicon as primitives with fixed category values, but because they become
nouns, verbs and adjectives, as complex structures, as a result of the syntactic operation
Merge (eg. Chomsky 1995) between functional material and abstract roots. For instance,
the word rain in English corresponds to two different lexical items: rain (vº) and rain
(nº), as shown in (39).
(39) a. ‘Rain’ as a verb
It rained yesterday
b.‘Rain’ as a noun
I would like to see some rain
The syntactic structures resulting in the two words rain in (39a) and (39b) are
respectively given in (40a) and (40b), according to the framework proposed in Marantz:
These category-defining functional heads are a type of ‘light’ verb, v. As discussed in section 3.1. above,
light verbs were originally tied in syntactic theory to the auxiliaries that appear in complex predicate
formation. In some languages (ie., Persian, see for instance, Folli, Harley & Karimi (2005), Karimi (1987,
1997)), many verbs are complex predicates in that they are normally composed of some acategorial element
plus an auxiliary that gives the complex the status of a verb. Even active or passive interpretation as
associated with one same argument (tim-e ‘team’ in (i)) is derived by the use of different light verbs (ie.,
dâd ‘give’ and xord ‘collide’).
a. dâd ‘give’ as a light verb
b. xord ‘collide’ as a light verb
mâ unâ-ro shekast dâd
mâ az unâ shekast xord
team-EZ we they-râ defeat gave
team-EZ we of they defeat collided
‘Our team defeated them’
‘Our team was defeated by them’
Folli, Harley & Karimi (2005:1376[18])
In Marantz’s framework, all words are complex in this same sense: some word becomes a verb, noun,
adjective as part of complex-predicate/nominal configuration.
(40) a. break (vº)
b. break (nº)
For a single acategorial abstract root such as √BREAK, two outcomes are possible (ie., a
configuration in which rain is a verb (40a) and a configuration in which rain is a noun
(40b)). There is no need for redundant information to be stored in the brain (i.e., no need
to have two lexical items of different category sharing identical conceptual / phonological
Pylkkänen (2002, 2008) assumes the following empirically supported contrast: in
languages like English, the category-assigning heads nº and vº are phonologically
unrealized (ie., Halle & Marantz 1993, Harley & Noyer 1998, 1999, 2000). Because nº
and vº have zero morphology in English, rain (vº) and rain (nº) are homophonous words
in this language. In other languages such as Finnish, nº and vº are realized by overt
morphemes. The trees in (41) show this contrast for the Finnish root kats-‘look’.
(41) a. katse ‘look’ (nº)
[ ___-/e/]
b. katso ‘look’ (vº)
[ ___ -/o/]
In Finnish, then, the root √KATS ‘look’ has phonologically different suffixes depending on
its syntactic category, katse when a noun (41a), and katso if it is a verb (41b).
An additional advantage of Marantz’s decompositional framework is the idea that
acategorial roots are independent items that may be directly manipulated by the syntax
without the intervention of specific functional material. Thus, (i) an abstract root may be,
but is not required to be, merged with a specific category-defining head in order to be
syntactically available, and (ii) abstract roots are capable of directly taking complements
of their own.
These two assumptions are crucial in order to understand Pylkkänen’s analysis of
causatives, as she assumes that the specialized functional vº head, Cause, brings causation
into the syntax and the semantics of sentences, and that this head may be merged with
different kinds of material including acategorial roots. The details of Pylkkänen’s
proposal of a selection parameter for Cause are discussed in the next subsection.
5.1.2. The Selection parameter
Working on Marantz’s proposal, Pylkkänen claims that lexical causatives across
languages may be compatible with at least two different configurations: 1) Cause
composes directly with an acategorial root (√), (English, 42a). In this case, causatives do
not require an additional vP in the structure they embed; 2) Cause composes with a
complex structure headed by a separate category-defining vº head, (Finnish, 42b).
(42) a. Cause + √ (English zero causatives)
b. Cause + v (Finnish causatives)
[DP the window]
[ ___ -/o/]
The configuration in (42a) corresponds to English zero causatives, such as Mary
broke the window. In this sentence, Cause is a functional vº head that directly takes the
root √BREAK as a complement and ‘causativizes’ it.29 No need for an additional verbalizing
vº head is required in this causative type.30 The structure in (42b) corresponds to Finnish
causativized predicates such as the one shown in (43).
(43) Causativization of the verbalized root raivo ‘rage(v)’ in Finnish
‘Cause to become enraged’
Pylkkänen (2008:116[85a])
The causative structure shown for Finnish in (42b), exhibits the different layers of verbal
structure that may be selected by Cause. The Finnish overt verbal morphology in (43) is
evidence that this language does allow multiple layers of functional material intervening
between Cause and the root. For instance, in (43), Cause embeds the inchoative
morpheme –stu- ‘become’, which in turn embeds the verbalizing morpheme /o/, which
further embeds the root √RAIV.31
In Pylkkänen’s framework, a verbal, vº, head is a type of light verb in that (i) it gives acategorial roots
the category of verbs and (ii) it may contribute verbal (ie., event) semantics to constructions containing it.
In the following examples, Cause, as a type of vº head may give roots the category of verb and the status of
event just by virtue of composing with them. When composing with events (Cause + vº), Cause contributes
causative semantics to a construction that may be already eventive (ie., because the kind of light verb vº
that it contains is of an eventive type). Notice, however, that constructions involving vº are not always
eventive. They may be stative if the light verb vº participating in them are stative (ie., ‘become’). See, for
instance, Harley (1995) or Folli & Harley (2004) for further discussion on different types of vº heads.
The configuration in (42a) can be contrasted with the one for its inchoative (ie., non-causative)
counterpart, The window broke, which Pylkkänen does not discuss in her work, but which, I assume
following frameworks such as Harley (1995), and Marantz (1997), involve a different specialized vº head
(eg. Become), directly composing with the root √BREAK in languages like English. The inherently verbal
nature of Become would ‘verbalize’ the root while not causativizing it.
An analogous structural layering similar to the one shown for Finnish is hard to prove for English, due to
the fact that its verbalizing morphology is typically phonologically null (eg. noun break in Give me a break,
inchoative break as in The window broke, and causative break as in Mary broke the window are
homophonous). In the limited cases whereby overt verbal morphology is available in English (eg. –ize as in
The contrasted configurations shown in (42) suggest that Pylkkänen’s
causativizing head, Cause, is set up differently regarding its selectional properties across
languages. In order to implement this idea, Pylkkänen proposes a three-way
parameterization of Cause in terms of selection. According to her analysis causatives
across languages contain a causativizing head Cause that comes in three flavors: Phaseselecting (i), Verb-selecting (ii), or Root-selecting (iii).32
Cause selects a phase33 (ie., according to Pylkkänen, a phase is a structure that
may host external arguments and/or high applicatives34)
(ii) Verb-selecting
Cause selects a subjectless verbal (ie., vP) clause (cf. (42b))
(iii) Root-selecting
Cause selects an a-categorial root (ie., √P), (cf. (42a))
The following structures in (44) show the three possible configurations the complements
of the different Cause heads may present:
(44) a. Phase-selecting Cause
Cause VoiceP
Vo ice’
b. Verb-selecting Cause
c. Root-selecting
Cause √Root
Adapted from Pylkkänen (2008:85[11])
memor-ize, -ify as in solid-ify, or –en as in fat-(t)-en), it is not clear whether the kind of vº head involved is
a causativizing (ie. Cause) or a non-causativizing one (ie. Become). See Pylkkänen (2002, 2008) and
Harley (2009) for further details regarding distinct types of morphological verbalizers in English.
It is assumed from Pylkkänen’s text, and I assume throughout the dissertation, that at least regarding
selection, the parameter-settings of Cause are not language dependent, but they are structure dependent.
That is, Cause may switch settings within the same language giving way, as we will see, to a variety of
options in the causative inventory of particular languages.
See Chapters 4, 5, and 6 for discussion on the complement of Cause as a phase. For some general
references on phases, see Chomsky (2000, 2001) and subsequent work, Legate (2003), Johnson (2006) and
references therein. See McGinnis (2000, 2001) for details on the syntax of phases and applicatives.
Also in the sense of Pylkkänen (2002, 2008), McGinnis (2000, 2001), or Cuervo (2003). See chapter 6
for some discussion on the syntax of applicatives in Spanish. For further details on the syntax of
applicatives in different languages, see the aforementioned authors.
The structures in (44) show the possible configurations allowed in the complement
position by parameterized Cause, as suggested by Pylkkänen.35 For instance, the type of
Cause in (44a) allows a Voice projection in its complement position. This makes it
compatible with a complement containing an external argument. In Pylkkänen’s account,
Bantu languages like Venda or Luganda exhibit this type of Cause. She proves this point
by showing how these languages allow lower-scope agentive modification, as shown in
(45) for Luganda.
(45) Phase selection Cause: Luganda
Omusomesa ya-wandi-s-a
Katonga ne obu nyikivu
3sg.past-write-cause-fv Katonga with the dedication
‘The teacher made Katonga write with dedication’
Pylkkänen (2008:119[93])]
In (45) the presence of the agent-oriented adverbial ne obu nyikivu ‘with dedication’ as
modifying the subordinate verb wandi- ‘write’, indicates that the embedded domain
contains agentive material, hence the presence of the external argument.
This kind of lower-scope complementation is ungrammatical in causatives in
other languages, such as Finnish. In Finnish, as Pylkkänen shows, agentive
complementation is disallowed in the lower domain (46).
These are the three original structures proposed in Pylkkänen (2002, 2008). For ease of exposition, I
added Voice as the head licensing the external argument in (44a). It is implied in Pylkkänen’s analysis in
(44a) that Cause may directly take Voice as its complement, which suggests that Pylkkänen takes for
granted the fact that VoiceP is a phase in the sense of Chomsky’s (2000, 2001). Chomsky’s discussion on
Phase Theory, however, proposes the existence of two possible phases: vP and CP, not VoiceP.
Pylkkänen’s assumption of VoiceP as a phase, however, is not incompatible with Chomsky’s original
proposal as vP as a phase. This is so since vP is Chomsky’s the external argument introducing light verb,
whereas VoiceP is the head that introduces external arguments in Pylkkänen’s framework. See Chapter 4
for further discussion on this issue. In chapter 6 I offer discussion on the Spanish causative vº hacer ‘make’
that may take a CP phase besides a VoiceP phase.
(46) Ulla rakkenn-utt-i
uude-n toimistopöydä-n innokkaasti
Ulla build-cause-past Matti-adess new-acc office.table-acc enthusiastically
a. ‘Ulla, enthusiastically, had Matti build her a new office desk.’
b. *’Ulla had Matti, enthusiastically, build her a new office desk.’
Pylkkänen (2008)
The sentence in (46) contains the agent-oriented modifier innokkaasti ‘enthusiastically’.
As the two alternative readings in (a) and (b) indicate, this sentence is grammatical only
if this modifier is interpreted as appearing in the higher (ie., causative) domain (ie., (a)),
but not if it is understood as an embedded modifier (ie., (b). This contrast is due to the
fact that the type of Cause head available in Finnish causatives is, as seen in (46b) above,
of the Verb-selecting type. Because this type of Cause is Verb-selecting, it disallows
agents in the lower domain. Verb-selecting Cause, however, does allow functional verbal
material to intervene between the root and Cause, as seen in (46) above.
Intervening material between Cause and the root is prohibited in the third type of
Cause (44c), termed Root-selecting by Pylkkänen. One instance of this type of Cause was
seen above for English zero causatives (42a). Recall that this type of Cause directly
selects acategorial roots, disallowing any type of material to intervene in between.
Japanese lexical causatives are one more instance of Root-selecting Cause. In addition to
lexical causatives, Japanese also has a productive causative type that is Verb-selecting.36
Only Japanese lexical causatives allow the adversity interpretation. Productive
causatives do not. Observe the following contrast in the possible interpretations of the
Although Pylkkänen does not embrace the lexical-productive distinction traditionally attributed to
causatives, she understands the existence of different causative heads within languages, as is the case in the
Japanese example in (45). Thus, the lexical causative in Japanese is Root-selecting whereas the productive
causative in Japanese is Phase-selecting. Pylkkänen rejects the lexical-productive classification as it is
inconsistent with her claim that all causative types are syntactic (including the so-called lexical causatives).
As mentioned in other parts of this dissertation, I do use the lexical-productive terminology for ease of
exposition, but I assume, with Pylkkänen, that all causatives are syntactic.
Japanese causative in (47):
(47) Taroo-wa niku-o kog-e-sase-ta
Taro-top meat-acc burn-intr-cause-past
a. ‘Taro caused the meat to become scorched’
b. *’The meat got scorched to Taro’s detriment’ (adversity)
Pylkkänen (2008:110[64])
The type of Cause involved in the sentence in (47) needs to be, at least, Verb-selecting,
according to Pylkkänen’s classification.
This is because of two main reasons: a) it exhibits verbal morphology, the
intransitivizing suffix –e-, intervening between Cause (ie., -sase-) and the root kog‘burn’; b) the adversity interpretation, typical of Japanese Root-selecting causatives is
unavailable. In other words, because the Japanese causative in (47) includes the presence
of verbal morphology (ie., the inchoative (verbal) suffix -e-), the adversity interpretation
in (47b), only associated with Root-selecting causatives is unavailable. This proves, once
again, that (i) the idiomatic interpretation of Japanese causatives involves the
combination of a causative head directly with a root, (ii) the fact that Cause may appear
in syntactic configurations of different type, even within languages, and each
configuration imposes restrictions on both syntax and interpretation. This will be one of
the ideas adopted throughout the dissertation.
5.2. Summary
This section so far has shown how the causativizing head Cause restricts the amount and
kind of structure it may appear with in different languages. Recall that Cause is
parametrically set for a two-way parameter, which Pylkkänen terms Voice-bundling.
On the one hand, we saw that depending on the specific setting of Cause for this
parameter, the obligatory presence of Causers may be required in lexical causatives in
some languages (eg., English) but not other languages (eg., Japanese).
On the other hand, we’ve just seen that the Selection parameter of Cause makes
this head compatible with embedded material of different kinds. For instance, Phaseselecting Cause requires the presence of embedded Causees only in causative types in
which Cause is specifically set for this parameter, but not in those causative types in
which Cause is set for a different parameter (eg. if Cause is Verb-selecting). The next
section illustrates an instance in which the two possible settings of Cause work in
6. Voice-bundling and Selection working in tandem
Observe the following sentences in (48-50). They illustrate the causativization of
unergatives and transitives in Japanese, Finnish and English.
(48) Japanese
a. Unergative roots
John-ga kodomo-o nak-asi-ta
b. Transitive roots
John-ga Taroo-ni Eigo-o os-hie-ta
J.-nom child-acc cry-cause-past
J.-nom T.-dat English-acc learn-cause-past
‘John made the child cry’
‘John taught Taro English,
lit. John caused Taro to learn English’
(49) Finnish
a. Unergative roots
Jussi itke-tt-i las-ta
b. Transitive roots
Taro ope-tt-i Jussi-lle japani-a
J. cry-cause-past child-part
T.(nom) learn-cause-past J.-abl Japanese-part
‘Jussi made the child cry’
‘Taro taught Jussi Japanese,
lit. Taro caused Jussi to learn Japanese’
(50) English
a. Unergative roots
*John cried the child
b. Transitive roots
*John learned Mary Finnish
Both Japanese (48) and Finnish (49) allow causatives of unergatives and transitives, but
this is not the case of English, given the ungrammaticality of both sentences in (50).
Pylkkänen explains this contrast by appealing to the different parameterization of Cause
in these languages, in terms of both Voice-bundling and Selection. The following chart in
(51) shows the different parameterization of Cause in the three languages according to
Pylkkänen’s proposed classification.
(51) Cause in Japanese, Finnish, and English according to Pylkkänen’s classification
Non Voice-bundling
Non Voice-bundling
[Voice, Cause]
In the next subsection, I explain Pylkkänen’s predictions of the contrasts in (48-50)
regarding their structural contrast, shown in the chart.
6.1. Voice-bundling / Root-selecting Cause (English): No agentive complement
Pylkkänen explains that the grammaticality mismatch between English (50) and
Japanese/Finnish (48-49) is actually the result of the setting of Cause for both Voicebundling and Selection. As the chart in (51) shows, English zero causatives are both
Voice-bundling and Root-selecting. Because of this, English causativized unergatives
have the structure in (52a). Compare it with its non-causativized counterpart in (52b).
(52) a. English causativized unergative
b. English non-causativized unergative
the child
the child37
The structure in (52a) shows all the positions available for the licensing of arguments in a
hypothetical English causativized unergative. Because English Cause is Voice-bundling,
there is no room in the [Voice/Cause] projection other than that reserved for the Causer
John. Because it is Root-selecting, there is no intervening material (ie., no available
positions) between [Voice/Cause] and the Root √CRY.38
Because the Root √CRY is unergative, it does not take complements (cf., (52b)). It
is clear, then, that the causativization of unergatives is ungrammatical in English because,
whereas the Voice-bundling parameter requires the obligatory introduction of a new
The arrow pointing down signifies that the argument the child fails to be syntactically merged in the
structure available.
I include both Voice and v as projections participating in the structure of the English unergative in (52b).
This is consistent with the kind of argument structure assumed in Pylkkänen, as Voice is necessary to
license the agentive subject the child and v is needed to verbalize the root √CRY. In the case of the
hypothetical causativized unergative in (52b), the bundled head [Voice/Cause] both licenses the agentive
subject John and verbalizes the Root, given the specific properties of Cause in English.
argument in the structure (ie., the Causer, John), the Root-selecting parameter limits the
amount of positions available for the licensing of the argument thematically associated to
the Root √CRY (ie., the agent the child). In consequence, this latter argument remains
stranded and unlicensed. The same problem arises in the case of English causativized
transitives (50b): the configuration created by English Cause does not contain any
structural position available for the licensing of the agent of √LEARN, Mary.
6.2. Voice-bundling Cause (Finnish, Japanese): Agent complements are allowed
The Japanese and the Finnish examples in (48-50) are both grammatical, unlike their
English counterpart. This is contrasted with the English Root-selecting / Voice-bundling
Cause that just does not have enough structural positions to host arguments other than the
external argument obligatorily introduced by [Voice/Cause] and the complement of the
Root (√) (see 6.1. above).
The classification in the chart in (51) does not explain this contrast
straightforwardly. This is so since neither Japanese nor Finnish Cause select
configurations that specifically allow embedded agents (ie., embedded VoiceP). Recall
that only phase-selecting causatives contain VoiceP as part of their complement.
According to Pylkkänen, structures in which Cause is set as a non Voice-bundling head
allow unergative / transitive complements precisely because the separation of Voice and
Cause into two different functional heads opens up more syntactic positions for argument
licensing. Notice that this is even possible for Japanese Cause, a Root-selecting causative
head according to Pylkkänen, that nonetheless licenses agentive complements. The exact
position in which the agent of causativized unergatives and transitives in Non-Voicebundling languages is licensed is shown below, in (53).
(53) a. Japanese causativized unergative
‘the child’ Cause
b. Finnish causativized unergative
‘the child’
‘cry’ 39
Adapted from Pylkkänen (2008: 120[94])
Both structures in (53) exhibit two external arguments, the causative agents or Causers
John-ga ‘John’ (53a) / Jussi (53b), and the ‘internal’ agents or Causees kodomo-o (53a) /
las-ta (53b) ‘the child’.
These ‘internal’ agents are introduced in the structure proposed by Pylkkänen as
internal arguments of Cause + {√Root / vP}. That is, she claims that the presence of both
Causees in both the Japanese and the Finnish causativized unergatives is possible because
of the specifier position of Cause. This [Spec, Cause] position is available only whenever
Voice and Cause appear in the syntax as independent heads. In the case of English, this is
not possible because the bundling of these two functional heads makes it impossible for
Cause to have its own specifier position. The same exact position would license the agent
of transitives embedded by Cause in these languages. In Chapter 3, however, I will argue
against this analysis.
Cause in both Japanese and Finnish appears as a suffix to the root (and to the Root+v in the case of
Finnish). For ease of exposition, I did not observe this ordering in the trees in (53).
As for the theta-role of this ‘internal’ external argument licensed as a consequence
of the event Cause being non Voice-bundling, it is not fully discussed by Pylkkänen. She
just proposes it as one of the two ‘internal’ arguments of Cause, one being the Root (in
the case of Japanese), the other being the causee (2008, p. 119). Nothing else is said
regarding this issue.
6.3. Summary
In this section, I have discussed the main tenets behind Pylkkänen’s (2002, 2008)
crosslinguistic analysis of causatives. We have seen that this analysis is based on the
claim that whereas causatives in all languages are formed out of a constant set of
elements, namely the causativizing head Cause that embeds material of certain kind,
crosslinguistic variation appears as a result of the particular parameter settings of the
causativizing head Cause in terms of two variables: a) Voice-bundling, and b) Selection.
The most interesting consequences of Pylkkänen’s analysis can be seen in how certain
structures associated with causatives in some languages are highly restricted in analogous
structures in other languages (i.e., the causativization of unergatives and transitives is
allowed in Japanese and Finnish while it is prohibited in English zero causatives). In the
next subsection, I offer a chart showing Pylkkänen’s original predictions for causatives.
6.4. Pylkkänen’s predictions
The chart in (55) shows Pylkkänen’s predictions derived from the parametric settings of
Cause in terms of Voice-bundling and Selection, given the data studied throughout this
chapter. The predictions are made in terms of the following variables:
(a) Allows unaccusative causatives
(b) Allows causativization of unergatives and transitives
(c) Allows verbal morphology to intervene between Cause and the Root
(d) Allows adverbial modification embedded under Cause
(55) Pylkkänen’s predictions40
English zero causatives
(a) No
(b) No
(c) No
(not even category defining)
(d) Only allows Root modifiers
Japanese adversity causatives
(a) Yes
(b) Yes
(c) No
(not even category defining)
(d) Only allows Root modifiers
Bemba esha causatives
(c) Yes, but non agentive
(d) Yes, but non-agentive
Finnish –tta (desiderative)
(a) Yes
(b) Yes
(c) Yes, but non-agentive
(d) Yes, but non-agentive
Luganda causatives41
Notice that Pylkkänen only discusses Japanese adversity (ie., lexical) causatives in her work. She does
not discuss Japanese productive causatives that, unlike the Japanese causatives listed in (55), are Phaseselecting, because among other characteristics, they may embed external arguments.
Venda causatives are also included in Pylkkänen’s (2002, 2008) work as Phase-selecting. In her analysis,
Pylkkänen fails to identify the Voice-bundling properties of both Luganda and Venda causatives. The
examples from these two languages included in Pylkkänen (2008, section 3.4.4., pp. 117-119) have, then,
the sole purpose of showing the Phase-selecting properties of both languages regarding, for instance, their
adverbial scope possibilities as well as the full-clause status of the predicates embedded by Cause. For
further details and examples regarding these two languages, see the aforementioned work.
The chart offers a shortcut explanation of the contrasts seen in this chapter involving the
English, Japanese and Finnish (eg., the availability of unaccusative causatives in Japanese
and Finnish but not in English). It also provides some diagnostics that are handy when
testing the Voice-bundling as well as Selection possibilities of causatives
crosslinguistically. For instance, only Phase-selecting causatives (eg., Luganda
causatives) allow agentive modification under Cause. In the following chapters, I will
make use of these tests in order to identify these properties in the causatives of English,
Hiaki and Spanish.
7. Discussion and conclusion
As shown throughout this section, Pylkkänen’s proposal based on the double
parameterization of Cause seems to be supported by specific contrasts regarding variation
in the internal syntax of lexical causatives across languages.
Her model makes very interesting predictions that unify the syntactic formation of
causatives crosslinguistically. Most importantly, she gives away with the lexicalproductive distinction assumed in many traditional studies of causativization. One major
unification point is her claim that the differences between causatives do not lie on
whether they are made in the lexicon or in the syntax, but on the different types of
configurations different causative heads are compatible with. This point is very important
because it involves a significant reduction in the machinery implicated in causative
formation. If she is right on this point, it will be a very elegant way to prove that
languages are not that different after all, since they are all formed out of the same basic
Another significant point made by Pylkkänen has to do with the fact, contra more
traditional proposals, that the element that introduces the event argument associated with
causation into structures (ie., the causative functional head Cause) is not the same
element that introduces external arguments (ie., Causers), but the two arguments enter the
syntax separately, as part of different syntactic projections. This is a controversial as well
as important point. It is controversial as in most cases causation does seem to be
intimately associated with an external argument or causer. It is important because this
claim explains phenomena such as the fact that the external argument that is present in
causative sentences is not always agentive. Most importantly, it provides an explanation
as to why, in some languages, causation appears overtly in the absence of a causer
associated with it. This dissertation will continue exploring these important points with
data from other languages.
There are some points made by Pylkkänen that seem a bit more speculative. For
instance, the syntactic licensing of the ‘internal’ agent (ie., the embedded agent) proposed
by Pylkkänen to structurally accommodate agentive causees of unergatives and
transitives in Non Voice-bundling languages is an ingenious idea. As seen in the previous
section, it explains why Japanese Root-causatives and Finnish Verb-causatives can
license an embedded agent despite the fact that their causative head does not allow agents
as part of their complement. The argument seems speculative because, although it is true
that the structure does offer a syntactic position to accommodate an argument that cannot
be accommodated otherwise, it is not clear how, thematically speaking, this argument is
licensed. The argument is an agent, but it is not licensed in the same way as Pylkkänen
claims agents are licensed (ie,. via a Voice head). Since Voice is the head assumed to
take part in introducing agents, an analysis in which all such arguments are introduced by
one single head seems more coherent than an analysis in which this task is performed by
heads of different nature.
Nonetheless, the idea of embedded subjects of causatives being termed (and
indeed interpreted) as ‘internal’ agents is both intuitively and structurally sound within
the realm of causatives. That is, the ‘internal’ agent is considered by Pylkkänen one of
the arguments directly licensed by Cause, in its specifier position. This position makes
the internal agent intimately linked to the causing event, probably as ‘affected’ by this
event (given its role is an internal argument of Cause). It is also linked to the caused
material (ie., the complement of Cause) via Cause. This network of relationships
associated with the causee makes Pylkkänen’s proposal suitable for the kind of roles
causees tend to play, as ‘affected’ agents. It would be interesting to see whether the
causees introduced in this way vary, in any way, from causees introduced differently (eg.,
by an embedded VoiceP in the case of ‘productive causatives’). This dissertation does not
provide such an answer for which the issue is left open for future investigation.
Another controversial point in Pylkkänen’s work involves Japanese lexical
causatives as they work clearly different than their productive counterparts. For instance,
they exhibit a great deal of idiosyncratic allomorphy in the expression of Cause (eg., ø,
-e, -s, -as, etc.), as compared with their productive counterparts that just exhibit the suffix
-(s)ase (ie., Harley 2008: 13[13]). Of course, phase theory (Chomsky 2000, 2001, Legate
2003) may be able to account for these asymmetries, namely if the causative suffix and
its complement happen within the same phase (ie., root-selecting or verb-selecting
Cause), they are eligible/subject to phonological idiosyncrasies. If the causative suffix
and its complement happen in different phases (ie., phase-selecting Cause), phonological
variations are not permitted. I will discuss this issue in the following chapters.
In this dissertation, I assume the main tenets of Pylkkänen’s analysis of causatives
and I apply it to the syntax of productive causatives in Hiaki, Spanish, and English. That
is, in this dissertation I assume that
a) The causativizing head Cause has the same import in the syntax of lexical and
productive causatives. That is, Cause is present in the syntax of any causative
sentence whatever its type.
b) Voice is the functional head responsible for the introduction of external arguments
in the syntax of both causative and agentive non-causative sentences, regardless of
whether these agents are generated in the matrix or in the embedded domain. In this
latter aspect, I divert from Pylkkänen’s analysis as just discussed, that is, in general,
Voice will be implicated in introducing external arguments. If embedded structures
contain external argument I will take it as a sign that the type of Cause treated is
c) Lexical roots and functional category-assigning heads are independent syntactic
d) Cause may embed different types of structure (ie., it may be root-selecting, vselecting, or phase-selecting).
e) Cause and Voice are individual functional heads. In consequence, I will assume that
the presence of Cause in a given structure does not automatically involve the
presence of an external argument.
f) A phase-selecting Cause does not always equal a ‘Voice’-selecting Cause. That is,
in some languages, a phase-selecting Cause will select phases other than VoiceP
(i.e., CP). See chapter 6 for further details.
Crucially, if Pylkkänen’s analysis is right, it should predict most (if not all) of the
contrasts previously pointed out in the literature and left unsolved that involve any type
of causativization regardless of the amount of material embedded by Cause. For instance,
Pylkkänen rejects the lexical-productive distinction held in more traditional studies of
causatives but most of her work is centered on the properties of the traditionally termed
‘lexical’ causatives. In the following chapters I explore whether Pylkkänen’s predictions
account for contrasts in the syntax of other types of causatives across languages other
than lexical (ie., productive causatives).
1. Introduction
In chapter 2 I discussed Pylkkänen’s (2002, 2008) model of causativization in which a)
all causative constructions are syntactic, and the syntactic component responsible for
causativization is the functional head Cause occurring as part of their syntactic structure
(ie., section 3.1.); b) not all causative constructions contain the functional head Voice as
part of their syntax (section 3.2.), which explains why it is possible, in some languages
(ie., Japanese, Finnish) to find unaccusative causatives; c) the functional head Cause is
parameterized into Voice-bundling (section 4) and Selection (section 5).
The structural analysis she gives of causatives based on the parameterization of
Cause results in several predictions on the behavior of causatives across languages. Two
important ones are i) the possibility, according to Pylkkänen thanks to a Non Voicebundled Cause, to find zero causatives of unergatives and transitives in languages such as
Japanese but not in languages like English (section 6), and ii) the guarantee that English
zero causatives will systematically license only unaccusative roots.
In this chapter, I show examples from English and Hiaki root causatives in which
Pylkkänen’s predictions are not as clear-cut. In English, not all unaccusatives may form
root causatives, as unaccusatives like arrive, appear or die fail to do so. Hiaki is a non
Voice-bundling language that exhibits morphological causatives (like Japanese and
Finnish) and shows some affinities with Japanese. For instance, the transitive version of
Hiaki muuke ‘die’ derives an adversity interpretation, just like Japanese sin-ase ‘diecause’. Also like Japanese and unlike English, Hiaki allows the lexical causativization of
unaccusative appear. Nonetheless, Hiaki disallows the root causativization of both
transitives and unergatives, which suggests, contra Pylkkänen, that root (ie. lexical)
causatives are incompatible with both unergatives and transitives, and that cases in which
unergatives appear in root causatives must be exhibiting then unergatives with
unaccusative syntax.
The chapter is organized as follows. In section 2, I revisit Pylkkänen’s points that
will be relevant in this chapter; in section 3, I discuss the case of Hiaki root causatives. I
show that they are Non Voice-bundling and Root selecting, like Japanese. I show that
Hiaki root causatives share a few similarities with their Japanese counterparts but, contra
Pylkkänen’s predictions, they fail to causativize unergatives and transitives; In section 4,
I discuss the case of English failure to form root causatives of unaccusatives like arrive,
appear and die. I give one structural and one morphological argument that explain the
restriction. None of them, however, disproves Pylkkänen’s analysis as I conclude that, if
these verbs do not form root causatives is because i) their inner structure involves
elements other than the theme (structural explanation) and/or ii) their root is in
competition with a more highly specified root (morphological explanation); in section 5 I
conclude that Pylkkänen’s predictions regarding the root causativization of unaccusatives
are correct, but her predictions about the root causativization of unergatives and
transitives must be revised.
2. Pylkkänen’s model for Root causatives
The type of Cause that forms root causatives may also be Voice-bundling (ie., English
zero causatives (ie., John opened the door)) or Non Voice-bundling (ie., Japanese
‘lexical’ causatives). In this section I discuss relevant points involved by this (Voicebundling / non Voice-bundling) division regarding root causatives, as the understanding
of this parameter is central to this chapter.
2.1. Voice-bundling Root causatives
In the diagram in (1) I show the basic structure of a Voice-bundling/Root-selecting Cause
(1) The structure of a Voice-bundling/Root-selecting Cause type (eg. English zero causatives)
Argument-licensing-wise, a Voice-bundling causative head that is root-selecting
obligatorily licenses (i) a Causer in its specifier position and (ii) a root complement. The
root may have a complement of its own but it can never be associated with an agent, as
shown in (2).42
The falling arrow associated with the Agent indicates that this argument fails to be inserted in the kind of
configuration created by English zero Cause.
(2) No embedded agents are allowed under
(3) English zero Cause
Complement (of Root) (ie., a theme)
Agents other than the causer are excluded from configurations such as (2), because only a
causer can be licensed above Cause and only themes can be licensed below Cause. This is
so since only themes may be complements of roots (see e.g., Perlmutter (1978, 1986),
Burzio (1986), Levin & Rappaport Hovav (1995), as well as Marantz (1984) and Kratzer
(1994, 1996), described in Chapter 2) and there is no syntactic position available for
argument licensing above the Root and below Cause. Pylkkänen concludes that roots
associated with agents (ie., unergative and transitive roots, dance and read, respectively)
cannot be licensed under English zero Cause. She also concludes that only unaccusatives
(ie., open, sink or break) are eligible as root complements of English zero Cause, since
they are associated with theme rather than with agent complements.
What is not clear from Pylkkänen’s claims is whether any unaccusative may be
licensed under English zero Cause. If all unaccusatives just involve a theme complement
as part of their internal structure, then any unaccusative should be allowed under this
causative head. But this is clearly not the case, as the following English zero causatives in
(3) demonstrate.
(3) a. *John arrived Mary to the station
b. *John died Mary
c. *John appeared a picture on the screen
The sentences in (3) are ungrammatical as they all resist zero causativization. The illformedness of (3) is not predicted by the structure in (1-2), as all root complements of
zero Cause in (3) are unaccusatives (ie., arrive, die, appear) that are not associated with
agents, but with themes. Unless the roots in (3) involve elements other than their theme
complements as part of their argument structure, nothing in Pykkänen’s model explicitly
prevents the sentences in (3) from being grammatical. In this chapter (section 4) I show
that Pylkkänen’s predictions are correct if one understands that the internal dynamics of
different verb classes may make the three-way transitive-unergative-unaccusative
classification less transparent. Next I introduce non Voice-bundling Root causatives,
which will be the structure I will be concerned about in the first part of this chapter.
2.2. Non Voice-bundling Root causatives
Non Voice-bundling Root causatives may be found in Japanese. A typical sentence
exhibiting this structure, according to Pylkkänen, looks like (4).
(4) A Japanese Root causative
Taroo-wa niku-o kog-asi-ta
Taro-top meat-acc burn-cause-past
a. ‘Taro scorched the meat’
b. ‘The meat got scorched to Taro’s detriment’
Pylkkänen (2008: 108[55])
In the sentence in (4) the Root causative suffix –asi- directly embeds the root kog ‘burn’.
The structure has two readings, one involving the external argument Taroo-wa
‘Taro(top)’ (4a), the other excluding an external argument (ie., the adversity reading in
(4b)). In this latter reading the topic argument Taroo-wa ‘Taro’ is an experiencer. These
two readings are available for this type of causative, according to Pylkkänen, thanks to
the fact that the causative functional head Cause is not bundled to Voice, like in English
(1), but each functional light verb heads its own projection. I show the structure in (5).
(5) The structure of a Voice-bundling/Root-selecting Cause type
(eg. Japanese ‘lexical’ causatives)
Complement of Root
When the light verb Voiceº appears in the structure, we obtain the reading in (4a)
involving an external argument, the Causer Taroo-wa ‘Taro’. Because Japanese Cause is
non-Voice-bundling, however, Cause may appear in the absence of VoiceP. If this
happens, we obtain the reading in (4b). I show the structure in (6).43
(6) Structure of an adversity causative in Japanese
Complement of Root
In (5) and (6) I do not include a [Spec, CauseP] position, although recall from Chapter 2 that Pylkkänen
does make use of this position in order to accommodate Causees of unergatives and transitives.
The diagram in (6) represents the structure proposed by Pylkkänen for unaccusative
causatives (ie., causatives with an adversity interpretation in Japanese). Because Cause
appears in the absence of VoiceP, no external argument (ie. Causer) is required in this
type of causatives, although the causative marker –asi- (4) is overtly realized.
One consequence derived from this structure, according to Pylkkänen, is the
possibility of finding Japanese Root causatives of unergatives and transitives. To find
such structures with the adversity interpretation is evidence that they truly are Root
causatives, as argued by Oehrle & Nishio (1981). An example offered by Pylkkänen is
shown in (7).
(7) Unergatives can be Root causatives in Japanese
Ano kodomo-ga itumo oya-o nak-asi-te iru
That child-nom always parents-acc cry-cause-prog iru
‘That child is always troubling his parents’
Pylkkänen (2008: 121[98])
Further evidence she offers to show that these are root causatives is seen in (8) whereby
the sentence in (7) exhibits a Root (lexical) causative (ie., -asi-) embedded by a Phase
(productive) causative (ie., -(s)ase). This test was developed by Kuroda (1993).
(8) Taroo-ga Jiroo-ni sensei-o nak-as-ase-ta
Taro-nom Jiro-dat teacher-acc cry-cause(lexical)-cause(productive)-past
‘Taro made Jiro make the teacher cry (ie., trouble the teacher)’
Pylkkänen (2008: 122[100])
Pylkkänen explains that the Root causativization of unergatives is allowed in Japanese
thanks to the Non Voice-bundling nature of the Japanese Root-selecting Cause. Unlike
English (ie., (2)), the structures involving Japanese Root-selecting Cause may license two
internal arguments in addition to the external argument licensed in [Spec,Voice] (ie., (2)).
One internal argument (ie., the embedded object) is licensed as a complement of the root.
The other (ie., the embedded external argument or Causee) is structurally licensed in the
Spec position of Cause. This is allowed because, according to Pylkkänen, all you need to
license an embedded external argument is an available position under Voice and above
the Root, and Cause, being unbundled, has the ability to independently license arguments
in its Spec position. I show the structure proposed by Pylkkänen in (9).
(9) Pylkkänen’s proposed structure for Japanese Root causatives (unergatives)
√Root (unergative)
The diagram in (9) shows how the external arguments of Japanese Root causatives of
unergatives are structurally licensed: in [Spec, Cause]. The proposal of this structure
leads to controversy, however.
First, it is not clear whether the embedded external argument is thematically
licenced by Cause as well (ie., base-generated in [Spec, Cause]). If so, the following is
not clear. The mechanism that allows Cause to thematically license the external
arguments it embeds (its causee), but not the external argument, within its own domain
(its causer) can only be inferred by assuming Kratzer’s (1994, 1996) proposal (see
chapter 2) that external arguments and internal arguments are licensed by different
predicates. The exact mechanism allowing this operation, however, is not explicitly
described and demonstrated in Pykkänen’s work, which creates confusion.
The semantic interpretation of the external argument supposedly generated in
[Spec, CauseP] is different than that of the matrix external argument (the Causer), basegenerated in [Spec, VoiceP]. This can be used as evidence for Pylkkänen’s distinction.
None of the external arguments is thematically licensed by the roots they relate to,
following Kratzer.
The problem is that one external argument (ie., the embedded external argument)
is also interpreted as affected by the causing event that is headed by Cause, which is the
same head that licenses it in its Spec position, but Pylkkänen does not clearly discuss any
of these points. In the following section, I will discuss data from Hiaki (Uto-Aztecan)
that, like Japanese, exhibits morphological causatives, and forms Root causatives that are
non Voice-bundling. We will see that this language allows structures similar to Japanese
(ie., the morphological marking of transitivity/intransitivity, an adversity reading of
transitive muucha ‘die’). It does not allow, however, the Root causativization of
unergatives and transitives, contra Pylkkänen’s predictions. Let us explore the case.
3. Hiaki lexical causatives
3.1. Productive and lexical causatives in Hiaki
Hiaki forms many complex predicates, including productive causatives, via the
suffixation of causative morphemes. For instance, consider the productive causativization
of nooka ‘speak’ by the direct causative –tua, shown in (10).
(10) a. Non-causative
Maria nooka-k
Mary speak-perf
‘Mary spoke’
b. Causative
Huan Maria-ta nok-tua-k
John Mary-acc speak-cause-perf
‘John made Mary speak’
The sentences in (10) show Hiaki productive causative formation, which involves the
affixation of –tua to the verbal root √NOK for the verb nooka ‘speak’.44 The embedded
subject Maria becomes accusative, Maria-ta.
Many lexical causatives in this language exhibit the transitivizing suffix -(t)a
added to the roots. Root causatives in Hiaki tend to be morphologically contrasted with
their non-causative counterparts via intransitivizing morphology, -(t)e. This can be seen
in the following alternating pairs (11).45
a. hamt-e
b. kott-e
c. bwas-e
d. kivak-e
e. ro’akt-e
f. kahho’ot-e
break (eg. glass)
break (eg. wood)
enter (sg.subj) / bring (sg.obj)
enter (pl.subj) / bring (pl.obj)
The pairs in (11) show the morphological non-causative / causative alternation in Hiaki.
The lexical causative alternation is not always morphologically marked in this language.
This is the case of the pair in (12) that exhibits a suppletive kind of alternation (ie.,
different roots are used for the two members of the causative pair).
A preliminary clarification is necessary at this point. The productive causative –tua appears suffixed to
Roots, but this does not mean that the functional causative head realized by –tua directly embeds Roots in
productive causative formation. Lexical causatives, studied in this section, are Root causatives because they
syntactically embed Roots. I will show this clearly later in this section as well as in chapter 5.
The following lists are illustrative of the phenomenon but in no way are they exhaustive. For further
pairs, both involving the causative/inchoative alternation and the transitive/intransitive alternation, see
Guerrero (2004) chapter 3, Jelinek & Escalante (2001), Dedrick & Casad (1999) or Harley (2007).
die (sg.subj) / kill (sg.obj)
die (pl.subj) /kill (pl.obj)
I just outlined lexical causative formation in Hiaki. Hiaki patterns with Japanese in that
lexical causatives tend to be morphologically distinct than their non-causative
counterparts. For the sake of comparison, I next outline the causative alternation in
3.2. Japanese
In Japanese, as we have seen, productive causativization is always done by means of the
suffixation of –sase to verbs.46 Root (ie., lexical) causativization is more idiosyncratic in
that it takes different morphological forms. In some cases, lexical causatives are
morphologically marked by means of the suffix –sase, although lexical causatives in this
language may also take other forms. The following examples are taken from Shibatani
(1976) and Harley (2008). The example in (13) is a productive causative,
morphologically marked with the suffix –sase. The examples in (14) are all lexical
causatives. Some are followed by their productive counterparts for the sake of
Structurally, productive causatives in Japanese cannot be the result of the direct embedding of verbal
roots by –sase because this suffix may embed other verbal suffixes, such as the desiderative suffix –taku(i).
Taroo-ga musuko-o sini-taku-sase-ta
Taro-nom son-acc die-des-cause-past
a. ‘Taro made his son want to die’ (productive interpretation)
b. *’Taro was adversely affected by his son’s wanting to die’ (lexical interpretation)
Pylkkänen (2008: 109[60])
The contrasted semantics of the sentence in (i) are the consequence of the presence of the intervening
verbal suffix taku between the root and the causative suffix sase. This suggests that lexical causatives are
root causatives but productive causatives must embed, at least, vP.
(13) Productive
Taroo-wa Yoshi-o ik-sase
Taro-top Yoshi-acc go-cause
‘Taro made Yoshi go’
Harley (2008)
(14) Lexical
a. –e-ru
b. -as-u
c. –u
d. –s-u
e. –os-u
f. –se-ru
g. akas-u
‘get up’
‘put on’
The examples in (13-14) show the paradigm of causative formation in Japanese. In the
example in (13) I show the productive causative for the root ik- ‘go’.47,48,49 The examples
in (14) show the verbs in their non-causative form followed by their corresponding
lexical causatives. As Shibatani (1976) puts it, lexical causative forms cannot be
predicted, but they are rather idiosyncratic and fall within different morphological
classes. At times, the corresponding causative form of some Japanese verbs is identical to
its non-causative counterpart. This is the case of hiraku ‘open’.
The examples in (14a-b) are from Shibatani (1975:9); the rest of examples in (14) are adapted from
Harley (2006: 14[13])
In (14c), it is the non-causative form that exhibits overt (ie., passive –ar-) morphology. If compared with
the causative forms in the other examples, it looks the causative suffix in this group exhibits zero
morphology, rather than a –u suffix.
As in (c), the non-causative form in (14g) also exhibits overt morphology, the suffix –e. One of the
puzzles regarding the causative morphology in Japanese is precisely the fact that the suffix –e may mark
non-causative morphology in some cases (14g) but causative morphology in some other cases (14a). Heidi
Harley (p.c.) suggests that the identical morphology of this suffix corresponding to multiple uses /
meanings may be an indication that –e is the morphological realization of an underspecified vº, which is
what she proposes for –ify in English that also varies between vCAUSE and vBECOME.
(15) ‘open’
hiraku (non-causative)
hiraku (causative)
Shibatani (1975:11)
In other cases, the lexical causative may be suppletive. This is the case of the verb korosu ‘kill’, which Shibatani offers as the lexical causative for the unaccusative sineru ‘die’. I
will devote some more discussion to the lexical causative of Japanese die later.
An interesting point worth discussing regarding the alternating pairs in (14) is the
fact that many of these verbs are unergative in some languages like English, but they
participate in the inchoative/causative alternation in Japanese. An example of these
inchoative verbs is naku ‘cry’ (14b), one of the ‘unergative’ verbs used by Pylkkänen in
order to argue that unergatives can be lexically/root causativized in Japanese. As Heidi
Harley (p.c.) points out, the fact that verbs like naku ‘cry’ participate in the
inchoative/causative alternation is indication that these verbs must be unaccusative, rather
than unergative, when used intransitively in Japanese. This is the line of thought I will
defend regarding Japanese alternating roots throughout this chapter. I will resume
discussion on this point later. Next I discuss the properties of Hiaki lexical causatives,
according to Pylkkänen’s classification.
3.3. Hiaki lexical causatives are Non Voice-bundling and Root-selecting
Hiaki ‘lexical’ causatives are Root selecting and Non Voice-bundling, just like Japanese.
I show the structure in (16).
(16) Root causatives in Hiaki
Mercedes Voice’
Mercedes uusi-ta ropt-a
Mercedes child-acc roll-trans
‘Mercedes is rolling up the child’
vPCAUSE Trans [+]
The diagram in (16) shows the structure for a Root causative in Hiaki. As the structure
shows, lexical vCAUSE in Hiaki is Non Voice-bundling and Root selecting. I deal with
these two parameters one at a time.
3.3.1. Lexical vCAUSE in Hiaki is Root selecting
As the diagram shows, the functional head vCAUSE is like Japanese (5) in that this
causativizing head directly embeds the root, ropt- ‘roll’. Unlike Japanese, however, the
lexical causative head vCAUSE has zero realization in Hiaki. We know this because,
although the causative/inchoative alternating pairs in Hiaki involve a morphological –a/e contrast, these are marks of transitive / intransitive morphology as the transitive suffix
–(t)a, does not always involve causativization. This is the case of the pairs in (17) whose
relation is that of transitivity, but not of causativity (see Jelinek (1997)).
a. omte ‘be angry’
b. ve’okte ‘stick out tongue’
c. chepte ‘jump’
omta ‘hate, be angry at’ (≠ make angry)
ve’okta ‘lick’ (≠ make stick out tongue)
chepta ‘jump over something’ (≠make sb./sth. jump)
None of the transitives in (17), involves the causativization of its intransitive counterpart.
For instance, the transitive omta ‘be angry at’ (17a) is the transitive counterpart of the
intransitive omte ‘be angry’. However, omta ‘be angry at’ is not the causativized version
of omte. If this were the case, the meaning of omta would be ‘make somebody angry’,
contrary to fact. This suggests that, although lexical causatives in Hiaki exhibit a
morphological alternation with respect to their non-causative (inchoative) counterparts,
the morphological markers that are phonologically present in these constructions may not
be causative, but just transitivity markers.
Transitive markers are not embedded by, but they rather embed, verbalizing little
vº / light verbs in Hiaki. These include vºCAUSE, vºBE, vºDO and so on. I discuss this at
length next.
Consider, for instance, the non-causative alternating verbs omte / omta ‘be angry’.
They both exhibit overt (in)transitivizing morphology, -te for the intransitive form, -ta for
its transitive counterpart. This is the same type of alternating morphology exhibited by
other roots like hamte / hamta ‘break’ that do undergo the causative alternation, since
hamta does mean ‘cause to break’. However, in the case of omte / omta ‘be angry’ (17a)
the alternating pair does not hold a non-causative / causative relation, as omta ‘be angry
(trans)’ does not mean ‘to cause to be angry’, but it simply means ‘to be angry at
somebody’. In both intransitive and transitive cases, the nominative subject of omta is not
a causer, but an experiencer. Most importantly, regardless of the transitive / intransitive
marker, the kind of vP involved in both intransitive and transitive cases is a stative vºBE.
This shows that TransP embeds vP and not vice versa.
Theoretically speaking, this means that in cases like the ones in (17), the
verbalizing element is not vºCAUSE , but other kinds of verbal heads (ie., vºBE (17a), vºDO
(17b-c)), since the interpretation of the transitive verbs is not causative. The subjects of
these verbs may be licensed by Voice, the head that introduces external arguments, but in
the absence of vºCAUSE, the sentence is not interpreted causatively. The accusative object
in (18a) is a goal of the root √OMT ‘be angry’. I show the contrast between transitive omta
and intransitive omte ‘be angry’ in (18).
(18) a. omta
b. omte
vPBE trans [+]
trans [-]
In (18) the transitivity suffixes –a (18a) and –e (18b) head a Trans(sitivity)P, as proposed
in Jelinek (1997) and Jelinek & Escalante (2001). TransP is a functional projection that is
responsible for the valency of the verbs (ie., the transitivity properties of verbs), and it
has phonological realization in Hiaki.
As in Jelinek (1997), TransP appears in the structure regardless of whether the
verb is transitive (18a) or intransitive (18b), precisely because this head determines the
transitivity of verbs, and because both transitive and intransitive markers are overtly
realized in this language, as seen in the diagram. The head of this projection, Transº,
determines the valency of sentences in its feature specification, [+trans] (18a) or [-trans]
I depart from Jelinek’s analysis in the way I implement the mechanisms involved
in TransP. In my analysis, it is crucial to separate transitivity from the event semantics of
verbs, as they are distinct phenomena: the former distinction is strictly structural, whereas
the latter pertains to event semantics. For Jelinek, TransP is the functional light verb that
indicates both the valency (ie., structural properties) and the event semantics of verbs. In
my analysis, TransP is only a structural type of head that licenses objects in its Spec
position and is responsible for their (acc) case. Themes are thematically licensed directly
by the roots, as their complements.50 The sentences in (18) both lack themes. In the
transitive version of the sentence, the accusative argument, Huanta ‘John(acc)’ has been
base-generated as a goal to the root (ie., Pete experiences anger at John). Since it needs to
be structurally licenced, the goal Huan is moved to TransP, where it receives accusative
case. The structures in (17b-c) would receive similar analyses, with the difference that the
element licensed in [Spec, VoiceP] would be interpreted as an agent rather than as an
experiencer, because VoiceP is composed with a vDO type rather than with a vBE type, as
This mechanism is similar to the one in Chomsky’s (1995, 2000, 2001) for vP, although unlike
Chomsky’s vP, TransP neither introduces external arguments (ie., VoiceP does) nor is it responsible for the
event semantics of the verb, because this head has a strict structural purpose. In Chomsky’s analysis, Transº
would be considered the realization of just the structural part of vP.
in (18). Both accusatives in (17b-c) are base-generated, not as themes but as adjuncts to
the root. In order to be structurally licensed, however, they are raised to TransP, where
they receive accusative.
The event semantics of verbs is then not provided by TransP in my analysis, but
by a different light verb, vP, which may be of different types (stative, inchoative,
causative, etc). This is both a functional light verb and a category assigning little v that
directly selects acategorial roots and gives them their category of verbs.
Structurally speaking, TransP always generates a Spec position in Jelinek’s
analysis, regardless of the valency of the verb (ie., intransitive TransP also generates a
Spec position, that may be filled or not -- unaccusative verbs have this position filled in
but it is empty in the case of unergatives). For me, [Spec,Trans] only exists if the feature
content of Transº is [+]. If Transº is [-], TransP does not project a Spec position in my
In analysis proposed here, it is not necessary to project [Spec, TransP] in the case
of unaccusatives because themes are thematically licensed as the objects of Roots. If a
theme is contained in a structure whose Transº is [+trans], it is raised to its Spec position
and assigned accusative. If, on the other hand, a theme is contained in a structure whose
Transº is [-trans], it is raised for structural reasons to the only Spec position that is
available, [Spec, TP], where it is assigned nominative.
Such step is desirable since, unlike objects of transitives, the structural subjects of
both unaccusatives and unergatives receive nominative case (from Tº) regardless of
whether they are thematically licensed as objects of Roots (unaccusatives) or in the Spec
position of VoiceP (unergatives). Also, the realization of Transº for both unaccusative
and unergative clauses is -e. The identical relation of unaccusatives and unergatives with
TransP is explained if this functional head just serves structural purposes.
The division of labor between TransP and vP is then necessary in Hiaki because i)
at times transitive / intransitive alternating verbs may have identical event semantics (ie.,
the transitive/intransitive pair in (18a) is different regarding transitivity while identical
regarding the (stative) semantics of the verb; ii) but at other times, transitive / intransitive
alternating pairs may have different event semantics (ie., the causative/inchoative pair
cheokta ‘melt(cause)’ / cheokte ‘melt(become)’ exhibit different event semantics; iii)
most importantly, verbs whose valency is overtly marked identically (eg., as transitive)
may exhibit different event semantics (transitive verbs may be vCAUSE, vBE, vDO etc.).
In Jelinek’s analysis, verbalizing heads other than -(t)e / -(t)a are also analyzed as
‘Trans’. This makes sense, since for Jelinek Transº is not only structural but it is also a
light verb responsible for the event semantics of clauses. Thus, this author analyzes the
productive causative head –tua as Transº. Sentences involving –tua may embed the
(in)transitivizing suffixes –e/-a.51 This is seen in (19).
(19) a. (-tua) productive causative of rokte ‘roll(intr)’
Mercedes senu-k roakt-i-tua-k
Mercedes one-acc roll-intr-cause-perf
‘Mercedes made somebody roll’
The intransitivizing suffix –e undergoes a vocalic change to -i if it appears as part of a stem embedded by
certain suffixes such as the causativizing suffix –tua. An example:
Inepo aman vuite
(ii) Inepo aman vuiti-pea
1sg there run(sg.subj)
1sg there run(sg.subj)-des
‘I’m running (over there)’
‘I feel like running (over there)’
b. (-tua) productive causative of rokta ‘roll(trans)’
Maala Mercedes-ta ili uusi-ta piisam-po roakt-a-tua-k
Mother Mercedes-acc child-acc blanket-loc roll-trans-cause-perf
‘Mother made Mercedes roll the child in the blanket’
In (19) the productive causative suffix –tua systematically embeds the (in)transitivizing
suffixes –e (19a) and –a (19b). In productive causatives there are two events. The outer
event in (19) is brought about by –tua and the inner event is brought about by a vP that
embeds the root √ROAK and that may be intransitive (roakte (19a)) or transitive (roakta
In Jelinek’s analysis, -tua is treated as Transº that embeds a further Transº, realized by
–e (19a) and –a (19b). This is consistent with her analysis of Transº as both an eventive
light verb and a structural transitivizer. Here, –tua in (19) is treated as the morphological
realization of the causativizing head vCAUSE (this is similar to Jelinek’s analysis for
reasons I am about to explain). This causative head embeds the inner event headed by
TransP, as seen in (18).
The causativizing head vCAUSE is treated here as a functional head different from
Transº. Nonetheless, this head, in Hiaki may be historically derived from the combination
of the verbalizing head -tu, plus the transitivizing suffix –a.52 In other words, -tua
contains Transº, but it is a functional head in which both vP and Transº are bundled into
one single head. Because –tua contains Transº, it may structurally license arguments in its
Rudy Troike (p.c.) informs me that in Classical Nahuatl, there are a number of causative suffixes,
sometimes as alternants with the same verb with subtle differences in meaning. Some contain –ti, which is
the Nahuatl reflex of Uto-Aztecan’s –tu, which suggests that this part of the causative in Hiaki goes back to
Uto-Aztecan. The following Nahuatl suffixes all end in –a, which supports my intuition about the
separability of –tu and –a: -wia, -lia, -tia, -ltia (the –lia is sometimes an applicative, corresponding to the
Hiaki applicative suffix –ria).
Spec position. The vº -tu serves as a verbalizing suffix that derives other parts of speech
into verbs. It tends to give verbs a change-of-state interpretation. In (20) I show some
examples with the verbalizing suffix –tu not involving –tua.
(20) a. Verbalization of a pronoun
Inepo inepo-tu-vae
1sg 1sg-TU-prosp
‘I’m going to be me’
b. Verbalization of an adjective
Aapo naamukia-tu
3sg drunk-TU
‘He’s becoming a drunk’
In the sentences in (20), -tu embeds a pronoun (20a) and an adjective (20b) and turns
them into (change-of-state) predicates. This is consistent with an analysis that considers
the causativizing suffix –tua as a grammaticalization of –tu + -a, since –tua ‘make’
causatives always involve a transitive change of state. As a grammaticalized functional
light verb and for ease of exposition, however, I will analyze –tua here as a single
projection head.
The point I would like to make here has to do with the surface organization of the
two suffixes historically producing –tua: the transitivizing suffix –a embeds the
verbalizing suffix –tu (recall that Hiaki is left-branching). This supports the order of
embedding proposed for the structures in (16, 18): vP (ie, -tu) is embedded by TransP
(ie., -a).
Now, although it might look that the suffix –a is actually a causative suffix, since
it is really the point of contrast between the causative suffix –tua and the inchoative /
verbalizing suffix –tu, I claim that this is not so. The combination of a change-of-state
verbalizing suffix (-a) plus the transitive suffix –a is what makes –tua causative but none
of its parts in isolation make a causative, since –a alone, as we have seen, does not make
The example in (21) exhibits the productive causativization of the intransitive verb
ropte ‘roll(intrns)’.
Mercedes uusi-ta ropt-i-tua
Mercedes child-acc roll-intr-cause
‘Mercedes is making the child roll’
The syntax of Hiaki productive causatives will be fully discussed in chapter 5. What is
relevant at this point is the syntax of the material embedded by the causativizing head
-tua. In (21), the embedded theme uusi-ta ‘the child’ is moved to the Spec position of
vCAUSE –tua because this is the position where the Trans component of this bundled head
structurally licenses this argument (ie., the Causee).
As the structure shows, there is no other position closer to the thematic position of
uusi-ta that may structurally license this argument, as the event in which this argument
has been base-generated is embedded by a Transº whose feature specification is
[-trans], and recall that a TransP with negative feature specification involves no Spec
This decompositional style is perhaps reminiscent of proposals such as Ramchand’s (2008).
As proposed above, lexical causatives in Hiaki do not involve the productive
causative –tua (in (21)). They rather contain a light verb realized by zero morphology,
which is embedded by TransP.54 This explains why most lexical causatives in this
language involve the transitivizing suffix –a. Because lexical causatives contain ‘Trans’
as part of their head, they always involve transitive syntax (ie., they involve roots
containing objects). The diagram in (22) shows the productive causativization of a lexical
causative in Hiaki.
(22) Analysis of a zero causative in Hiaki embedded by the productive causative -tua
Maala Mercedes-ta uusi-ta ropt-a-tua
Mother M.-acc child-acc roll-trans-cause
‘Mother is making Mercedes roll up the child’
vPCAUSE Trans [+]
Although perhaps the light verb in Hiaki zero causatives is sometimes realized by –t, as in
roakta ‘roll(cause)’ /roakte ‘roll(inch)’, ropta ‘roll(cause)’ / ropte ‘roll(inch)’ and so on. If this is
so, the causative meaning of the –ta combination will be a consequence of a feature bundle
between the features of the change-of-state vP and the transitive features of Trans (ie., -a). This
makes sense since both –tua and lexical causatives in Hiaki license an accusative object (ie, a
Causee). For ease of exposition, however, I will not analyze the vP and TransP as bundled into
the same head, although this issue remains as a subject of future research.
The diagram in (22) shows two causativizing projections. The higher one is headed by
the productive causative –tua, which is the morphological realization of the light verb
vCAUSE. As just explained, the –a part of this suffix is the morphological realization of the
Hiaki transitivizing suffix. For this reason, the causativizing bundle vCAUSE + Trans
structurally licenses the accusative Causee Mercedes-ta in its Spec position. This head in
turn embeds an inner event, headed by the argument-introducing projection VoiceP. It is
here that the accusative causee, Mercedes-ta, is thematically licensed. For reasons that I
will discuss next, Hiaki does not exhibit the Voice / Cause bundled head proposed by
Pylkkänen. Embedded by VoiceP comes TransP that is responsible for the transitive
structure of lexical causatives and that is morphologically realized as –a. This projection
licenses a further accusative argument, the theme uusi-ta ‘the child’, in its Spec position,
and embeds the vP responsible for causative semantics, the zero causative head vCAUSE.55
We have seen that the presence of Transº just above vCAUSE in Hiaki explains why
most lexical causatives in this language exhibit transitive morphology. However, we have
seen that the reverse does not hold. As we have seen earlier (eg. omta ‘angry(trns)’(18)),
not all instances of transitive morphology in Hiaki involve lexical causativization.
Transitive morphology is not exclusive of causative verbal projections, but it rather
appears in Hiaki as part of all verbal projections. In Pylkkänen’s terms, lexical vCAUSE in
Hiaki is also Non Voice-bundling. I will discuss this next.
Although see the previous fn.
3.3.2. Hiaki is non Voice-bundling
Both lexical and productive Hiaki vCAUSE are non Voice-bundling. I discuss the non
Voice-bundling properties of Hiaki productive vCAUSE in chapter 5. Evidence from the
passivization of Hiaki lexical vCAUSE shows that this head is non Voice-bundling. Hiaki
passives are formed by adding the passivizing suffix –wa to verbal roots. This includes
roots that have been lexically causativized, as shown in (23).
(23) a. Active
Aapo uka kari-ta vee-ta-k
b. Passive
U kari vee-ta-wa-k
3sg det(acc) house-acc burn-trans-perf
det house burn-trans-pass-perf
‘He burned the house’
‘The house was burned’
Jelinek (1997: 182[10])
Jelinek (1997) analyzes the suffix –wa as the overt realization of the VoiceP head. In
Jelinek’s account, when sentences are active, Voiceº has zero realization and licenses an
external argument in its Spec position (ie., aapo ‘3sg’ (23a)). When sentences are
passive, Voiceº is overtly realized as –wa and no argument is licensed in its Spec position
(24) a. Active
b. Passive
u karii
‘the house’
uka karitai
‘the house’
vPCAUSE trans [+]
trans [+]
The diagrams in (24) show the structure of an active lexical causative (24a) and its
passive counterpart in (24b). As proposed by Jelinek (1997), the passive suffix –wa is the
overt realization of passive Voiceº head. I assume this analysis here.
The crucial point here is that passive facts in Hiaki show that vCAUSE cannot be
bundled with Voiceº. If this were the case, the passive version of –vee-ta ‘burn-trans’
would not be vee-ø-ta–wa (burn-cause-trans-pass) as is the case, but it would be
vee-ø+wa-ta (burn-cause+pass-trans)56. This is so since transitive morphology embeds
the causative vP as seen above, so if Voice were bundled with the causative vP, transitive
morphology would need to embed the bundled head, contrary to fact. An analysis in
which vCAUSE is non Voice-bundling is more consistent with the facts in (23).
It would be vee-t-wa-a (burn-cause-pass-trans) in an analysis assuming that –t is the overt realization of
the Hiaki lexical causative.
3.3.3. Summary
I just discussed the general properties of Hiaki lexical vCAUSE. I have shown that this
causative head is root-selecting and non Voice-bundling, which makes it pattern with
Japanese Root Cause. Next I show some characteristics presented by lexical causatives in
Japanese and Hiaki.
3.4. Hiaki and Japanese lexical causatives contrasted
Pylkkänen predicts that a causative head that is both Root selecting and non Voicebundling should pattern with Japanese. In this sense, Hiaki should exhibit lexical
causatives of both unergatives and transitives. It should also exhibit unaccusative
causatives along the lines of the Japanese adversity causatives. In this subsection I show
that none of these are borne out in Hiaki, which suggests that Pylkkänen’s predictions
should be revised.
3.4.1. Hiaki disallows the lexical causativization of unergatives
Japanese is claimed by Pylkkänen (2002, 2008) to allow the root causativization of
unergatives. As discussed in section 2 above, this is due to the fact that Cause is non
Voice-bundling in this language. Hiaki is non Voice-bundling as well. However, the root
causativization of unergatives is disallowed in this language. This is shown in (25).
(25) a. non-causative
‘Hurry up!’
b. root causative
*Maria Santos-ta vams-a
M. S.-acc hurry-trans
‘Maria made Santos hurry up’
c. productive causative
Maria Santos-ta vamih-tua
M. S.-acc hurry-cause
‘Maria made Santos hurry up’
The sentences in (25) show that the only way to causativize the unergative root vamse
‘hurry up’ is to do it productively (25c), but the root causativization of this root is
disallowed (25b). This is unlike the cases seen from Japanese (26) which, Pylkkänen
claims, are cases of unergatives that allow root causativization in Japanese.
(26) Ano kodomo-ta itumo oya-o nak-asi-te iru
That child-nom always parents-acc cry-cause-prog be
‘That child is always troubling his parents’
Pylkkänen (2008: 121[98])
In the example in (26), the unergative root nak ‘cry’ has undergone root causativization.
As explained in section 2 above, one of the reasons we know this is the case is because of
the adversity interpretation of the sentence. Pylkkänen claims that this example is
possible in Japanese thanks to the non Voice-bundling setting of Cause in this language.
But if a non Voice-bundling vCAUSE is all that is required for unergatives be allowed in
root causativization contexts, the restriction in Hiaki (25b) is surprising, as vCAUSE in this
language has the same properties than vCAUSE in Japanese. Also, as suggested above, the
fact that the Japanese root nak ‘cry’ participates in the inchoative/causative alternation
makes this root pattern with unaccusatives rather than unergatives.
In other words, the fact that cry is unergative in languages like English does not
entail that roots with similar encyclopedic meaning in other languages (e.g., nak- in
Japanese) need to have the same thematic properties. On the contrary, there are numerous
studies on unaccusativity (eg., Levin & Rappaport-Hovav (1995), Burzio (1986), Rosen
(1989)) that identify verbs with similar semantics as being unergative in some languages
and unaccusative in other languages. For instance, Rosen (1989) lists verbs that are
unergative in some languages while they are unaccusative in other languages. Such is the
case of die, and sweat. In languages like Choctaw, die is unergative whereas sweat is
unaccusative. In Italian it is the reverse, that is, die is unaccusative whereas sweat is
unergative. This contrast is even observed for languages as typologically close as English
and Spanish. This is the case of sleep. Whereas this verb is unaccusative in Spanish and it
may be lexically causativized in this language, it is unergative in English (27).57
(27) a. He dormido al bebé
b. *I have slept the baby
have(1sg) slept to.the baby
‘I have caused the baby to sleep’
Thus, because the fact that one verb is unergative in a particular language (eg., English)
does not automatically make it unergative in another language (eg., Japanese), the
unergativity of a root like nak- ‘cry’ in Japanese is unclear, which invalidates
Pylkkänen’s claim that this verb is unergative in Japanese. Because this point is
controversial, then, more examples exhibiting Japanese lexical causatives of unergatives
and transitives are required to prove Pylkkänen’s claim. In fact, Tomioka (2006) shows
Japanese examples in which ‘the lexical causative morpheme (ie., irregular form or sasi)
attaches to a root or a monomorphemic unaccusative verb, but not to a transitive or
bimorphemic unaccusative verb p. 117). I show the examples in (28).
(28) a. The causative suffix attaches to a root
Kotaro-ga isu-o yukkuri-to tao-si-ta
Kotaro-nom chair-acc slow-adv fall-cause-past
‘Kotaro toppled the chair slowly’
One test that shows that sleep is, in effect, unaccusative in Spanish is the fact that it may be used in an
absolutive construction, patterning with other unaccusatives.
a. {Dormidos / llegados / *corridos} los niños, nos fuimos a la fiesta
Slept/ arrived / *run} the children, 1pl.refl went(1pl) to the party
‘Once the children had {fell asleep/arrived/*run}, we left for the party’
b. The causative suffix attaches to a monomorphemic unaccusative
Kotaro-ga bo:ru-o sotto soroga-si-ta
Kotaro-nom ball-acc gently roll-cause-past
‘Kotaro rolled the ball gently’
c. The causative suffix attaches to a transitive
*Kotaro-ga Naoko-ni isu-o {kowasi-si-ta/kowas-asi-ta}
K.-nom N.-dat chair-acc {break.trans-cause-past/break.trans-cause-past}
‘Kotaro made Naoko break the chair’
d. The causative suffix attaches to a bimorphemic unaccusative
*Kotaro-ga Naoko-o tao-re-si-ta
Kotaro-nom Naoko-acc fall-unacc-cause-past
‘Kotaro made Naoko fall’
Tomioka (2006: 117)
The examples in (28) show restrictions in Japanese regarding the compatibility of Root
(ie., lexical) cause. While the causative suffix ((s(a)si) may attach directly to
(unacusative) roots with no transitivity marker (28a,b), it cannot attach to roots
containing transitivity markers, such as the transitivized kowasi/kowas ‘break(trans)’
(28c) or the intransitivized taore ‘fall(intrans)’ (28d). As Tomioka claims, the root tao
‘fall’ has two roots, one transitive taos-, one intransitive taore-. This supports a proposal
in which Japanese is like Hiaki in that it exhibits transitivizing/intransitivizing
morphology, but in that transitive markers do not equal causativity.
However, this is not clear for Japanese, due to the vast list of possible morphemes
that may attach to intransitive/transitive (or causative) pairs. For instance, it is possible to
find causative/non-causative pairs in which the causative member exhibits zero
morphology (29).58
All examples from (29) through (32) are from Tsujimura (2007).
‘become sharp/sharpen’
‘become connected/connect’
But it is also possible to find transitive morphology that does not clearly involve
causation (30).
‘leave behind’
‘help, rescue’
Sometimes, non-causative transitive verbs fail to exhibit causative morphology (31).
(31) Hanako-ga doresu-o kat-ta
Hanako-nom dress-acc buy-past
‘Hanako bought a dress’
Sometimes Japanese causative/non-causative pairs do not exhibit any morphological
change (32).
a. Mado-ga hiraku (intr.)
window-nom open
‘The window opens’
b. Taroo-ga mado-o hiraku (caus.)
Taro-nom window-acc open
‘Taro opens the window’
c. Sokudo-ga masu (intr.)
speed-nom increase
‘The speed increases’
d. Kuruma-ga sokudo-o masu (caus.)
car-nom speed-acc increase
‘The car increases the speed’
Tomioka’s (2006) results in (28) along with the irregular morphological patterns
exhibited by the Japanese pairs in (29-32) and the participation of roots like nak- ‘cry’ in
the inchoative/causative alternation suggest that, as in Hiaki, (i) only unaccusatives allow
lexical causativization in Japanese and (ii) it is not clear whether the suffixes associated
with lexical causativization are causative suffixes or just transitive suffixes like Hiaki –a.
Given the data seen so far I claim, contra Pylkkänen, that a non Voice-bundling
vCAUSE does not license root causatives of unergatives or transitives in Hiaki (and also
Japanese) because the embedded external argument (ie., causee) cannot be syntactically
licensed. Instead, I follow Heidi Harley (p.c.) in that any apparently unergative root that
allows lexical causativization has the ability to syntactically behave unaccusatively. This
is, for instance, what happens to the Japanese root nak ‘cry’ in (26) above, as pointed out
throughout this section. The ability of unergative roots to behave unaccusatively is then
idiosyncratic. This is why the phenomenon is not productive and is related to idiomatic
meanings. Examples of unergative verbs that may behave unaccusatively are, for
instance, Spanish saltar ‘jump’ (33) or English run (34). These verbs are unergative but
they may be used causatively. When used causatively, the meaning of these verbs is
idiomatic and unaccusative.
(33) a. Unergative use of saltar ‘jump’ b. Causativized unaccusative saltar ‘jump’
María está saltando
Me vas a saltar un ojo
Mary is jumping
1sg.dat go(2sg) to jump an eye
‘Mary is jumping’
‘You’re going to hurt my eye
(lit., make my eye pop out)’
(34) a. Unergative use of run
Mary is running
b. Causativized unaccusative run
Mary is running the business
Both cases in (33) and (34) exhibit a contrast between the same root (ie., saltar ‘jump’
(33) and run (34)) that is compatible with both unergative and unaccusative syntax. In the
examples in (b) in which they exhibit unaccusative syntax, both unergative verbs in (33)
and (34) can be lexically causativized.59 Crucially, this cannot mean that lexical Cause in
See also Folli & Harley (2007) for similar examples from Italian showing that saltare ‘jump’ in Italian
has also may be used both unaccusatively and unergatively. This double use results in syntactic
asymmetries, as this verb can only appear in passivized causatives if used unaccusatively but not if used
English or Spanish is non Voice-bundling like Japanese and Hiaki, since we know from
Pylkkänen (2002, 2008) that, at least English lexical cause is non Voice-bundling. It is
more reasonable to assume that there are some verbs such as saltar ‘jump’ and run that
are unergative in their basic intransitive use, but that also allow unaccusative uses. I
extend this explanation to the Japanese and Hiaki cases in which apparent unergatives
can undergo root causativization. When this happens, it is not thanks to the properties of
vCAUSE but it is rather allowed by certain roots only, those that are compatible with
unaccusative syntax.
3.4.2. The adversity interpretation of transitive die
The verb die resists lexical causativization in English and Spanish (35).
(35) a. English
*John died (cf. killed) Mary in a car accident
b. Spanish
*Juan murió a María en un accidente
Juan died to Maria in an accident
‘Juan died (cf. killed) Mary on an accident’
According to Pylkkänen (2002, 2008), the Japanese root sin- ‘die’ allows lexical
causativization in the adversity causative construction (36a), although this language also
has the suppletive root koros with meaning ‘kill’ (36b).
Il Ponte Vecchio fu fatto saltare
The bridge old was made jump
‘The Old Bridge was exploded’
(ii) ?? Marco fu fatto saltare
Marco was made jump
‘Marco was made to jump’
Folli & Harley (2007: 227[46])
(36) Japanese
a. adversity causative
Taro-ga musuko-o sin-ase-ta
T.-nom son-acc die-cause-past
‘lit. Taro died his son,
cf. Taro is afflicted for his son’s death’
(Pylkkänen (2008))
b. kill
Jiro-ga Ichiro-o korosi-ta
Jiro-nom Ichiro-acc kill-past
‘Jiro killed Ichiro’
(Tomioka (2004)
The productive causative form of sineru ‘die’ is identical in form to that of the adversity
causative. This means that the sentence in (36a) has an ambiguous interpretation between
(i) ‘Taro is afflicted for his son’s death’ and (ii) ‘Taro caused his son to die’. Crucially, in
contexts in which the adversity interpretation is not available, the causative form sin-ase
‘die-cause’ has the syntax of productive causation, not of lexical causation. This is seen if
we compare the sentence in (36a) with the one in (37).
(37) Taroo-ga musuko-o sini-taku-sase-ta
Taro-nom son-acc die-des-cause-past
a. ‘Taro made his son want to die’
b. *’Taro was adversely affected by his son’s wanting to die’
Pylkkänen (2008)
The causative with sineru ‘die’ in (37) is a productive causative, but not a lexical
causative. Because it is a productive causative, the causative suffix –sase necessarily
embeds a structure bigger than a root.60
Conversely, the lexical causative sentence in Japanese with a clear causative
meaning, which clearly means ‘make die’, is not the sin-ase ‘die-cause’ adversity
According to Pyklkänen it embeds vP although I believe that the fact that a) it licenses an embedded
desiderative suffix –taku and, as seen in the discussion of desideratives in Tohono O’odham in chapter 2,
desideratives license subjects rather than objects, and b) Japanese productive causatives embed structures
with external arguments is evidence that -sase is a Phase-selecting Cause (in the sense of Pylkkänen). See
also chapter 2 for arguments against Pylkkänen’s proposal that lexical causatives in Japanese license
embedded subjects in the specifier of Cause.
causative in (36a) but the lexical causative with the suppletive root koros- ‘kill’ in (36b).
This is, at least, the intuition of native speakers.61 In any case, given Pylkkänen’s claim
that sin-ase ‘die-cause’ may be a case of root (ie., lexical) causativization, Japanese
exhibits two forms of lexical causativization of sineru ‘die’, one is the familiar root
causativization of sin- by the suffix –ase that results in an adversity reading (36a), the
other is the expression of the lexical causative by means of a suppletive root, koros- ‘kill’
Hiaki behaves very similarly to Japanese regarding the die/kill pairing. In this
language, the lexical roots for ‘die’ are muuke (singular subject) and koko (plural
subject), whereas the lexical roots for ‘kill’ are me’a (singular object) and sua (plural
object). The intransitive roots muuke / koko cannot be used causatively. This is seen in
(38) Hiaki ‘die’ / ‘kill’
a. non-causative
Huan aman muuke-k
Huan there die(sg.sub)-perf
‘John died over there’
b. causative muuke
*Peo Huan-ta muuk-e-k
Pete John-acc die-intr-perf
‘Pete died John’
c. causative me’a
Peo Huan-ta me’a-k
Pete John-acc kill(sg.obj)-perf
‘Pete killed John’
The root muuke ‘die(sg.)’ does have a transitive counterpart, the root muucha.
Interestingly, the use of this root is very similar to the Japanese adversity causative, given
its use is restricted to contexts in which it means ‘to lose somebody to death’ (39).
Although see the discussion on Fodor (1970) in chapter 1.
(39) The adversity interpretation of ‘die-trans’ in Hiaki
Vempo vem malawa muuch-a-k
3pl 3pl.poss mother die-trns-perf
‘They lost their mother to death’
The sentence in (39) exhibits the verb muucha ‘die(trns)’, which is a transitivized version
of the unaccusative muuke ‘die (sg.)’, at least, morphologically speaking. The transitive
sentence in (39) does not have a causative interpretation. Like in Japanese adversity
causatives, the sentence in (39) does not receive its literal interpretation ‘They died their
mother’, but the interpretation is idiomatically given as something along the lines of
‘They suffered the death of their mother’. But unlike its Japanese counterpart, the Hiaki
sentence in (39) does not exhibit causative morphology but just transitive morphology –a.
Another difference between the sentence in (39) and its Japanese counterpart
(36a) is that the Hiaki transitive sentence cannot be ambiguous with its causative
counterpart. This is, again, because of morphological differences. In Japanese, the
productive causative form sin-ase ‘die-cause’ (37) shares the same morphology with the
adversity causative (36a). In Hiaki, the adversity interpretation is only available via the
root muk ‘die’ plus the transitivizing suffix –a, which results in the form muucha
‘die(trns)’ (39). The productive causative for ‘die’ in Hiaki is the result of combining the
root muk- ‘die’ with the causativizing suffix –tua, forming muktua ‘cause to die’.
Conversely, both Japanese and Hiaki have suppletive roots lexically denoting ‘cause to
die’. In the case of Japanese, this language has the root koros- ‘kill’. In the case of Hiaki,
the lexical causatives of ‘die’ are me’a ‘kill(sg.obj)’ and sua ‘kill(pl.obj)’.
According to Pylkkänen, the reason why the adversity interpretation is available
in Japanese is due to (i) the root causativization of –sase and (ii) the disjunction between
Voice and Cause in this language: in these constructions, Cause is present in the absence
of Voice.
In Hiaki, there is no evidence that the adversity construction involving muucha (dietrans) is also causative. The only morphological evidence here is that the verb muuke
‘die(sg.subj)’ is used transitively. That is, the sentences in (38-39) are contrasted in terms
of transitivizing morphology. The sentence in (38a) contains the verbal form muuke
‘die(sg)’ that exhibits intransitive morphology (ie., -e). The sentence in (39), in contrast,
contains the verbal form muucha ‘die (trns)’ that exhibits transitive morphology (ie., -a).
The lexical causative corresponding to muuke ‘die (sg)’ is realized via the suppletive
form me’a ‘kill (sg)’ (38c).
The meaning difference between (38c) and (39) is in terms of causativity. More
specifically, I suggest that even though the sentences in (38c) and (39) are not contrasted
in terms of transitivity, which is overtly realized as transitive –a, only (38c) contains a
causativizing verbal head (vCAUSE). The sentence in (39) is transitive but it is crucially
non-causative. In this sense it has a similar structure as the omta ‘be angry’ cases seen
above in 3.3.1. That is, in (39), the subject vempo (3pl) is not interpreted as a causer but
as an experiencer, not because vCAUSE is present in the absence of Voice, but because
Voice is present in the absence of Cause. I show the structure in (40).
vempo vem mala-wa muuch-a-k
3pl 3pl(poss) mother-poss die-trans-perf
‘They lost their mother to death’
TransP Voice
vem mala-wai
‘their mother’
trans [+]
The diagram in (40) shows the structure of a sentence containing the transitive muucha
‘die (trns)’. The vP involved in this sentence is not causative, but it is rather the
unaccusative vBECOME. This verbal head is compatible with Voice that introduces an
external argument.62 Because the verbal head associated with Voice is non-agentive, the
external argument introduced by this head does not receive an agentive interpretation, as
vBECOME is incompatible with agents.
It is rather interpreted as an experiencer (ie., the person experiencing somebody
else’s death). Because Transº has a [+] value, the embedded theme vem mala-wa ‘their
mother’ is structurally licensed in [Spec, trans]. The sentence analyzed in (40) exhibits
then a similar situation to the one discussed for omta ‘be angry (trns)’ (§3.3.1.), whereby
a verb exhibiting transitive morphology does not need to involve causative semantics.
The difference is that whereas √MUK ‘die’ always licenses a theme (ie., if intransitive, the
theme is the subject, if transitive, the theme is the object), √OMT ‘be angry’ does not
See Schäfer (2007) for an account in which not all elements introduced in VoiceP are agentive.
licenses themes (ie., it is unergative when used intransitively). In the same way as the
subject of omta was an experiencer (ie., the person experiencing anger), the subject of
muucha also is an experiencer (ie., the person experiencing somebody’s death).
Pylkkänen (2002, 2008) shows that the Japanese verb combination sinase ‘diecause’ are causative despite their non-causative interpretation with evidence in which, she
claims, a by-phrase naming a causing event (rather than an agent) may be added to the
combination. She contrasts these sentences with adversity passives that, unlike adversity
causatives, disallow a by-phrase naming a causing event. Pylkkänen explains that this
contrast is due to the fact that only adversity causatives contain Cause. I show the
sentences in (41).
(41) a. Japanese adversity causatives allow by-phrase naming a cause
Taroo-ga sensoo-ni.yotte musuko-o sin-ase-ta
Taro-nom war-by son-acc die-cause-past
‘Taro’s son was caused to die on him by the war’
b. Japanese adversity passive disallows by-phrase naming a cause
*Taroo-ga sensoo-ni.yotte musuko-ni sin-are-ta
Taro-nom war-by son-acc die-pass-past
‘Taro’s son died on him by the war’
Pylkkänen (2008:91[22])
In Japanese, it is then possible to test the presence of a causative element in adversity
causative sentences. In Hiaki this is a hard task, as this language completely disallows byphrases even with passives (see Escalante (1999)). Since lexical vCAUSE is non overt in this
language, there is no morphological evidence behind a causative analysis of the adversity
use of muuke ‘die’. In addition, Hiaki lacks any semantic evidence that its adversity
transitive involves vCAUSE (ie., it is impossible to insert the agent by adding a by-phrase in
this language). I will assume, then, that muucha ‘die-trans’ sentences in Hiaki are not
The similarities with the Japanese structure, however, are apparent from the
examples. Because of this, it would be reasonable to postulate a parallel analysis of the
two structures, so either both Japanese and Hiaki have adversity constructions that
involve i) a causative functional head in the absence of an external argument (ie.,
Pylkkänen’s proposal) or ii) a non-causative but transitive head (my proposal).
The examples shown (28-32) above suggest that it is not that easy to associate the
suffixes –asi, -osi, -e, ø and so on to causative morphology since they may also mark
non-causative transitive morphology. However, Pylkkänen’s demonstration of the
existence of causativity in (41) suggests that the Japanese –ase suffix may be marking
causativity rather than just transitivity in sinase ‘die (adversity)’. Because a solution to
this dilemma would necessarily involve a deeper study of Japanese morpho-syntax and
this is beyond the scope of this dissertation, I will leave this question open for future
Next I contrast the sentence analyzed in (40) with the structure of the lexical
causative me’a ‘kill’ (42).
TransP Voice
Peo Huan-ta me’-a-k
Pete John-acc kill-trans-perf
‘Pete killed John’
trans [+]
The tree in (42) shows the structure of causative me’a ‘kill (sg.subj)’ in Hiaki. It is clearly
contrasted with the structure shown for muucha ‘die (trans)’ in (40) in that the structure
of me’a does contain a causativizing head vCAUSE. In this case, the external argument
licensed by VoiceP, Peo, receives the interpretation of a Causer. The causativizing head
is morphologically realized by zero morphology, but as a causative verbal head, it is
embedded by Transº, which is morphologically spelled out as –a. This suffix is then
overtly realized as part of the resulting lexical causative form me’-a. The root √MUK ‘die’,
however, is not morphologically realized as such, but it appears in a suppletive form me-.
The next subsection devotes some discussion to suppletive verb forms in lexical
causativization contexts.
3.5. Other suppletive forms in Hiaki
In the previous subsection we have seen that the Hiaki lexical causative for the root √MUK
‘die’ is morphologically realized in its suppletive form me’a ‘kill (sg)’. Root suppletion
in Hiaki shows up in other situations besides lexical causativization. For instance, some
Hiaki verbal roots are suppletive for number. This is precisely the case of muuke / koko
‘die (sg / pl)’. Both singular and plural forms for ‘die’ in Hiaki have corresponding
lexical causative suppletive forms. Thus, the plural lexical causative form for ‘die’ koko
is the suppletive plural form sua ‘kill (pl)’. Notice that, like the other lexical causatives
seen so far, the lexical causative sua ‘kill (pl)’ overtly realizes the overt transitivity suffix
–a. Other suppletive verbs for number with suppletive lexical causatives in Hiaki are
shown in (43), as listed in Guerrero (2004).
(43) Suppletive lexical causatives in Hiaki (taken from Guerrero (2004))
a. ‘Die, kill’
b. ‘Fall, drop’
c. ‘enter, bring’
d. ‘sit, put’
e. ‘stand, put’
f. ‘lay down, put’
The list in (43) shows number suppletive pairs in Hiaki with corresponding lexical
causatives, as in Guerrero (2004). Some of these forms are suppletive in the singular but
not in the plural form, as for instance weecha ‘fall (non-causative, sg.)’ / watta ‘drop
(causative, sg.)’ (43b) or vo’ote ‘lay down (non-causative, sg.)’ / teeka ‘put (causative,
sg.)’ (43f). Other of the forms listed in (43) are suppletive for number but their lexical
causatives maintain the same root. This is, for instance, the case of the plural forms watte
‘fall (non-causative, pl.)’ / watta ‘drop (causative, pl.)’ in (43b).
3.5.1. A case study: Suppletive causative forms for ‘die’ crosslinguistically
Suppletive lexical causative roots are not exclusive of Hiaki. Other languages (eg.,
Japanese, English and Spanish) also exhibit suppletive lexical causative forms
corresponding to the unaccusative ‘die’ (44).
(44) Suppletive lexical causatives ‘die/kill’
Suppletive forms ‘die/kill’
a. Japanese
b. English
c. Spanish
‘die’ (non-causative)
‘kill’ (lexical causative)
korosu ‘kill, suppletive’
The table in (44) shows that, besides Hiaki, other languages like Japanese, Spanish, and
English also use lexical causative suppletive forms for ‘die’. Recall that Pylkkänen
claims for Japanese (44b) that a non-suppletive version of sineru ‘die’, sinaseru ‘cause to
die’, is also available to express lexical causativity (ie., the form that derives the adversity
interpretation). Recall that, according to Pylkkänen, this is only permitted if the
causativizing head vCAUSE appears in the absence of an external argument. The suppletive
example with koros ‘kill’ in (44b) is contrasted with the adversity sinase ‘die sb.
(adversity)’ as koros- is the causative form of sineru ‘die’ that involves an external
argument. Recall that it is not clear, however, despite Pylkkänen’s test in (41) whether
the suffix –ase in the form sinase ‘die sb. (adversity)’ is necessarily marking causativity
in this context or just transitivity.
Hiaki, English and Spanish are contrasted with Japanese in that they disallow root
causatives that are lacking an external argument. Recall that, in these three languages,
Root vCAUSE is realized by zero morphology, but in Japanese this head is analyzed by
Pylkkänen (and others, eg., Harley (2008), Miyagawa (1998, 1999)) to be realized by
overt morphology. Nonetheless, all four languages exhibit suppletive forms to express the
causative version of die, as seen in (44). In the next subsection I discuss the phenomenon
of suppletion as already discussed in the literature.
3.5.2. The phenomenon of suppletion in lexical causatives
The phenomenon of suppletion as associated with lexical causatives has been previously
discussed in the literature (ie., Shibatani (1976), Comrie (1985), Harley & Noyer (2000),
Siddiqi (2006)).
Suppletive lexical causatives may be the result of the availability of different roots
specified for non-causative / causative contexts. In some cases, languages contain
different lexical roots with specific non-causative / causative specifications. In such
cases, the root specified for non-causative contexts is incompatible in constructions
containing causative verbal heads. The reverse situation also applies, that is,
constructions containing causative verbal heads are only compatible with roots
unspecified for causative v types but they are incompatible with roots specified for noncausative v types (ie., Harley & Noyer (2000), Siddiqi (2006)). This is the case of the
suppletive verbs die / kill and their crosslinguistic counterparts. English has a few more
non-causative / causative suppletive roots of this kind. Baron (1974) lists the following.
(45) English suppletive causatives
a. believe
b. buy
c. come
d. eat
e. fall
f. fear
g. have
h. hear
i. learn
j. see
k. send
l. swell
m. understand
a’. persuade
b’. sell
c’. bring
d’. feed
e’. drop
f’. frighten
g’. give
h’. tell
i’. teach
j’. show
k’. receive
l’. inflate
m’. explain
Baron (1974: 304[9])
Harley & Noyer (2000) address this phenomenon under a Distributed Morphology
approach (Halle & Marantz 1993).63 In this framework the different morphological
realizations of roots are called Vocabulary Items (VI). Roots are contained in syntactic
positions as part of configurations of different kinds. Different VIs have an encyclopedic
meaning associated with them. They are also specified for different values that indicate
which syntactic configuration the VIs are compatible with. For instance the examples in
(46) show the different specifications for the VIs open (46a), grow (46b), arrive (46c),
and destroy (46d).
See Siddiqi (2006) for an alternative DM approach to related phenomena.
(46) Licensing specifications of Vocabulary Items
a. open
b. grow
c. arrive
d. destroy
[+/-v], [+DP], [+/- cause]
[+v], [+DP], [+/- cause]
[+v], [+DP], [-cause]
[+v], [+DP], [+cause]
what we mean by open
what we mean by grow
what we mean by arrive
what we mean by destroy
adapted from Harley & Noyer (2000: 13-14)
The licensing contexts of the VIs in (46) are dependent on the specific values of three
different features: a verbal feature [+/- v], an argument compatibility feature [+/- DP] and
a causative feature [+/- cause]. For instance, the VI open is compatible with both verbal
and non-verbal environments (ie., the specification for the verbal feature is ambivalent
[+/-v]). This explains why open can both be a verb and an adjective. The VI grow, in
contrast, can only be a verb because the specification for its verbal feature [v] is
monovalent (ie., it is set to [+v]). This explains why grow is only used as a verb.
In terms of the causative feature [cause], only open, grow and destroy are
compatible with causative environments. This is determined by the ambivalent character
of the features for open, and grow. In the case of destroy, this VI can only be inserted in
causative environments, since its [cause] feature is set for a positive value. The VI arrive
(46c) is compatible with non-causative verbal environments. This is so since the
specification for its [v] and [cause] features are positive and negative respectively.
Imagine a syntactic configuration such as the following, in (47).
The configuration in (47) contains a causative verbal head vCAUSE. In this particular
configuration, the VIs grow, open, and destroy may be inserted, but the VI arrive cannot
be inserted because this VI is specified for [-cause], which does not match the syntactic
environment in (47). Were arrive inserted in a configuration such as (47), the derivation
would simply crash. In other words, VIs such as arrive are only compatible with noncausative syntactic environments.
I just discussed that some VIs may be blocked from being inserted in a syntactic
environment given particular contexts of insertion. Next I discuss the possibility that
these VIs are blocked from insertion because they are in competition with other VIs with
identical encyclopedic information, but with different feature specification.
3.5.3. Kill as a suppletive lexical causative
Harley & Noyer (2000)’s treatment of suppletive causative roots could be adopted to
explain restrictions associated with the lexical causativization of the unaccusatives such
as die. It may also be extended to explain why verbs like appear have lexical causatives
in some languages (ie., Japanese, Hiaki) but not other languages (ie., English, Spanish).
We just saw that English arrive is said not to be used in syntactic environments such as
(47) because this VI does not contain a positive value for its feature [cause].
Other unaccusative verbs such as open are ambivalent for the feature [cause]. It
may be the case that the VI open is underspecified for [cause]. In this situation, open is
compatible with environments containing vCAUSE as well as with environments containing
a different v type such as vBECOME. The case of arrive is different in that this VI is
specified for [cause] with a negative value, both in Harley & Noyer’s (2000) and
Siddiqi’s (2006) account. This means that this VI is compatible with environments
containing v types other than vCAUSE. Conversely, we might say that arrive is specified for
a particular v type, say vBECOME. In such case, this VI could be inserted only in syntactic
environments containing this particular verb type. For this reason, when a root such as
√ARRIVE appears syntactically embedded by vCAUSE, English has to resort to other VIs
compatible with such configuration. This is the case, for instance, of bring or take, both
VIs containing the meaning of ‘cause to arrive’. I show this graphically in (48).
In Siddiqi (2006), the VI for arrive includes the symbol ¬ [v] that prevents this VI from being inserted in
causative contexts that involve [v]. It can only be inserted in non-causative contexts that, in Siddiqi’s
analysis, do not involve [v]. This system is similar to the one proposed in Harley & Noyer (2000), although
with theory-internal variations such as the introduction of root allomorphy that allows root VIs to directly
compete with each other for insertion. In any case, in both frameworks suppletion is explained in terms of
(i) the competition of VIs for insertion in the syntax; (ii) the blocking of more poorly specified VIs by more
highly specified VIs in a specific context of insertion, as long as the more highly specified VI does not
contain conflicting features that are not contained in the context of insertion. These are two ideas assumed
Although see my analysis for the blocking of English arrive in causative contexts in section 4.
(48) bring as ‘cause to arrive’
‘John brought Mary to the party’
arrive ---> [vBECOME]
to the party Voice/vCAUSE
Voice/vCAUSE √P
bring ---> [vCAUSE]
In (48) two VIs compete to be licensed in the syntactic position held by the root √ARRIVE.
The VI arrive is blocked from this position because its feature specification indicates that
this VI is only compatible with syntactic environments containing the verb type vBECOME.66
The VI bring is compatible with the syntactic configuration in (48) as its feature
specification indicates. An identical explanation can be adopted for the case of die/kill.
The diagram in (49) illustrates it.
(49) kill as ‘cause to die’
‘Bill killed John with a knife’
with a knife
die ---> [vBECOME]
kill ---> [vCAUSE]
Voice/vCAUSE √P
The examples in (49) show how, in English, the VI die is only compatible with contexts
involving the verbal head vBECOME. This VI is banned from syntactic environments
Alternatively, arrive can be analyzed as unspecified so it can be inserted in environments containing
non-causative v. Its causative counterpart bring is specified [cause] and, although it cannot be inserted in
non-causative environments due to overspecification (see Elsewhere or Panini’s Principle in Kiparsky
(1973)), it blocks the more poorly specified arrive from being inserted in causative environments.
involving other v types, such as the one in (48) which exhibits vCAUSE. The English lexical
inventory (or, more precisely, the List containing the VIs of an English speaker) is
provided with another VI, kill that entails the basic meaning denoted by the Root √DIE and
that is compatible with vCAUSE type. It is this VI then that is licensed in the syntactic
environment in (48). The same explanation given for English in (49) accounts for the
suppletive forms me’a ‘kill(sg.subj)’ in Hiaki and koros ‘kill’ in Japanese. I show the
analysis in (50).
(50) me’a ‘kill’ and koros ‘kill’ as ‘cause to die’
muuk/sin ---> [vBECOME] ✘
me’a/koros ---> [vCAUSE]
Thus, in (50) Hiaki and Japanese, causative syntactic contexts exhibiting the roots √MUUK
and √SIN ‘die’ involve the VIs me’a ‘kill, sg.obj’ and koros ‘kill’, respectively, rather than
the VIs muuk ‘die(sg.obj)’ and sin- ‘die’.67
I have explained the Hiaki and Japanese counterparts of kill as causative
suppletive forms for the counterparts of die in these languages. Hiaki, Japanese, and
English (and Spanish) behave identically in that they all exhibit a causative suppletive
form for die. Next I offer a summary of the section.
The Hiaki forms are further specified, me’a as ‘die’ only in contexts whereby the object is singular, sua
‘die’ only in contexts in which the object is plural.
3.6. Summary
In this section I have discussed the syntax of Root causatives of languages such as Hiaki
and Japanese that exhibit overt transitive/causative morphology. First I have shown that
Pylkkänen’s claim that non Voice-bundling root causatives allow the causativization of
both unergatives and transitives is not borne out in Hiaki, a language that patterns with
Japanese in that it is both non Voice-bundling and Root-selecting. While data from
Tomioka (2006) proves that Japanese only allows the root causativization of
monomorphemic unaccusative roots (contra Pylkkänen’s prediction), cases discussed by
Pylkkänen in which Japanese apparently exhibits root causativization of unergatives may
be actually cases of unergative roots behaving unaccusatively. I have provided
crosslinguistic support of this claim with data from English and Spanish in which
canonically unergative verbs exhibit unaccusative uses.
In this section I have also shown that, although the Japanese case is not
completely clear, the overt morphology exhibited by Hiaki transitive/intransitive
alternating pairs is not causative morphology. Evidence in support of this claim is cases
of transitive/intransitive pairs such as omte/omta ‘(become) angry’ in which the transitive
form does not involve causativity (eg. omta means ‘become angry at sb.’ rather than
‘make sb. angry’).
Like Japanese, Hiaki exhibits a construction, muucha ‘die(trans)’ that is
composed of the root for ‘die’, muuk- plus the transitive suffix –a. Although the
transitivity of this form is clear given its morphological contrast with its intransitive
counterpart, there is no empirical evidence that this form is also causative, given the fact
that transitive morphology in Hiaki does not necessarily entail causative semantics. In
fact, I have argued by using the DM framework proposed in Harley & Noyer (2000) that
Hiaki exhibits causative suppletive forms for ‘die’, with clear causative semantics that
block the non-causative forms muuke ‘die, sg.subj’ and koko ‘die, pl. subj’ from being
inserted in causative syntactic configuration.
I have shown that the availability of suppletive forms for verbs like die is a fact
crosslinguistically, which supports the analysis. This includes Japanese, which exhibits
the clear suppletive causative form koros corresponding to non-causative sin- ‘die’.
Despite Pylkkänen’s claim that the Japanese form sin-ase ‘die-cause’ is an unaccusative
causative of sin- ‘die’, its identical semantics with respect to the non-causative transitive
Hiaki form muucha ‘die(trans)’ suggests that it is necessary to further test the causative
nature of the Japanese forms in –ase. In this section, I have also shown that non
morphological languages such as English and Spanish sometimes may also exhibit
causative suppletive forms (eg., kill was shown to be a suppletive form for die). Next I
deal with some gaps found in the formation of root causatives in languages that appear to
be Voice-bundling (eg., English) according to Pylkkänen’s classification.
4. Root causativization of unaccusatives in Voice-bundling languages
Recall, from section 2.1, that languages like English are analyzed as Voice-bundling in
Pylkkänen’s framework. In these languages, the causative head involved in root
causatives appears in the syntax bundled, as a single light verb, with the externalargument-introducing head Voice. I repeat the basic structure of vCAUSE in these languages
in (51).
(51) The root causativization of a Voice-bundling vCAUSE
Pylkkänen’s analysis predicts that, in these structures, it is not possible for vCAUSE to
embed unergative or transitive roots, given that these root types require external
arguments for their argument structure to be complete, and we know from Kratzer (1994,
1996) that external arguments are licensed in a functional projection above the Root.
Since vCAUSE directly embeds roots but also licenses its own external argument (ie., the
Causer) in [Spec, Voice/CauseP] the licensing of an embedded external argument is
excluded from configurations such as (51). I repeat the structure in (52).
(52) No embedded agents are allowed under English zero Cause
Complement (of Root) (ie., a theme)
Pylkkänen claims that, in these languages, only the root causativization of unaccusatives
is allowed. This is so since the only arguments of unaccusative roots are licensed
internally to the root, as their complements (53).
(53) Voice/CauseP allow unaccusative complements
Complement (of Root) (ie., a theme)
The diagram in (53) suggests that, if all unaccusatives involve is an internal argument in
their complement position, Pylkkänen’s proposed structure potentially allows any
unaccusative as complement of a Voice-bundling Root Cause. But this is clearly not the
case, as the following English (54) and Spanish (55) zero causatives disallow certain
unaccusatives as their complement. The Spanish sentences in (55) are exact
correspondants of the English sentences in (54).
(54) English
a. *John arrived Mary to the station
b. *John died Mary
c. *John appeared a picture on the screen
(55) Spanish
a. *Juan llegó a María a la estación
b. *Juan murió a María
c. *Juan apareció una foto en la pantalla
The sentences in (54) and (55) all resist zero causativization. The ill-formedness of these
sentences is not predicted by the structure in (53), as all root complements of zero Cause
in (54) and (55) are unaccusatives (ie., arrive, die, appear) that are not associated with
agents, but rather with themes. Unless the roots in (54-55) involve elements other than
their theme complements as part of their argument structure, nothing in Pykkänen’s
model explicitly prevents these sentences from being grammatical. In this section, I show
that Pylkkänen’s predictions for root causativization are partially correct if one
understands that the internal dynamics of different verb classes may make the three-way
transitive-unergative-unaccusative classification less transparent.
4.1. Suppletion cannot explain all cases
In section 3.5, a suppletive analysis was provided to explain why the root die does not
appear in causative contexts crosslinguistically (even in non Voice-bundling languages
such as Hiaki). A suppletive analysis may be also provided for arrive (ie., bring),
although the non-causative/causative correspondance in this particular case is less
transparent (ie., to infer that bring involves ‘cause to arrive’).
English and Spanish lack a corresponding causative for appear and aparecer
‘appear’ respectively. The case of appear is an even more complicated one to explain
under a suppletive analysis in languages like English or Spanish. This is so since it is
hard to find a good suppletive causative that accurately entails the meaning of appear in
these languages. English verbs such as show, reveal or display could be partially
understood as causative counterparts of appear, although they are not compatible with
this verb in all its uses.
(56) a. The keys appeared on the table
b. Mary showed the keys on the table (# as ‘Mary made the keys appear’)
c. Mary revealed the keys on the table (# as ‘Mary made the keys appear’)
d. Mary displayed the keys on the table (# as ‘Mary made the keys appear’)
The sentences in (56b-d) are intended as the causative counterparts of the non-causative
appear in (56a), but none of them seems to be a good candidate for a construction
containing the root √APPEAR. Interestingly, the correspondance between appear and its
causative candidates in (57) becomes clearer if the external argument is a cause rather
than an agent.
(57) a. Age lines appeared on her face
b. Time {*appeared / revealed / showed / displayed} age lines on her face
(58) a. As the sky cleared, the ship appeared in the horizon
b. The clearing sky {*appeared / revealed / showed / displayed} the ship in the
The (b) examples in (57-58) show that verbs such as reveal, show and display are indeed
compatible with causative contexts corresponding to non-causative appear, although
perhaps reveal is the most idiomatic one, hence the most compatible one in the contexts
of use in (56-57).68
Correspondences such as the ones in (57-58) may lead to the conclusion that
appear is in effect banned from causative contexts in English and Spanish because the
causative use is restricted to suppletive forms such as reveal, show and display.69
Nonetheless, this is problematic, since the contexts in which appear finds a suppletive
causative counterpart are highly restricted (ie., (56)). A more adequate account other than
the blocking of the unaccusative by a causative root that explains the banning in (54-55c)
in languages such as English and Spanish is then required. In this section I offer such
account. First, I test the unaccusativity of appear and arrive in English.
Proof that there is not a one-to-one correspondance between appear and a suppletive causative form is
the fact that in Spanish reveló ‘reveal’ is more adequate in the context of (57b), but it is not idiomatic in
(58b). A more appropriate root in contexts such as (58b) would be mostró ‘showed’.
Heidi Harley (p.c.) points out that for any of these verbs (ie., reveal, display or show) to be a true
suppletive causative form of appear they should have a ‘bring into (visible) existence’ reading, correlating
with the ‘come into (visible) existence’ reading available for appear. This applies to show, that may have
this reading in some contexts (eg., The clearing sky showed a ship in the horizon), whereas in other
contexts it is a suppletive causative form for see (eg., Show me why this is not correct!) as in Baron’s
(1974) list in section 3.5., (45).
4.2. Testing unaccusativity
The unaccusative/unergative distinction was first proposed by Perlmutter (1978) and
followed up by Burzio (1986) and Levin & Rappaport-Hovav (1995). The basic
distinction proposed a two-way division between monadic (ie., one argument) verbs. The
basic distinction goes as follows: the only argument of unergative verbs corresponds to
its structural or ‘deep’ subject, that is, it’s an external argument (59a), but the only
argument of unaccusative verbs is a surface subject but actually corresponds to its
structural or ‘deep’ object, cf., it is an internal argument (59b).
(59) a. John is laughing
b. John is dying
Unergative: ‘John’ is a deep subject
Unaccusative: ‘John’ is a deep object
Unaccusativity tests vary across languages. In English, Levin & Rappaport-Hovav (1995)
argue against the accuracy of tests such as there-insertion or x’s way since they render
mixed results. The there-insertion and locative inversion tests are intended to identify
unaccusative verbs. For instance, arrive passes this test, but run does not.
(60) a. There arrived three guests
b. *There ran three athletes
The x’s way test identifies unergative verbs. For instance, run passes this test, while die
does not.
(61) a. The jogger ran his way to better health
b. *The old man died his way to heaven
L&R-H (1995: 156[54a])
These tests, however, lead to mixed results. For instance, there are monadic verbs that
fail both tests. This is the case of fall (62).
(62) a. *There fell some players during the soccer game
b. *John fell his way to victory
Conversely, some verbs pass both locative inversion and x’s way tests, which should be a
contradictory result. This is the case of work (63).
(63) a. On the third floor worked two young women called…
b. He worked his way to the top
Sanz (2000: 138[20])
I will use these tests here, however, as complements to other tests that have been
proposed to tell unaccusatives from unergatives in English. L&R-H (1995) use the
following diagnostics as more effective unaccusativity tests. The resultative test is used
by these authors as the most effective one for English. For instance, unaccusative verbs
like open may appear predicated by a resultative phrase (64a), but unergatives like play
fail this test (64b).
(64) a. The lid broke open (ie., became open by breaking)
b. *The kid played exhausted (ie., became exhausted by crying)
Another test commonly to test the unaccusativity of English verbs is the ability of
unaccusatives but not unergatives to form adjectival perfect participles (Hoekstra 1984,
Levin & Rappaport 1986, Levin & Rappaport Hovav 1995), as in the example in (65).
(65) a. A recently {appeared, arrived} person
b. *A recently {worked, walked} person
L&R-H add that adjectival perfect participles may be formed only from telic intransitive
verbs (ie., achievements). This generally is a characteristic of unaccusative verbs, while
unergative verbs are typically atelic (ie., activities). There are some unaccusative verbs
(ie., verbs of existence) that are atelic (ie., states) and hence do not pass this test, as
indicated in L&R-H.
(66) *A recently existed creature
I will use this test for unaccusativity here, taking into account the telicity restriction. I
will also use the resultative test despite the fact that this diagnostic too, fails to identify
all verbs traditionally considered unaccusatives, as Sanz (2000) points out. For instance,
arrive, a verb traditionally considered unaccusative, in languages like Italian, fails this
test, because the adjective that follows the verb cannot be a resultative, but rather must
receive a depictive reading (67).
(67) Willa arrived breathless
Sanz (2000): 139[21]
In (67), the secondary predicate breathless does not name the state of the subject as a
result of the event denoted by arrive (ie., Willa does not become breathless as a result of
arriving), but it is a depictive, that is, it implies that the subject Willa was breathless
when she arrived.
Sanz (2000) concludes that unaccusativity is not syntactically identifiable in English.
Nonetheless she claims that unaccusative and unergative verbs may be distinguished in
their interpretation. She places the two-way distinction in terms of telicity: unaccusatives
are telic (ie., achievements) whereas unergatives are atelic (ie., activities). Thus,
unaccusatives like arrive encode an end-point in their interpretation but unergatives like
dance do not. In effect, classical telicity tests confirm this interpretation contrast.
For instance, one common telicity test involves the compatibility of telic predicates
(and the incompatibility of atelic predicates) with time-frame adverbials such as in an
hour (Vendler (1967)). This test also involves the compatibility of atelic predicates (and
the incompatibility of telic predicates) with time-span adverbials (eg. for an hour). The
sentences in (68-69) show that predicates like arrive appear along with time-frame
adverbials like in an hour, which predicates dance tend to disallow (68). Conversely,
predicates like dance allow time-span adverbials like for hours which predicates like
arrive reject (69).
(68) a. John arrived in an hour
b. #John danced in an hour
(69) a. #John arrived for an hour
b. John danced for an hour
Another telicity test in English is the progressive test. In this test, the predicates are used
in the progressive (eg. is arriving for arrive). Since atelic predicates do not include an
end-point as part of their meaning, when these predicates are used in the progressive, it
can be assumed that the completion of the activity has already taken place. Because telic
predicates do involve the completion of an end-point, the progressive cannot be used with
these predicates to mean that the eventuality has been completed, but it rather means that
the eventuality is in certain stage toward its completion. This contrast can be seen in the
examples in (70a) for the telic (unaccusative) verb arrive and in (70b) for the atelic
(unergative) verb dance.
(70) a. John is arriving (≠ John has arrived and is still arriving)
b. John is dancing (= John has danced and is still dancing)
L&R-H (1995) present evidence against the use of telicity as a determining
unaccusativity test. They show two classes of intransitive verbs that pattern with
unaccusatives in some syntactic tests but are atelic in their meaning. For instance, verbs
like cool and harden are “degree achievement verbs” (Dowty 1979). Unlike other change
of state verbs, the verbs within this group are atelic because they do not necessarily
involve the attainment of an endpoint. Another class of atelic unaccusatives identified by
L&R-H is what they term “atelic verbs of inherently directed motion”. Verbs within this
class are rise and fall. In effect, these verbs pattern with atelic verbs in the common tests:
(71) a. The soup cooled for half an hour
b. The temperature rose steadily for three hours
To show the unaccusativity of the verbs in (71), L&R-H (1995) use two unergativity
diagnostics: the x’s way test and the cognate object test. In effect, the verbs cool and rise
both pattern with unaccusatives in these tests.
(72) x’s way test for unergativity
a. *The soup cooled its way to room temperature
b. *She rose her way to the presidency
(73) cognate object test for unergativity
a. *The soup cooled a quick cooling
b. *She rose a wobbly rise
The mixed results in the diagnostics reviewed above suggest that the unaccusative /
unergative distinction in English is far from clear-cut. Nonetheless, if used in
combination, the tests may show some consistency. For instance, the telicity tests seem to
render quite accurate results despite the exception groups in (71). In (74) I summarize
the unaccusativity tests for English that I will be using here.
a. there-insertion (ie., (60))
b. x’s way (ie., (61))
c. resultative test (ie., (64))
d. adjectival participals (ie., (65))
e. time-frame adverbials (ie., (68-69))
f. progressive test (ie., (70))
g. cognate object test (ie., (73))
[unaccusatives Y, unergatives NO]
[unergatives Y, unaccusatives NO]
[unaccusatives Y, unergatives NO]
[unaccusatives Y, unergatives NO]
[unaccusatives TF, unergatives TS]
[unaccusatives Y., unergatives NO]
[unergatives Y, unaccusatives NO]
Next I test the unaccusativity of the verb break, which, as I show next, is one of the
unaccusatives that allows causativization, as predicted by Pylkkänen.
4.2.1. Testing unaccusativity: break
Break is one of the unaccusative roots that allow root causativization (75).
The window broke
I broke the window
According to the tests described above, the English root break is an unaccusative verb.
(76) a. there-insertion
*There broke a glass (in the kitchen)
Alexiadou & Schäfer (2009)
b. x’s way
*John broke his way to the concert
c. resultative test
The lid broke open
d. adjectival participals
The recently broken car
e. time-frame adverbials
The car broke in one day
f. progressive test
The car is breaking (≠ the car has finished the process of breaking)
g. cognate object test
*The car broke a nice breaking
The tests in (76) suggest that break is not unergative since it does not pass the x’s way (b)
or cognate tests (g) nor involves a completion of an end-point when it appears in the
progressive (f). Most results suggest that this verb is unaccusative. It passes the
resultative test (c), the adjectival participial test (d), and it can be modified by time-frame
adverbials (e). It does not pass the there insertion test, which is also predicted by L&R-H
(1995) as typical of change-of-state verbs in general.
Now we have seen that the unaccusativity tests reviewed do predict, when combined,
the unaccusativity of English verbs quite accurately. Next I discuss the case of arrive and
appear as unaccusative verbs that do not allow zero causativization in English.
4.2.2. Testing unaccusativity: arrive and appear
In English, verbs such as arrive and appear are also unaccusative, as they pass the tests
for unaccusativity (77).
(77) a. there-insertion
There {arrived/appeared} a rat (in the kitchen)
b. x’s way
*John {arrived/appeared} his way to the concert
c. resultative test70
*John{arrived/appeared} happy
d. adjectival participals
The recently{arrived/appeared} boy
e. time-frame adverbials
The man {arrived/appeared} in one day / *for one day
f. progressive test
The boy is {arriving/appearing}
(≠ the boy has finished the process of x-ing)
g. cognate object test
The boy {arrived/appeared}a nice {*arrival/*appearance}
The tests in (77e) and (77f) confirm the telicity of the verbs arrive and appear, which is
typical of unaccusative verbs. In (77e), the two verbs are compatible with the time-frame
adverbial in an hour, which measures telicity, and incompatible with the time-span
adverbial for an hour, which is only compatible with atelic predicates. When used in the
These verbs do not pass the resultative test as the adjective receives a depictive rather than a resultative
interpretation, that is, John isn’t happy as a result of arriving or appearing.
progressive (77f), none of the events denoted by these three verbs can be interpreted as
on-going actions where instances of the event have already been completed. That is, the
sentence The boy is arriving does not imply that the boy has already completed an event
of arriving, which confirms the telicity of the verbs.
Conversely, the verbs arrive and appear both fail the unergativity tests in (77). In
(77b) the verbs fail to participate in the x’s way construction typical of unergative verbs.
The test in (77g) shows that these verbs pattern with other unaccusatives in that they
disallow cognate objects. With respect to other unaccusative diagnostics, the verbs arrive
and appear pass most tests (ie., there insertion test (77a) and adjectival participials
(77d)). None of these verbs pass the resultative test (77c) since none of these verbs can
appear along with a resultative adjectival predicated of the subject John, as the resultative
is a depictive (ie., it shows the state of John before and during the course of the
eventuality, rather than as a result of the event). This is not a typical behavior of changeof-state unaccusative verbs (ie., break passes this test (76c)), but the overall results of the
diagnostics applied in (77) confirm that the verbs arrive and appear are unaccusative
rather than unergative.
4.2.3. Comparing break with {arrive / appear}
The results of the unaccusativity diagnostics applied to break (76) and arrive and appear
(77) suggest that all of these verbs are unaccusative. Nonetheless, the tests also suggest
differences in their internal structure other than the unaccusative/unergative two-way
distinction. For instance, regarding the resultative test (c), only break patterns with
unaccusatives (i.e., whereas break is compatible with the resultative test (76c), arrive and
appear are not (76c)). Regarding the there-insertion test (a), break patterns with
unergatives, as this verb does not pass this test (76a). The verbs arrive and appear,
however, do pass this test (77a). Of course, the main point of contrast that concerns us
here is, as I introduced above, the fact that break is compatible with zero causativization
whereas arrive and appear are not. I resume discussion of this issue in the next section.
4.3. Identifying the locative element
One difference between unaccusative change-of-state verbs like break and unaccusative
verbs such as arrive and appear is the presupposition of a locative element in their
semantics. That is, in both sentences (78), a location is presupposed. This is contrasted
with (79), in which no location is presupposed.
(78) a. The train has arrived (e.g., at the station, to Paris)
b. The keys have appeared (e.g. on the table, under the bed)
(79) a. The window broke (no need to presuppose a location)
b. The door opened (no need to presuppose a location)
The contrast in (78-79) is probably the source of the contrast seen in the unaccusativity
tests in the previous section. Whereas arrive and appear are allowed in contexts of there
insertion, break and open are not (80).
(80) a. There {arrived/appeared} three men (in the room)
b. *There {broke/opened} three doors (in the house)
Levin & Rappaport-Hovav (1995) treat verbs of existence and appearance (e.g., appear)
as well as verbs of inherently directed motion (e.g., arrive) as basically dyadic
(transitive). They propose that they vary from other transitive verbs (e.g., change of state,
break) in that these verbs contain two internal arguments as opposed to one external and
one internal argument.
Other authors (ie., Lyons (1969), Hoekstra and Mulder (1990)) also discuss the
deictic component in the argument structure of these verbs. While Lyons claims that ‘all
existential sentences are at least implicitly locative’ (1967: 390), Hoeckstra & Mulder
propose a theme participant plus a location as associated with this verb type. McCloskey
(2009) identifies such a locative element overtly in existential sentences in Irish. This is
the locative ann ‘in-it’ which is not restricted to contexts involving the verb ‘be’ (81).
(81) a. Beidh go leaor bia ann
be(fut) plenty food in-it
‘There will be plenty of food’
b. Fágann sin cuid mhór daoine ann nach bhfuil fail acu ar sheirbhísí leighis
leaves that many people in-it neg c is access at-them on services healing(gen)
‘That means that there are many people who have no access to health care’
McCloskey (2009:6[11a], 8[14a])
Hiaki also exhibits an overt locative element not only associated with existentials, but
common with many verbs, both transitive and intransitive. Although much research is
still to be done regarding this locative in Hiaki, it is common (and seemingly obligatory)
in sentences involving arrive (82a) or passives of intransitives (82b), which otherwise
would lack a locative PP.
(82) a. Maria ??(aman) yepsa-k
Maria there arrive(sg.subj)-perf
‘Maria arrived (there)’
b. ??(Aman) yi’i-wa-k
there dance-pass-perf
‘There was (people) dancing there’
In languages like English and Spanish, whenever the deictic component is not overtly
expressed, it is contextually presupposed (83) and (84). This is shown by the fact that, if
used as out-of-the-blue the following sentences in (83) and (84) presuppose either some
location or some presupposed information.
(83) English
a. Appear
A student appeared
(84) Spanish
a. Appear
Ha aparecido un estudiante
Has appeared a student
‘A student has appeared’
b. Arrive
{A student / a letter} has arrived
b. Arrive
Ha llegado {un estudiante / una carta}
Has arrived {a student / a letter}
‘{A student / a letter} has arrived’
The sentences in (83-84) all involve an implied location as associated with the meaning
of the verbs appear (a) and arrive (b). In the case of appear, the English sentence
presupposes a location (e.g., ‘here’) if the sentence is intended as out-of-the-blue or
presupposed information (e.g., there was a search for students) otherwise. The same
happens in the case of arrive. If intended as out-of-the-blue, this sentence presupposes a
location (e.g., ‘here’). The Spanish sentences exhibit an interesting word order
phenomenon typical of Romance languages. The next subsection expands on this issue.
4.4. Word order and pro-loc in Romance
In Romance languages such as Spanish or Italian, word order facts in out-of-the-blue
statements are typically used as unaccusative diagnostics. For instance, whereas
unaccusative verbs allow their subjects to appear in postverbal position, this is not
possible with unergatives. The sentences in (85) show this.
(85) a. Unaccusative llegar ‘arrive’ (out-of-the-blue)
A: ¿Alguna novedad?
Any news?
B: Ha llegado una carta
Has arrived a letter
‘A letter has arrived’
b. Unergative gritar ‘yell’ (out-of-the-blue)
A: ¿Alguna novedad?
Any news?
B: #Ha gritado un borracho71
Has yelled a drunk
‘A drunk has yelled’
Benincà (1988) and Tortora (2001) observe that, in Romance languages, out-of-the-blue
statements involving verbs such as arrivare (It) and llegar (Sp) ‘arrive’ trigger postverbal subjects. This post-verbal requirement is cancelled with other unaccusative verbs,
such as partire (It) and salir (Sp) ‘leave’ that do not observe such restriction.
(86) Italian
A: Cosa è succeso? ‘What happened?’
B: a. È arrivata Maria’. a’. ??Maria è arrivata b. ??È partita Maria
is arrived M.
M. is arrived
is left M.
‘Maria arrived’
‘Maria arrived’
‘Maria left’
b’. Maria è partita
M. is left
‘Maria left’
Folli et al. (2008:[(1a,a’), (3a, a’)]
The contrast is explained in terms of a deictic locative element, pro-loc, that forms part of
the internal semantics of verbs containing speaker-oriented deixis such as arrivare
‘arrive’. Folli, Harley & Tubino Blanco (2008) further notice that whenever arrivare
appears with additional verbal material, the subject cannot keep the final position
observed in (86).
I mark the sentence with # because this sentence is grammatical if it is not intended as out-of-the-blue.
(86) ??È arrivata Maria {tardi / presto / bene / sana e salva}
is arrived Maria {late / early / well / healthy and safe}
‘Maria has arrived {late / early / well / healthy and safe}
Folli et al. (2008)
These authors attribute the contrast to prosodic requirements available in Italian. They
explain that this language has a canonical SV order (observed in (86b)). For a subject to
be postverbal in a broad focus context, (i) a pro-loc must be present and (ii) the
postverbal subject must bear focal stress. Otherwise, the subject must be preverbal
regardless of the presence of a pro-loc in the structure (87). I claim that the pro-loc
argument, present in some unaccusative verbs (such as arrive, but not break), is also
responsible for the restriction observed in both English and Spanish (also presumably in
Hiaki) regarding the root causativization of these verbs.
I agree with L&RH’s (1995) claim that verbs of appearance (appear) and
inherently directed motion (arrive) select two internal arguments in the sense that both
arguments need to be present in structures involving the roots √APPEAR and √ARRIVE. The
pro-loc element proposed by Benincà does not appear in the syntax as an external
argument (ie., it does not have the semantics typical of external arguments). I suppose
this argument is base-generated in a position higher in the structure than the Root. For the
structure to work with Pylkkänen’s analysis, this would be [spec,vP] (88).
(88) Syntax of arrivare ‘arrive’
In (88), the presence of ‘Loc’ blocks lexical causativization of arrive. Because the root
√ARRIVARE is necessarily associated with a ‘loc’ element, this triggers the syntactic merge
in the structure of a vP that licenses the locative in its specifier position. We have seen
earlier that root causativization is only possible with unaccusative roots, that is, with
roots thematically associated to themes only.
Roots with unergative syntax are excluded form lexical causativization because
the structure cannot accommodate syntactic elements thematically associated with the
root but that need to be syntactically merged at positions higher than the root. Because
unergatives are associated with external arguments and these are base-generated higher
than the roots they are associated with, unergatives are excluded from causativization.
The verb arrive is unaccusative according to the diagnostics seen earlier.
However, it is thematically associated to a pro-loc element that needs to be syntactically
licensed above the root. Because the zero causative vP in English and Romance is rootselecting, there is no room left under vP to license the loc element. In this sense, arrive is
banned from lexical causativization because this verb syntactically behaves like an
unergative in the sense that it is thematically linked to a participant (the pro-loc) that,
It could be argued that the structure in (88) is problematic since Maria is the one in the location at the
end of the event, and for this to be possible, the loc element should be predicated of Maria in a small clause
(SC) structure. However, I claim that the structure roots associated with a pro-loc element must be different
than roots that select SC complements in which one of them is locative. Were this the case, cases such as
arrive be compatible with causativization, at least in English, in the same way as other English unergative
roots with resultative, goal phrases and other PPs can, e.g., I danced Mary across the room. However,
arrive cannot become causativized regardless of whether it includes a goal PP, e.g., *I arrived Mary to the
station. This suggests that the locative element in inherently directed motion such as arrive must be in a
position other than that occupied by goal phrases or resultatives of motion unergatives (ie., the predicate of
an SC position within the complement of the root) because only the latter verbs allow causativization. As
for how the structure explains phenomena such as (87), in which the adverbial tarde ‘late’ also appears in
the structure, Folli et al. have an explanation for that: the subject, in such cases, cannot stay in sentencefinal position because the clause does not meet the second requirement for non-canonical subjects, namely,
with the presence of a predicate (ie., tarde ‘late’), the subject would no longer bear focal stress.
even though it is not an external argument, it is still base-generated in a position higher
than the root. Then, the lexical causativization of arrive is impossible because pro-loc
intervenes between this causative v type and its root-complement.73
(89) Lexical causativization of ‘arrive'
The mailman
Voice/vP CAUSE
a letter
‘*The mailman arrived a letter’
The structure in (89) shows that the lexical causativization of arrive is not possible in
English because the pro-loc element required by arrive as part of its argument structure is
lacking a syntactic position where it could be licensed. I am proposing here that the
locative deictic, as part of the verb’s semantics, as proposed by Benincà, is basegenerated within the immediate domain of either roots entailing speaker-oriented deixis
semantics, such as arrivare ‘arrive’ or the vPs that introduce the event associated with
these roots. In the case of (88), the deictic syntactically shows up as a locative head ‘loc’
which is base generated right above the vP that embeds the Root √ARRIVARE.
The curvy arrow in the graphic symbolizes the failure of pro-loc to be thematically licensed in the
4.5. The deictic component has nothing to do with Voice-bundling
The restriction affects Voice-bundling languages as proposed by Pylkkänen as well as
clearly non Voice-bundling languages like Hiaki, which is further evidence that,
regardless of the Voice-bundling parameter, unergatives and transitives are banned from
root causativization, as suggested in section 3. In Pylkkänen’s framework, a non Voicebundling language should freely allow the causativization of roots associated with a
locative component such as arrive, since this element could be licensed in [Spec,
vPCAUSE], as shown in (90).
This is not borne out in Hiaki since this language, just like English and Spanish,
disallows the root causativization of arrive.
(91) *Maria Santos-ta aman yepsa-k
Maria Santos-acc there arrive(sg.subj)-perf
‘Maria is making Santos arrive (there)’
Like in English, the only way yepsa ‘arrive(sg.subj)’ may be causativized in Hiaki is via
the productive causative –tua (92).
(92) Maria Santos-ta aman yevih-tua-k
Maria Santos-acc there arrive(sg.subj)-cause-perf
‘Maria is making Santos arrive (there)’
The problem these sentences present to an account based on Pylkkänen’s Voicebundling / non Voice-bundling distinction is the fact that a non Voice-bundling language
such as Hiaki should freely allow sentences like (91) if we assume that √YEPSA
‘arrive(sg.subj)’ is causativized by vP
that, as seen in (90), may allow the presence of
a pro-loc argument in its Spec position.
Recall that Hiaki does not allow the Root causativization of unergatives, which is
also against Pylkkänen’s predictions for non Voice-bundling causatives. It must be the
case, then, that root causatives, regardless of whether they are Voice-bundling or not,
must select roots with their argument structure already saturated, that is, all arguments
associated with the root should be thematically licensed by the time vCAUSE embeds a root.
This is why they need to exhibit unaccusative syntax in which the root is associated with
a complement rather than an agent. In cases like arrive (and also appear), despite the fact
that these verbs are unaccusatives, they cannot be root causativized because their
argument structure will not be saturated by the time the root is embedded by vCAUSE.
Hiaki does allow the root causativization of machia ‘appear’ (93).
(93) a. non-causative
Mesa-po yeu machia-k ume yaavem
table-loc out appear-perf det(pl) keys
‘The keys appeared on the table’
b. causative
Nee mesa-po yeu machia-k ume yaavem
1sg table-loc out appear-perf det(pl) keys
‘(lit.) I appeared the keys on the table’
In (93b), machia ‘appear’ is clearly root causativized. We know this because there is no
morphological indication of the presence of the productive causative –tua. This presents a
problem for the claim made here that Non Voice-bundling vCAUSE resists the lexical
causativization of roots that contain a deictic component. Like yepsa ‘arrive (sg.subj)’,
machia ‘appear’ involves a deictic component. But this deictic component appears in the
syntax as the overt preposition yeu ‘out’ rather than as a pro-loc element, as it was the
case with yepsa ‘arrive(sg.subj)’. The locative mesa-po ‘table-loc, on the table’, in
contrast, is optional.
(94) Peo au yeu machia-k
Pete 3sg.refl out appear-perf
‘Pete appeared himself (cf., Pete showed himself)’
In (94) then no locative phrase is present besides the deictic preposition yeu ‘out’. I
propose that the root causativization of machia ‘appear’ in Hiaki is allowed in the same
way as some English constructions with explicit goal arguments can be lexically
causativized. In English, the root causativization of unergatives is banned but not if a goal
phrase or other prepositional elements are part of the argument structure. The
prepositional element / goal phrase is obligatory for the causativization of English
unergatives (95).
(95) a. *I ran Mary
b. I ran Mary *(to the store)
c. I ran John *(away)
The causativization of unergatives with prepositional / goal material has been discussed
in the literature by linguists such as Levin & Rappaport Hovav (1995), Hoekstra &
Mulder (1990) or Folli & Harley (2006). Folli & Harley (2006) specifically address the
problem by providing a strictly syntactic explanation of the data. They observe that the
only structure type involving unergatives eligible for causativization is the one that
includes PP complements of the type shown in (95). In their analysis, the causativized
agent and the PP complement appear in the syntax as members of a Small Clause (SC),
following work by Hoekstra (1984). The structure is shown in (96).
(96) Folli & Harley (2006) analysis of John walked Mary to his flat
his flat
Adapted from Folli & Harley (2004:29[21b])
Under this analysis, the causativization of the unergative root walk is possible because
there is no conflicting element syntactically above the root walk that prevents vCAUSE from
directly taking the root as a complement. With this in mind, it is possible now to
understand our Hiaki cases in (93). In these constructions, the root machia ‘appear’
involves a prepositional element, yeu ‘out’. This element is selected by machia within its
complement, a SC, along with the internal argument. I show the structure in (97).
Peo au yeu machia-k
Pete 3sg.refl out appear-perf
‘Pete made himself appear’
In (97) the root causativization of machia ‘appear’ is possible thanks to the prepositional
element yeu, that is selected by machia within its complement. This element licenses the
internal argument au ‘3refl’ as its subject. Given the contrast with the case of yepsa
‘arrive(sg.subj.)’, I will assume, as suggested in fn. 73, that the pro-loc elements
associated with roots (e.g. yepsa ‘arrive(sg.subj)’) are base-generated in positions higher
than the roots rather than in the complement positions of roots. In the cases of other roots,
such as machia ‘appear’ and English verbs of movement such as walk (96), the roots
themselves are not associated to a deictic component, but this is expressed overtly, via
e.g., a prepositional element, that is base-generated in the complement position of the
roots along with the theme. This explains why machia ‘appear’ may be causativized in
whereas yepsa ‘arrive (sg.subj)’ resists causativization in Hiaki.
4.6. There-construction and locative inversion: a deictic correlative?
L&RH (1995) associate the syntactic behavior of arrive and appear just discussed with
the occurrence of these verbs in there-constructions in English as well as locative
inversion contexts.
(98) a. there
There {appeared/arrived} one girl in disguise
b. locative inversion
In Tucson {appeared/arrived} two unidentified individuals
The sentence in (98a) shows a there-construction in which both appear and arrive may
participate. The example in (98b) shows the possibility for these verbs to participate in
locative inversion. In the literature these two phenomena have been associated with
unaccusative verbs such as appear and arrive (ie., L&RH (1995) among many others).
In fact, evidence like (98) is compatible with certain unaccusative classes, such as
the ones discussed here, but incompatible with other unaccusative classes. Interestingly,
an unaccusative class that does not participate in the there-construction or locative
inversion is the one represented by change-of-state verbs (ie., break), precisely the group
that typically participates in the causative alternation.
(99) a. there
*There {broke/opened} three doors
b. locative inversion
*In that house {broke/opened} three doors
The use of the phenomena exhibited in (98-99) as an indication of the deictic semantics
of the verbs participating in it is nonetheless controversial. Whereas some authors
(L&RH (1995), Kayne (2008), or McCloskey (2009)) treat expletive there as associated
with a deictic element, there is a vast literature that analyzes this element as a mere
syntactic expletive (Chomsky 1999, 2000, among others).
I will not discuss the expletive vs. deictic analysis of there here for reasons of
space. Nonetheless, I will address some issues related to that topic. One problem with the
analysis of there as marking a deictic component is its appearance in sentences involving
verbs other than those in the arrive or appear class. For instance L&RH discuss the
compatibility of there-constructions and locative inversion with certain unergatives.
(100) a. There danced many girls at that party
b. Around them sang many girls
(adapted from L&RH (1995: 256[75a]))
In (100) the unergatives danced and sang are used in a there-construction (100a) and in
locative inversion contexts (100b).
L&RH claim that the verbs appearing in these constructions (ie., verbs of
existence and appearance) are ‘informationally light’. They claim that these verbs a) do
not add any information other than that provided by the postverbal PP, which by setting a
scene suggests that something will happen in that scene (1995:231); b) do not have a
manner component. They add that agentive subjects appearing in these constructions
along with unergatives (ie., many girls (100)) are ‘deagentivized’. The ‘deagentivization’
is a consequence of these verbs being ‘informationally light’. They explain that when
verbs have these characteristics, they do not need to encode specific information
regarding / associated with their external arguments. This explains why we perceive the
agents in these constructions as somehow detransitivized. They show that in fact when
unergatives occur in the constructions in (100), they necessarily predicate of nonspecific / prototypical subjects, but not of specific subjects.
(101) a. *There sang Mary
b. ??Around them sang Mary
In a sense, unergative verbs participating in these constructions behave like
unaccusatives, according to these authors.74 I do not entirely assume this explanation for
these cases. I believe that some unergative verbs may appear in these constructions
because they have some inherent properties that are compatible with this semantic
Which is precisely the explanation assumed by Folli & Harley (1994) for English motion verbs and the
one I adopt for the case case of yeu machia ‘out appear’ above.
Nonetheless, some of the insights in L&RH may actually explain the contrast seen
in the use of the verbs show, reveal and display as the suppletive causatives of appear, as
associated with the agentivity of their causers. These verbs are anomalous as suppletive
forms of appear if used agentively because agentivity loads verbs with an additional
informational burden. An ‘informationally light’ verb such as appear cannot take a
suppletive causative form that is ‘informationally heavy’. It is for this reason, perhaps,
that show, reveal and display might work as ‘suppletive’ causatives of appear but only in
their non-agentive use.
Back to the compatibility of unergatives with the there-construction and locative
inversion, I suggest that the reason why unergative verbs may appear in these syntactic
environments, in fact, because these verbs may encode a deictic component as part of
their argument structure. This deictic may be implied, locative or temporal.
(102) a. Mary danced ??({all night long/ at the party})
b. John is singing ??({now/tomorrow/at the concert})
In the sentences in (102) a deictic element is implied as part of the argument structure of
the verbs, either contextually presupposed or overtly. In this sense, these verbs are
intrinsically comparable with other verbs that prototypically appear in the thereconstruction and locative inversion, such as appear and arrive.
4.7. Potential problems
I just proposed that verbs like arrive or appear are unaccusatives that disallow root
causativization because they contain a deictic component as part of their argument
structure that prevents the roots from being thematically saturated before they can be
directly embedded by lexical vCAUSE. In this section I discuss some potential problems that
this proposal may encounter.
4.7.1. Leave does not behave the same as arrive
In this section, I have shown that certain unaccusative verbs such as arrive and appear do
not participate in the alternation in languages such as Romance and English because the
syntactic realization of the deictic element associated with the semantics of these verbs
interferes with the syntax of lexical Cause in these languages.
The Romance word order facts discussed in section 4.4. provided independent
evidence that arrive and appear are syntactically associated with two participants in their
argument structure, a theme, syntactically realized as a complement of the root, and the
deictic argument, realized in a position higher than the roots. There is a potential
problem, however, related with this analysis, as the word order restrictions shown for
Romance do involve a contrast between unaccusative verbs like partire ‘leave’ vs.
arrivare ‘arrive’. The facts are repeated in (103).
(103) Italian
a. È arrivata Maria
is arrived M.
‘Maria arrived’
a’. ??Maria è arrivata
M. is arrived
‘Maria arrived’
b. ??È partita Maria b’. Maria è partita
is left M.
M. is left
‘Maria left’
‘Maria left’
Folli et al. (2008:[(1a,a’), (3a, a’)]
The sentences in (103) show a contrast in the word order associated with arrivare ‘arrive’
(103a) and partire ‘leave’ (103b). While the theme is preferred in a postverbal position in
(103a), it is preferred in a preverbal position in (103b). Recall that the subject postverbal
position associated with verbs such as arrive (103a) was argued to be triggered by the
presence of a deictic element as part of the argument structure of these verbs that
occupies the preverbal position.
I also argued that the preverbal position of the deictic argument explains why
verbs containing the deictic component cannot participate in lexical causativization in
English and Romance: this argument needs to have been thematically licensed (e.g., by
vP) prior to embedding by vCAUSE, but the licensing vP would block this process as Root
vCAUSE cannot embed material other than roots. Now verbs like partire ‘leave’ do not
show the same word order facts as arrivare ‘arrive’. Nonetheless, partire ‘leave’ also
bans lexical causativization.
(104) a. English
*The engineer left the train five minutes behind schedule
(cf. the engineer made the train leave five minutes behind schedule)
b. Spanish
*El maquinista salió el tren con cinco minutos de retraso
‘The engineer left the train with five minutes of delay (ie,. behind schedule)’
In the sentences in (104) the unaccusative verbs leave (104a) and salir ‘leave’ (104b)
cannot be causativized. It could be posited that the verb leave does not allow
causativization because its deictic argument interferes between vCAUSE and the root
But the facts in (103) are contradictory with those in (104) if preferred
word order in Romance does reflect the syntactic position of the deictic argument of
arrive and leave. L&RH point out a contrast in the behavior of verbs of appearance (ie.,
appear) vs. verbs of disappearance (ie., disappear) regarding their participation in the
there-construction and locative inversion. While verbs of appearance prototypically
participate in both constructions, verbs of disappearance disallow both.
(105) Verbs of disappearance
a. there-construction
*There disappeared three books from the shelf
b. Locative construction
*From the shelf disappeared three books
These authors claim that verbs of disappearance generally share their same characteristics
as verbs of appearance, but they are excluded from the constructions in (105) because of
the discourse function of the construction. They claim that “an entity whose
disappearance is being described is likely to be central to the discourse and not discoursenew” (1995: 231). The same restriction applies to leave.
(106) leave
a. there-construction
*There left three men on the evening train
b. locative construction
*On the evening train left three men
The sentences in (106) illustrate the restriction of leave from participation in thereconstructions and locative inversion. Leave is a verb that patterns with disappear in that
both are ‘source’-oriented, in MacDonald’s (2008) terms (ie., the verbs inherently denote
the source: one leaves or disappears from a place). This is contrasted with appear or
arrive in that these verbs are ‘goal’-oriented (ie., the verbs inherently denote the
goal/location: one appears or arrives at/in a place). Verbs like appear and arrive are
goal-oriented and select both a deictic participant and a theme as part of their argument
structure, as explained in section 4.4.
Verbs like disappear and leave are source-oriented and also select both a deictic
participant and a theme as part of their argument structure. This explains the identical
behavior of these verbs regarding lexical causativization (104). Their contrasted behavior
regarding word order in Romance and their participation in there-constructions and
locative inversion is due to the role of the two arguments selected by arrive/appear, on
one hand, and leave/disappear, on the other hand, regarding discourse orientation.
In this sense, both the word order facts and locative inversion are ultimately
dependent on discourse rather than narrow syntax. That is, in both cases, the deictic
argument is base generated in an argument position higher than the roots, blocking lexical
When discourse syntax comes into play, the theme participant associated with the
roots arrive/appear and leave/disappear will take different roles, creating a contrast in
the preferred word order of the theme argument with respect to the root. Because the
deictic argument is inherent to the semantics of these verbs, the themes selected by them
will assume the spatial/temporal position denoted by the deictics. The position denoted
by the deictics also has to do with the position of the speaker. The relation between the
speaker and the position assumed by the theme is highly relevant to discourse and it will
determine the surface position of the arguments as I explain below.
In the case of arrive/appear, the theme is allowed to keep its postverbal position
because the goal/location inherent to arrive/appear (canonically the position of the
speaker) is canonically contextualized as old information (topic). When the theme
argument assumes the position denoted by the deictic, the theme is canonically
contextualized as new information (focus). Notice how, if the theme is contextualized as
old information, the word order facts change.
(107) A. I’m expecting Maria. Any news about that?
B. *Sí, ha llegado María
yes, has arrived Mary
‘Yes, Mary arrived’ (ie. Mary was expected)
In the case of disappear/leave, the opposite scenario holds. The two participants
associated with the roots disappear/leave are base-generated in the same positions in
which the two participants associated with the roots appear/arrive are base-generated: the
theme argument is selected by the root as a complement whereas the deictic argument is
generated in a position higher than the root. However, the scenario associated with the
semantics of source deictics (inherent to leave) is different than the scenario associated
with the semantics of goal deictics (inherent to arrive).
In scenarios involving goal deictics, the speaker is canonically assumed to be in
the position denoted by the deictic, whereas the theme argument is expected to assume
that position. In a sense, the goal deictic is interpreted as ‘old information’. In scenarios
involving source deictics, the speaker still holds the position of the source deictic, but so
does the theme argument. For this reason, this argument is canonically interpreted as ‘old
information’ (topic).
This explains why, in canonical situations, source oriented verbs like leave take
topic themes, whereas goal oriented verbs like arrive take focus themes. The
interpretation of (108) illustrates that whenever the speaker does not hold the position
denoted by the goal deictic, the word order facts in Romance are altered.
(108) A. Any news?
B. a. María ha llegado
Mary has arrived
‘Mary has arrived’
b. Ha llegado María
has arrived Mary
c.#Ha llegado María
has arrived Mary
b. Presupposition: the speaker is in the place where Mary arrives
c. Presuppostion: the speaker is not in the place where Mary arrives
The sentences in (108) involve the goal oriented verb llegar ‘arrive’. The sentences in
(108b-c) exhibit the canonical realization of the theme argument Maria ‘Mary’ in out-ofthe-blue contexts. But this is so only if the speaker is assumed to be in the position
denoted by the goal deictic associated with llegar ‘arrive’, as the anomalous status of
(108c) indicates.
This shows that the elements included in the syntax of arrive and leave do affect
word order facts, but the relations created by the deictic relations involved in events of
different kind (ie. the speaker orientation with respect to the other deictic elements
inherent to the verbs) also affect word order facts, as demonstrated in (107). This contrast
cannot happen in the case of salir ‘leave’ because, as L&RH or McDonald’s framework
propose regarding verbs of disappearance, the theme can never be interpreted as ‘new
information’ in these contexts. In other words, it fails to receive broad focus
As Heidi Harley (p.c.) points out, notice that leave has a different argument structure in English than, for
instance, salir ‘leave’ does in Spanish. Whereas leave may be used transitively (but non-causatively) in
English (eg., John left the party), this is never an option in Spanish (eg., *Juan salió la fiesta ‘John left the
party’). A prepositional phrase with de ‘from’ is always required in these cases (eg., Juan salió de la fiesta
‘John left from the party’). Notice that, in this case, the meaning of the sentence is not that ‘John left the
party to not return’ but it is rather that ‘John momentarily left the party but he returned, that is, he just went
out’. The correct transitive use of salir ‘leave’, in these cases is, rather, with the use of a different root, the
transitive root dejar ‘leave’, as in Juan dejó la fiesta ‘John left the party’. In sum, the Spanish root salir
‘leave, go.out’ entirely lacks a transitive use unlike its English counterpart leave, which is further indication
of the idiosyncrasy of languages in their uses of verbal roots applied to specific contexts.
Whereas the canonical word order associated with goal-oriented verbs such as
llegar ‘arrive’ is V-S if the deictic inherent within the verb specifies a location that
coincides with the speaker’s location, the position of the subject varies if the deictic
specifies a location other than the speaker’s. In the case of leave, because both theme and
the speaker are assumed to hold the position inherently denoted by the verb, the theme is
canonically interpreted as a topic, which triggers S-V order in Romance.
Thus, the word order facts in (103a) are evidence that arrive generates a goaldeictic as part of its argument structure, blocking lexical causativization, yet the contrast
of arrive and leave in terms of word order in Romance (103) is not a problem for this
analysis, because the reasons behind the word order contrasts are discourse-driven rather
than purely syntactic.
4.7.2. Japanese
The last section of this chapter describes a second potential problem associated with the
analysis of arrive and appear proposed in this section. In section 4.5., I showed that non
Voice-bundling languages such as Hiaki do exhibit the same restrictions as the Voicebundling languages English or Spanish regarding the root causativization of these
unaccusative verbs. This led me to the conclusion that regardless of the voice-bundling
properties of the causative head, Root vCAUSE is incompatible with roots that need to
license material other than their complement theme. Japanese presents a problem to this
proposal, however, as it appears to exhibit lexical causatives of arrive and appear. The
examples are from Volpe (2001).
(109) appear
a. non-causative
Eizoo-ga gamen-ni araw-are-ta
b. causative
Purogurama-ga gamen-ni eizoo-o araw-asi-ta
Picture-nom screen-loc appear-intr-past
‘A picture appeared on the screen’
Program-nom screen-loc picture-acc appear-trans-past
‘lit. The program appeared a picture on the screen’
Volpe (2001:14[3,4])
(110) arrive 1
a. non-causative
Fune-ga Hakatafuto-ni tsui-ta
b. causative
Sencho-ga Hakatafuto-ni fune-o tsuk-e-ta
Ship-nom Hakata.port-goal arrive-past
‘The ship arrived at the Port of Hakata’
Captain-nom H.port-goal ship-acc arrive-trans-past
‘lit.The captain arrived the ship at the Port of Hakata’
Volpe (2001:14[7b,8b])
(111) arrive 2
a. non-causative
Bill-ga Tom-ni tegami-o okut-ta ga todok-anakat-ta
B.-nom T.-dat letter-acc send-past but arrive-neg-past
‘Bill sent Tom the letter but it didn’t arrive’
b. causative
John-ga Maria-ni kozotumi-o todok-e-ta
J.-nom M.-dat packet-acc arrive-trans-past
‘lit. John arrived the packet to Maria’
adapted from Yamaguchi (1998)
The sentences in (109-111) exhibit the lexical causativization of appear (109) and arrive
(110-111) in Japanese.76 These examples suggest that, for some reason, this language
does not observe the restrictions associated with corresponding roots in English, Spanish
and Hiaki. In the case of appear (109), the example is not clear as to whether this is a
case of productive or root causativization. This is so since the morphological marker –asi
may also appear in productive causativization contexts.
Volpe glosses the suffix –asi- as ‘trans’, which is the traditional gloss these suffixes have received (ie.,
Jacobsen 1981, 1992) but I gloss the suffix –asi- as causative when using Pylkkänen’s examples, since this
is the gloss this latter author originally used. As discussed throughout this chapter, it is not clear whether
the suffixes that appear in Japanese lexical causatives exhibit causation or transitivity. I will not pursue this
issue further here.
Further tests on the Japanese cases would be necessary in order to investigate this
case, which I will not do here for reasons of space. Regarding the examples in (110-111),
these seem to be clear cases of root causativization, as the suffix –e is in fact typical of
root causativization contexts.
I do not have an explanation for these cases other than to appeal to the different
syntactic composition of roots in different languages. That is, the roots tsuk- and todok‘arrive’, unlike their English, Spanish and Hiaki counterparts, do not involve a deictic
argument that needs to be projected in the syntax. An alternative explanation would be
that Pylkkänen is after all right about Japanese in that this language allows the root
causativization of roots regardless of the kind of arguments associated with them. Since
an exhaustive study about the internal structure and behavior or roots in Japanese is
beyond the scope of this dissertation, I leave this issue for future research.
4.8. Summary
In this section I have discussed the syntax of unaccusative verbs like arrive and appear
that fail to participate in lexical causativization. This phenomenon needed to be addressed
individually as it is a potential challenge to Pylkkänen’s analysis that predicts that the
unaccusative group is the only verb group eligible for lexical causativization in languages
like Romance and English.
I showed that these verbs cannot participate in root causativization because of the
presence of a deictic argument as part of their internal semantics that needs to be
projected as part of their syntactic structure. I showed that this additional argument
requires that the root be merged with a verbal element whereby it can be licensed.
Because roots like arrive and appear always involve the projection of vP in order to
license this deictic, vCAUSE can never embed them as bare roots.
I also discussed that this is not exclusive to Voice-bundling languages like
English, but it is also the case in Hiaki, whose roots for ‘arrive’ yepsa ‘arrive(sg.subj)’
and yaha ‘arrive(pl.subj)’ cannot be directly embedded by lexical vCAUSE. This, along with
Hiaki’s failure to root-causativize unergatives and transitives, is further evidence against
Pylkkänen’s claim that non Voice-bundling vCAUSE may embed all types of roots.
In the last section I showed that Japanese data involving arrive and appear are
problematic for my proposal, as both verbs in this language seem to allow root
causativization. I argued that, whereas I do not have a definite response to this problem,
as it requires a deeper study on the nature of roots in this language, the counterexamples
suggest that i) either my proposal is right and the deictic component in Japanese roots is
not projected as an argument or ii) Pylkkänen’s proposal is right, non Voice-bundling
languages allow root causativization of any type of verb and Hiaki is an exception to this
5. Conclusion
In this chapter I have studied the behavior of root causatives under Pylkkänen’s analysis.
More particularly, I have looked at whether any kind of unaccusative is eligible for root
causativization, as predicted by Pylkkänen’s model.
In the first part of the chapter, I have looked at the behavior of Hiaki regarding
root causativization. I have discussed the existence, in this language, of a construction
involving a transitive use of muuke ‘die (sg.subj)’ that, like Japanese sinase ‘die-cause’
receives an adversity interpretation (ie., sb. died on sb. else).
I have shown that, although clearly transitive neither the semantics nor the
morphology of this construction supports a causative analysis of the construction. This is
so since Hiaki exhibits transitive morphology that is clearly not causative, as the
intransitive-transitive pair omte ‘be angry’ omta ‘be angry at sb.’ shows, given that the
form morphologically marked ‘transitive’ is clearly not causative (ie, it does not mean
‘make sb. angry’).
The similarities between the Japanese and the Hiaki adversity construction,
however, suggest that both languages share the same syntactic structure for the
construction, which is problematic for Pylkkänen’s claim that Japanese has unaccusative
causative constructions. Moreover, data from Tomioka (2004) in which Japanese
disallows root causativization of transitives and bi-morphemic unaccusatives challenges
Pylkkänen’s claim that the properties of the Japanese causative allows this language to
directly causativize any type of root (including transitives and unergatives).
In the second part of this chapter I showed that Pylkkänen’s prediction that any
kind of unaccusative may undergo root causativization seems to be challenged by facts
from Hiaki, English and Spanish. It was shown that none of these languages allows the
lexical causativization of some unaccusative groups, such as verbs like arrive, appear or
die. I explained that these data does not necessarily challenge Pylkkänen’s predictions,
however. In the case of die, its root causativization is not banned. I showed, by using a
DM proposal by (Harley & Noyer (2000)), that whenever this root is causativized, its
suppletive form, kill, shows as the morphological form for this root.
In the case of arrive and appear, I explained that the restriction is derived from
differences between the internal structure of these roots and the internal structure of other
unaccusative roots (ie., change-of-state roots) that allow lexical causativization. More
particularly, I proposed that the deictic component that is present as part of the argument
structure of these verbs and that needs to be projected in their syntax prevents lexical
vCAUSE from directly embedding the verbs as bare roots, which then blocks
causativization. In this sense, what seemed to be exceptions to Pylkkänen’s model are
The potential problem with her model was presented by data from Hiaki, as the
root yepsa ‘arrive(sg.subj)’ disallows lexical causativization. This, once again, presented
a problem to Pylkkänen’s claim against the existence of any restrictions on the lexical
causativization of any type of root in non Voice-bundling languages, although I showed
that the issue requires further study as Japanese roots for both arrive and appear freely
allow lexical causativization. In the next chapter I discuss the syntax of productive
causatives within Pylkkänen’s model.
In previous chapters differences in causatives across languages have been seen, almost
exclusively, as a consequence of the internal properties of the causative head vCAUSE, as
proposed by Pylkkänen (2002, 2008). In Chapter 3, I showed that this is mostly true
regarding Root (ie., ‘lexical’) causatives. I showed that, as a matter of fact, Root
causative formation is even more restricted than Pylkkänen predicted it was, because
Root causatives (ii) may only embed unaccusatives even when vCAUSE is non Voicebundling, contra Pylkkänen’s predictions, and (ii) are incompatible with some
unaccusatives like arrive. I explained that these restrictions are, in fact, the consequence
of the nature of Root vCAUSE (ie., it cannot embed anything larger than a bare root), but
that sometimes factors internal to particular languages other than the nature of vCAUSE play
a role in the shape of their causatives (ie., particular languages allow some unergative
verbs to adopt unaccusative syntax).
In this chapter, I focus on the structure of English productive causatives with make.
After identifying their different selectional properties as the main point of contrast
between English productive vCAUSE and its lexical counterpart, I focus on two related
constructions involving English make: a) English causativized passives (eg., My mom
made me be brought back home from Mexico) and b) English passives of causatives (eg.,
I was made to dance). I show that, although these constructions contain the same core
elements (ie., a causative head vCAUSE that either takes a passive complement or is
passivized), the agreement requirements of English contribute to the surface contrast
between the two constructions (ie., only the passive causative requires a complement
headed by to).
The chapter is structured as follows: In Section 2, I show that make should be
considered a phase-selecting causative head in Pylkkänen’s terms, but that a term such as
“phase-selecting” needs further justification; I introduce Chomsky’s Phase Theory
framework (ie., Chomsky 2000, 2001) that will be relevant in this chapter; in Section 3, I
use English causativized passives and VP ellipsis as evidence of the phasal status of
English productive vCAUSE; in Section 4, I examine the syntax of passive causatives in
English; I introduce Pesetsky & Torrego’s (2001, 2004a,b, 2006) framework using
Agree and I argue that the appearance of to in these structures is the consequence of
agreement relations established within the clause; Section 5 is the conclusion.
2. English productive causatives: make
2.1. English vCAUSE has different flavors
Languages tend to exhibit both lexical and productive causatives. Pylkkänen’s model
contrasts causatives in different languages whereby the major distinction is made in terms
of the different material embedded under vCAUSE (as well as whether the causative head
appears bundled up with Voice or whether it appears by itself). As discussed in the
previous chapters, I do assume the idea that the behavior of vCAUSE in a particular syntactic
configuration is the consequence of its different selectional (and perhaps also Voicebundling) properties.
A contrast involving different kinds of vCAUSE heads also occurs within languages.
This is the basic distinction between (what we traditionally know as) lexical causatives
and their productive counterparts. Thus, within one same language, productive causatives
are different from their lexical counterparts regarding the nature of the material allowed
under vCAUSE. English, of course, is not an exception. For instance, take the contrast
between the lexical causativization of English unergatives in (1a) and its productive
counterpart in (1b).
(1) Causativization of English unergative ‘cry’
a. lexical
*Heidi Ø [cried Art]
b. productive
Heidi made [Art cry]
The grammaticality contrast between the lexical causative of cry in (1a) and its
productive counterpart in (1b) suggests variation in the properties of the vCAUSE involved
in each causative type. Morphologically, the causative head involved in the lexical
causative in (1a) has zero realization. In contrast, the English productive causative head
in (1b) is overtly realized by made. Syntactically, lexical vCAUSE disallows embedded
agents, Art (1a), as seen in the previous sections. Its productive counterpart allows this
argument type to be part of the embedded structure (1b).
Traditionally, productive causatives have been treated as bi-eventive (ie., Shibatani
(1973) and subsequent work). Two events form this causative type, the causing event,
headed by make, and the caused event, headed by the embedded verb cry (1b). Embedded
agents of productive causatives (ie., Art (1b)) are known as Causees. They are interpreted
as agents of the caused event headed by cry, but they are affected arguments of the
Causing event headed by made.
In contrast, lexical causatives have been traditionally treated as mono-eventive
(i.e., both the causativizing head vCAUSE and the verbal root participate in one single
event). In terms of Pylkkänen, the English lexical causative in (1a) is Root-selecting, as
seen in the previous chapters. Recall from Chapter 2 that Pylkkänen terms the type of
causative head that embeds something bigger than vP phase-selecting vCAUSE, i.e., VoiceP.
Next I discuss what phase means within Pylkkänen’s framework.
2.2. English make is phase-selecting
Structures involving make not only allow an embedded subject (ie., Causee), but they
require it, as the ungrammaticality of (2) indicates.
(2) *Mary made run
(intended: Mary made sb. run)
I explicitly stated that causatives with make require an embedded subject as opposed to
an embedded external argument because the embedded Causee doesn’t have to be an
agent. It may instead be an unaccusative subject, a passive subject, or the subject of a
small clause in a state (3).
(3) a. Unaccusative
The earthquake [made the buildings collapse]
b. Passive
That dress made [her be taken for her sister]
c. State
I made her [be {happy / with you / the person she is today}]
None of the Causees in (3) (ie., the buildings (3a), him (3b) and her (3c)) are agentive
external arguments, yet they are licensed as embedded subjects of make. Because make
does embed external arguments (ie., 1a), constructions involving this causative head
should be considered phase-selecting, according to Pylkkänen’s diagnostics. In this
section, I review these diagnostics, but first I briefly discuss what ‘makes’ a phase and
what Pylkkänen means by ‘phase’.
2.2.1. What is phase for Pylkkänen
Pylkkänen (2002, 2008) considers a phase a syntactic unit that contains an external
argument, since she terms the type of causative head that embeds external arguments
Phase-selecting vCAUSE, as opposed to causative heads that disallow external arguments
within their embedded domain (ie., root-selecting and verb-selecting causatives). Since
she also assumes that VoiceP is the light verb that introduces external arguments in the
syntax, I take this to be an indication that this author considers VoiceP to be a phase. The
concept of phase comes from recent work by Chomsky (2000, 2001, and subsequent
work). Next I discuss some of the properties of phases.
2.2.2. On phases
According to Legate (2003), a phase is ‘a self-contained subsection of the (syntactic)
derivation, beginning with a numeration and ending with Spell-Out; at the point of Spell-
Out, the complement of the phase-defining head is sent to each of the PF and LF
components for interpretation (p. 506)’. That is, within a syntactic derivation, a phase is
an independent syntactic unit that has fulfilled all that is required for its correct
interpretation at the two (ie., interpretive and phonological) components.
In his original (2000, 2001) work, Chomsky hypothesizes that CPs and agentive
vPs are phases, but non-agentive (unaccusative and passive) vPs are not. For him, vP is a
phase only if it also contains an external argument (ie., transitive and unergative vP).
That is, according to Chomsky’s framework, only phasal vPs are responsible for the
introduction and the thematic licensing of external arguments in its specifier position, as
shown in (4).
(4) Chomsky’s vP phase
In Chomsky’s framework, transitive (and unergative) v (4) constitutes a phase. The DP it
introduces in its specifier position is at the ‘edge’ of the phase and can be accessed by
higher elements, such as T, for EPP reasons as well as feature-checking purposes (e.g.,
case assignment). Other vP types that lack an external argument (ie., passive and
unaccusative vPs) are categorized as defective (v) and are claimed by Chomsky to not
constitute a phase (5).
(5) Chomsky’s unaccusative and passive v
The only arguments of defective v are base generated as complements of V rather than as
specifiers of vP. Because defective v is not a phase, the complements of vP can still be
accessed by T for EPP reasons, as well as agreement purposes.
There is a problem, however, with the identification of the possible complements of
make with a phase under this view. This is so since some structures (ie., unaccusatives
and passives) have been long argued to lack an external argument (ie., Burzio (1986))
and, as seen in (3), make embeds, besides complements containing external arguments
(ie., (1)), complements containing derived subjects that have not been base-generated as
external arguments. In the next sections I show that this is not necessarily a problem if we
assume that VoiceP, rather than vP, is a phase head.
2.2.3. VoiceP as a phase: introductory ideas
As just seen, because unaccusatives and passives do not contain external arguments,
Chomsky (2000, 2001) proposes two different verbal heads, (strong) v and defective
(weak) v. As just discussed, only the former is said to be a phase head.
Legate (2003) argues that, in addition to vPs involving external arguments,
unaccusative and passive vPs, too, are phases. She shows a parallel behavior between
transitives and passives/unaccusatives regarding reconstruction effects, quantifier raising
in antecedent-contained deletion, parasitic gaps, and nuclear stress, which suggests that
passives and unaccusatives must involve phases given that, like in transitives, there is
evidence of the movement of their arguments to the Phase Edge.
For instance, Merchant (2000) noticed that for negative polarity items (ie., anyone)
to be licensed in constructions involving antecedent-contained deletion, there must be
raising of the DP containing the negative polarity item to a position no higher than
negation. This position is identified as the phase edge. Legate notices that the same
behavior is exhibited by transitives (6a) and passives / unaccusatives (6b), which suggests
that they, too, must be phases (6).77,78
(6) a. transitive
Mary didn’t [VP1 introduce John to [DP anyone you did [VP2 e]]]
b. passive
Mary wasn’t [VP1 introduced to [DP anyone you were [VP2 e]]]
c. unaccusative
The road didn’t [VP1 go by [DP any of the scenic spots you expected it to [VP2 e]]]
Pylkkänen’s framework, as discussed in chapter 2, assumes two types of light
verbs as involved in agentive events. For her, VoiceP is the external-argumentintroducing functional head and a separate functional vP head introduces events. In
The notation [e] represents the deletion site (ie., ellipsis).
I will argue, in section 4, that because they provide a landing site for derived subjects of causatives with
passive complements, passive VoiceP are phases, but I will show evidence from ellipsis indicating that they
are weak phases that cannot be sent to Spell-Out until the CP phase is complete.
frameworks assuming this idea, vP introduces events only, while it is VoiceP that
introduces the external argument (e.g., Embick (1997), Alexiadou et al. (2006), Harley
(2007), Alexiadou & Schäfer (2008)). In these models, vP does not typically have an
element in its specifier position; VoiceP does. If VoiceP is a phase, the DP introduced in
the specifier position of this projection could be said to be at the edge of the VoiceP
phase, being accessible by higher elements (ie., T) for EPP as well as agreement purposes
(7) VoiceP is a phase
Phase edge
Evidence from both VP ellipsis and passives will be offered in section 3 as support of the
proposal that VoiceP is a phase. Theoretically, under this view, Chomsky’s distinction
between an unaccusative/passive defective v and a transitive/unergative v is dependent on
the nature (or, perhaps, also the presence) of VoiceP, based on the kind of elements it can
introduce (eg., agentive VoiceP vs non-agentive VoiceP).79
Under this view, structures with no external argument (ie., unaccusatives and
passives) are no longer explained by postulating a defective v. In here, different types of
See, for instance, Alexiadou et. al (2005) for proposals positing different kinds of VoiceP.
v denote different event types (ie., Harley (1995), Folli & Harley (2004)), and whether a
v introduces an external argument or not is not sufficient to identify the kind of event
denoted by a vP (eg., vCAUSE and vDO both introduce external arguments, but just the
former is causative). Here, the strong v / weak v phase distinction in (Chomsky 2000,
2001) is understood in terms of either (i) the presence versus the absence of VoiceP (in
views that assume that the absence of the external argument is linked with the presence of
VoiceP, ie., Pylkkänen 2002, 2008) or (ii) the type of VoiceP involved in different
structures (ie., Alexiadou et al. (2005)). I will take this latter view, as I will assume (with
Collins (2005)) that at least passives, for instance, do contain VoiceP.
So although make selects complements with derived subjects that are not basegenerated as external arguments, I will assume that (i) the complement of make always
contains VoiceP although VoiceP does not always introduce an external argument.
Besides introducing an external argument, VoiceP may also (i) not project an argumentintroducing specifier position (unaccusatives) or (ii) contain a null element in its specifier
position (ie., passives). Since VoiceP will be assumed to be a phase, it will still project an
element at its edge.
In order to explain the case of passives and unaccusatives, I will use work by
Pesetsky & Torrego (2001, and subsequent work) to argue that Voiceº has an
uninterpretable Tense (uT) feature that is valued by some instance of interpretable Tense
(iT). As a phase head, Voiceº also carries an EPP feature. The EPP feature on Voiceº has
the consequence that its specifier position is always filled, either by an external argument
or, in the absence of an external argument, by a theme that is attracted to this position
from a lower projection. I will propose that the uT in Voiceº is valued, by default, by the
iT on matrix T, so the Voice phase does not become saturated until it is merged with Tº.
The relation between Voice and T in terms of feature valuation has a morphological
impact in English that becomes particularly obvious in the interaction between causation
and passivization. This Agree system will be discussed in section 4.
The status of VoiceP as a phase will be discussed in section 3. For now, let us
remember that, for Pylkkänen (2002, 2008), a phase-selecting causative is a type of
vCAUSE that embeds syntactic material containing external arguments and, consequently,
VoiceP. Next I show that English make meets her diagnostics for phase-selecting
2.3. Diagnostics
English causatives with make meet the Phase-selecting diagnostics set by Pylkännen (8).
(8) Pylkkänen’s diagnostics for Phase-selecting causatives
a. VP modification of caused event is possible
b. Verbal morphology is possible between the Root and vCAUSE
c. Agent oriented modification of caused event is possible
d. High applicative morphology is possible between the Root and vCAUSE
e. Causatives based on unergatives and transitives are possible
A sixth property is included within the Phase-selecting category. It has to do with the
ability of this vCAUSE type to form unaccusative causatives. These are only possible if the
causative head is also non-Voice-bundling (ie. Japanese). I will discuss these diagnostics
one at a time.
2.3.1. Internal VP modification
Internal VP modification is allowed in Phase-selecting causatives. This is so since their
bi-clausal structure makes available two possible attachment sites for a VP modifier, as
(9) shows.
(9) VP modifier attachment sites
possible attachment site for VP modifier
possible attachment site for VP mod
Adapted from Pylkkänen (2008:102[46])
The structure in (9) represents the syntax of Phase-selecting vCAUSE. Since the structure
embedded by vCAUSE contains a second vP, two attachment sites are available for VP
modifiers. English causatives with make conform to this pattern. This is shown by the
fact that the adverbial in his room causes an ambiguous interpretation in the following
(10) I made John cry in his room
a. John and I were in his room and I made him cry (high attachment)
b. I made John cry and he did it in his room (low attachment)
The ambiguity of (10) suggests the existence of two attachment sites in the syntax of the
English productive causative. The interpretation in (10a) suggests that the adverbial in
his room takes scope over the event introduced by the causative head vCAUSE. The
interpretation in (10b), in contrast, suggests that the adverbial does not take scope over
the causing event, but it is base generated within the caused event, attached to the lower
vP. Productive causatives with make in English consist then of at least two vPs.
2.3.2. Verbal morphology between the root and vCAUSE
A second test to show the bi-eventive nature of causatives is the presence of morphology
intervening between the matrix and the embedded vPs. In English, it is possible to find
intervening verbal material between the causing and the caused event, although this is
perhaps limited to the passive be (8a). We know, however, that make embeds structures
containing vPs because when the root is elided, the auxiliary do appears instead (11b).
(11) a. Passive
John made him be called back
b. Do
I went to the party because you made me do so! (ie., go to the party)
The sentences in (11) show that the causative make allows non-root verbal material in its
embedded domain. The example in (11a), for instance, shows that a passivized root is
allowed as the complement of make. For this to be possible, a structure containing both a
vP and VoiceP is necessary in the embedded domain. This is so since a non-active Voice
is necessary in passive environments.
(12) Passives embedded by vCAUSE (Interim analysis)
be + -en
The diagram in (12) shows that passives within productive causatives are not only
evidence that make embeds a verbalized root. They are also proof that the structure
embedded by make contains VoiceP, whose passive nature is responsible for the absence
of an external argument in its specifier position. I will revise this analysis when
discussing passives of causatives in section 3.
For now, it suffices to say that the fact that make embeds passive sentences shows
that the structure embedded by this causative head must contain both VoiceP and vP,
making it Phase-selecting in Pylkkänen’s terms.
2.3.3. Agentive modification is possible under make
This third diagnostic contributes further evidence on the presence of VoiceP under make.
Pylkkänen shows that agentive modification is only possible in Phase-selecting
causatives, but not in verb-selecting causatives. She shows that languages exhibiting
verb-selecting causatives allow ambiguous interpretations only with verbal modification,
but not with agentive modification. Phase-selecting causatives, in contrast, do allow
agent-oriented verbal modifiers. For instance, Pylkkänen shows evidence from Bemba
(verb-selecting) causatives to show that this causative type does allow verbal
modification as long as it is non agent-oriented.
(13) Bemba verb-selecting causatives
a. Verbal modification (non-agentive) b. Verbal modification (agentive)
Naa-butwiish-ya Mwape ulubilo
Naa-butwiish-ya umuana ukwiitemenwa
1sg.past-run-cause Mwape fast
1sg.past-run-cause boy willingly
i. ‘I made Mwape run quickly’
i. *I made the boy run willingly
ii. *I quickly made Mwape run’
ii. I willingly made the boy run
Pylkkänen (2008: 115[78, 80])
The sentence in (13a) shows how a non-agentive verbal modifier ulubilo ‘fast’ can
modify the caused event (ie., ‘run quickly’)80. The sentence in (13b) is presented as
evidence that the Bemba causative is verb-selecting but not phase-selecting (ie., it does
not contain an external argument in its embedded domain), as the agent-oriented verbal
modifier ukwiitemenwa ‘willingly’ cannot take scope over the caused event to the
exclusion of the causing event.
The English productive causative make is a phase-selecting head. This is shown in
(14) where the agent-oriented modifier on purpose allows ambiguous scope.
(14) Verbal modification (agentive)
I made John cry on purpose
a. I, on purpose, made John cry (high attachment)
b. I made him [cry on purpose] (low attachment)
It is not clear, however, why it is not possible for this verbal modifier to trigger ambiguous scope (ie., to
also modify the causing event). Pylkkänen does not address this restriction.
Once again, the presence of an external argument as part of the structure embedded by
make has been proven.
2.3.4. High applicative morphology is allowed between vCAUSE and the root
This is a further property of phase-selecting causatives as proposed by Pylkkänen. Some
languages (ie., Luganda) allow overt applicative heads to intervene between vCAUSE and
the root.
(15) Luganda phase-selecting causatives (from Pylkkänen (2008: 118 [89d-f, 91])
a. Root
b. Stative/Applicative
i. Stative
ii. Applicative
‘be visible, appear’
‘walk for’
‘make walk’
d. Stative/App +
‘make visible’
‘make walk for’
The examples in (15) show how vCAUSE in Luganda necessarily embeds a structure that
not only contains a second vP, as it embeds a root that already contains stative
morphology (15d, i). This causativizing head also embeds an external argument (Voice).
According to Pylkkänen, applicatives that appear with unergative roots (ie., tambula
‘walk’) are high applicatives. Since high applicatives (-i- in (15d, ii)) are only possible if
external arguments are present, vCAUSE in Luganda must be a Phase-selecting type. The
structure of this type of vCAUSE is shown in (16).
(16) Phase selecting vCAUSE
Pylkkänen (2008: 105[53b])
In (16) the complement of vCAUSE contains the phrase theta-ExtP that licenses an embedded
external argument. I assume the terminology theta-ExtP is the equivalent of VoiceP. High
applicatives are a good diagnostic for the existence of Voice, as they appear between
Voice and vP, as in (17).
(17) High applicatives
Maria Santos-ta bwan-ria
Maria Santos-acc cry-appl
‘Maria is crying for Santos’
The diagram in (17) illustrates the syntactic position of the high applicative in Hiaki, by
using the structure proposed in Pylkkänen (2002, 2008). As the structure shows, the high
applicative has scope over the whole event introduced by vP, by occupying a syntactic
position higher than vP. The argument position of the external argument, Maria, with
respect to the applied argument Santos-ta ‘Santos’, shows that the projection that
introduces the external argument, VoiceP, is hierarchically higher than the applicative
phrase, ApplP.
Back to causatives, only the Phase selecting type allows high applicatives,
because they need to be embedded by an external argument, so the presence of
applicative morphology under vCAUSE is evidence that this causative head allows VoiceP
in its embedded domain. Unfortunately, English just exhibits a low applicative (ie., John
made him dinner) so this diagnostic cannot be tested in this language.81
2.3.5. Causatives of unergatives and transitives are possible
Because phase-selecting causatives contain an external argument, unergative and
transitive roots are allowed under vCAUSE of this type. English make passes this test, as it
allows both unergatives and transitives as complements (18). This is contrasted with their
lexical counterparts (19).
(18) Phase (productive) causatives
a. unergative
I made John cry
b. transitive
I made Mary eat chocolate
(19) Root (lexical) causatives
a. unergative
*I cried John
b. transitive
*I ate Mary chocolate (ie., I made Mary eat chocolate)
Recall that both unergatives and transitives require an external argument associated with
them. The contrast between (18) and (19) is explained if we assume that this causative
head embeds the external-argument-introducing head Voice (20).
See Pylkkänen (2002, 2008) for detailed discussion on the syntax of English applicatives.
(20) transitives under ‘make’
Because VoiceP is present under make, the external argument associated with the
embedded event Mary can be syntactically licensed. The fact that the sentences in (18)
are grammatical is an indication that make is a phase-selecting causative.
This is contrasted with ‘lexical’ causatives (19) that are Root-selecting (as
discussed in chapter 3). Because of this, they do not contain external arguments under
vCAUSE and consequently disallow unergatives and transitives in their embedded domain.
2.3.6. Unaccusative causatives
Pylkkänen argues that languages/structures that form unaccusative causatives are
indication of a non-voice-bundling vCAUSE type (as seen in chapters 2 and 3). For instance,
the Finnish lexical causative –tta is of this type. It can form sentences like (21) containing
the causative head in the absence of an external argument.
(21) Maija-a laula-tta-a
Maija-part sing-cause-3sg
‘Maija feels like singing’
Pylkkänen (2008: 95[32a])
Because the external argument is missing in (21), the structure receives a desiderative
interpretation (ie., ‘something causes on Maija the desire to sing’).82 Pylkkänen claims
that structures such as (21) are possible thanks to the split between the head that
introduces a causative event, vCAUSE, and the functional head that introduces external
arguments, Voice. According to her, sentences such as (21) illustrate a configuration
whereby vCAUSE is present in the absence of Voice.
It is not clear whether English make is Voice-bundling or not. It is clear that
English disallows sentences with make that do not involve an external argument. The
ungrammaticality of (22) shows this, since the interpretation of the following sentences
always requires that make takes an external argument (either agentive or non-agentive).83
(22) unaccusative ‘make’
a. *It made Mary dance
b. *Mary made (to) dance (ie., Mary was caused to dance)
(intended ‘eg. something unknown made Mary dance’)
The sentences in (22) are ungrammatical if it is intended as an expletive. It looks like
English make requires the obligatory presence of a referential causer argument. That is,
English causatives in general are not unaccusative. This makes English vCAUSE a Voice-
For further discussion on this issue, see chapters 2 and 6.
I use an expletive (ie., it) in (22a) because English would require it in the context of an externalargument-less verb (ie., It rained yesterday). In other languages such as Spanish, the presence of an overt
expletive is not required in external-argument-less structures (ie., Llovió ayer ‘lit. rained(3sg) yesterday, it
rained yesterday’. We will see in chapter 6 that unaccusative causatives are possible with Spanish hacer
‘make’ and this type does not require an expletive (ie., Me hace cantar ‘1sg(dat) make(3sg) sing, I feel like
singing’. See chapter 6 for further details on this construction.
bundling type, in general, in Pylkkänen’s terms. I will, however, ignore this distinction as
it is not relevant during the remaining of the chapter.
The main contrast exhibited between the different causative heads (ie., the lexical
(root-selecting) vCAUSE discussed in chapter 3 vs. the productive (phase-selecting) vCAUSE
discussed in this chapter) is based on their differing selectional properties. For this
reason, this chapter will solely concentrate on this aspect of the syntax of make.
2.4. Summary
The subsections above discuss the properties of English productive causative make in
terms of Pylkkänen’s predictions. The diagnostics applied to this head show that this
causative head:
Allows ambiguous scope for verbal modification
Allows verbal auxiliaries between make and the root
Allows ambiguous scope for agent-oriented verbal modification
Allows both unergatives and transitives in its embedded domain
Does not form unaccusative causatives
This behavior suggests that make is Phase selecting (and Voice-bundling), according to
Pylkkänen’s classification. Because this causative head embeds a structure that allows an
external argument, introduced by an embedded VoiceP, Pylkkänen (2002, 2008)
associates VoiceP with the presence of external arguments in the structure. In the next
section I discuss cases that suggest that, if make is phase-selecting because it contains
VoiceP, then VoiceP must also be present with non-external arguments.
3. VoiceP is a phase
In the previous section I have argued that make selects structures containing VoiceP,
which makes it a phase-selecting causative head under Pylkkänen’s classification. This
conclusion automatically makes the assumption that VoiceP is a phase. In this section I
show arguments from passives and VP ellipsis in support of this hypothesis.
3.1. Passives contain VoiceP
In this section I argue that passives do contain VoiceP, and hence constitute a phase.84
Some languages, such as Hiaki, exhibit overt passive morphology in addition to verbal
(eg, transitivizing) morphology (24).
(23) Hiaki transitivizing suffix –ta plus passive suffix –wa
U kari vee-ta-wa-k
det house burn-trans-pass-perf
‘The house was burned’
Jelinek (1997: 182[10])
The co-occurrence of both a verbalizing suffix (-ta) with a passive suffix (-wa) is
morphological evidence for the existence of a VoiceP projection, different than vP, in
passive constructions.
Collins (2005) also notices this pattern in Kishwahili, and reaches similar
conclusions. He proposes a structure whereby the English passive contains a VoiceP
projection, to which all the passive-related elements are raised (with the exception of
auxiliary be). I show Collins’s analysis for both ‘short passives’ (ie., passives lacking a
In section 4 I will provide further support for this claim with evidence from passive complements of
by phrase) and ‘long passives’ (ie., passives containing a by phrase) in (24).
(24) a. Collins’s (2005) analysis of short passives
The book
‘The book was written’
Collins (2005:102[46])
b. Collins’s analysis of passives with overt by phrase
‘The book was written by John’
The book
The structures in (24) show the existence of VoiceP in passives, as proposed by Collins.
The VoiceP projection is responsible for the passive interpretation of the sentence, as
well as for the landing site of passive-related elements in its specifier position. We saw in
(23) that morphological evidence in numerous languages supports both the existence and
position of VoiceP in passives, as a result of which I do assume the presence of VoiceP in
passives (and also by extension in actives) in this dissertation. I will not assume that
either the PartP or the √P embedded by passive VoiceP are raised to [Spec, VoiceP] as
Collins proposes. Neither will I assume that by is the phonological realization of Voiceº
in passives that contain a by phrase. I will explain some of the reasons next.
The motivation in Collins for the movement of the whole PartP to [Spec, VoiceP]
in (24a) comes from word order facts. He proposes that this analysis prevents the by
phrase from intervening between the auxiliary be and the past participle, as in (25).
(25) *The book was by John written
Collins (2005: 85[9a])
Collins argues that sentences such as (25) are impossible if PartP is raised to [Spec,
VoiceP]. A priori, however, this argument is unsatisfactory. This is so since, as Heidi
Harley (p.c.) points out, in the case of sentences containing a VP adverbial such as The
book was quickly written or Books were often written, these adverbials would need to be
posited as contained within PartP in order to account for the fact that they precede (rather
than follow) the participle, because the participle, according to Collins, has been raised to
[Spec, VoiceP]. The problem is that there is no real motivation to posit this low structural
position for these adverbials (particularly often).85
In the analysis he proposes for passives with an overt by phrase (24b), by occupies
the Voiceº position, whereas the DP that goes with it occupies the specifier position of
the vP embedded by Voice, as in (26). This cannot be the case, however, because this
The word order of passive complements of make provide further arguments against the raising of PartP
to [Spec, VoiceP]. I will discuss these constructions in section 4.
analysis proposes that the by phrase is not analyzed as a constituent (ie., by and its DP
form part of different projections). If the preposition by and its complement do not form a
constituent, then the structure proposed by Collins would allow modifiers of vP to
intervene between Voice by and the vP it embeds. But this is contrary to fact (26).
(26) *The book was read by quickly Mary
Finally, in structures containing negativity polarity items, a by phrase needs to precede a
goal phrase, as also discussed by Collins himself.
(27) a. *The book was given to any student by no professor
b. The book was given by no professor to any student
Collins (2005: 86[10a, 10c])
The problem with the sentences above is that there seems to be no position in (24b) in
which the goal phrase to any student would be merged that derives the word order facts in
(27). That is, the standard analysis for goal phrases (Larson (1988)) is the following:
A book
The structure in (28) shows that goal phrases are base generated within a goal PP, as
complements of the root, along with the theme DP. In (24b), the goal phrase would have
need to be moved to [Spec, VoiceP], as part of the PartP. This contradicts the word order
facts in (27): the goal phrase necessarily follows the by phrase. The negative polarity
relations in English cannot be covert (ie., created before movement occurs). Otherwise
either sentence in (27) would be grammatical, contrary to fact.
In sum, an analysis in which the PartP stays in situ more conveniently accounts for
the facts above. Consequently, I will not assume all the details in Collins’s analysis. I will
assume, as stated above, that passive (as well as active) sentences involve the presence of
a (passive) VoiceP projection. Next I will show arguments based on VP ellipsis data that
suggests that (i) VoiceP is present as a functional projection in all sentences (passive and
active), and (ii) VoiceP is a phase.
3.2. VoiceP is contained in active sentences: evidence from ellipsis
Baltin (2007), Merchant (2007) and Aelbrecht (2010) offer evidence from VP ellipsis in
favor of the arguments that VoiceP is also present in active sentences, and that VoiceP is
a phase. Merchant (2007) shows that VoiceP exists in active as well as passive sentences.
He notices the following elliptical situations:
(29) VP ellipsis
a. The janitor must remove the trash whenever it is apparent that it should be [removed].
b. The system can be used by anyone who wants to [use it].
Merchant (2007: 3[1a, 2a])
In the sentences in (29) passive elided material (ie, [removed], (30a)) may have an active
antecedent (ie., must remove) and vice versa, active elided material (ie., [use it], (29b))
may have passive antecedents (ie, can be used). Merchant shows that the voice
mismatches in (29) are possible only in structures in which VoiceP is not included in the
target of ellipsis. In other structures in which VoiceP is targeted too (pseudogapping
(30a), sluicing (30b)), voice mismatches are not allowed.
(30) a. *Paul denied the charge, but the charge wasn’t by his friends
Sag (1976), as cited in Merchant (2007:4[3])
b. *Joe was murdered, but we don’t know who
Merchant (2007:5[5a])
The diagram in (31) shows Merchant’s analysis of a sentence exhibiting a voice
mismatch in VP ellipsis.86
(31) a.
‘I have implemented it with a manager…
‘… but it doesn’t have to be’
Merchant (2007:17-18[22])
[E] is the notation used in Merchant (2007) for ‘ellipsis’
it(t) 2
Both clauses in (31) contain VoiceP. In (31a) Voiceº is [active], and in (31b) Voiceº is
[passive]. In (31b), everything under Voiceº appears elided (<vP[E]>). This is, according
to Merchant, what explains mismatches in VP ellipsis: because Voiceº hasn’t been
targeted by ellipsis, voice mismatches are possible.
Merchant explains the contrast in (30) in these same terms. For him, there is a
crucial difference between cases of VP ellipsis (31) and other cases of ellipsis (e.g.,
pseudogapping and sluicing). In the latter cases, voice mismatches are not possible
precisely because ellipsis targets VoiceP. I show the structure in (32).
(32) *Roses were brought by some but others did lilies
‘… but others did lilies’
Merchant (2007:25[30c])
Because VoiceP is elided in pseudogapping, voice mismatches are not allowed in this
type of ellipsis, despite the presence of the passive auxiliary. This is, as the diagram
indicates, due to the fact that mismatches are allowed only when VoiceP (and the
syntactic/semantic features it involves) are structurally present. The contrast between
cases of VP ellipsis and pseudogapping / sluicing supports an analysis in which VoiceP is
involved in the structure of passive (as well as active) sentences.
Baltin (2007) and Aelbrecht (2010) further claim that VoiceP is in fact a phase.
Baltin makes a parallel between C and T, on the one hand, and Voice and v, on the other
hand. For him, C is the clause peripheral phase that selects different kinds of T depending
on its nature (ie., that C selects a finite T whereas for C selects non-finite T, p. 22).
Conversely, Voice is the clause internal phase and may select different kinds of v heads
depending on its nature: active Voice selects do (v) whereas unspecified Voice selects a
null v (p. 22). This reasoning is consistent with an analysis in which passive Voice selects
be as its v head.87 This parallel can be further seen in that both TP and vP are structural
case licensers (nominative and accusative respectively) whereas CP and VoiceP are not.
Furthermore, VoiceP (like CP) carries EPP features that attract DPs to its edge.88
Aelbrecht (2010) uses evidence from English VP ellipsis to argue that VoiceP is a
phase and that English nominals (e.g., derived subjects), too, are attracted by Voiceº to
its specifier position, probably because of an EPP feature on this head. According to him,
these nominals are ‘all constituents that still need to undergo syntactic operations (p.
176)’. In this sense then, Voiceº, like interrogative Cº, has an EPP feature.
He assumes that English VP ellipsis is only allowed by a T head that contains some
auxiliary, modal (or is realized by to). He shows that ellipsis happens whenever the
Notice that this cannot be captured in analyses of passives like Collins’s (also Merchant), in which be
appears in a position outside of Voice.
See Rackowski (2002) and Rackowski & Richards (2005) for arguments along these lines in order to
explain a case of nominal ‘shift’ in Tagalog. For these authors, too, VoiceP is a phase with an EPP feature
that attracts relevant nominals to its edge. For data and analysis see the aforementioned authors.
licenser (ie., T) is merged. This means that if ellipsis occurs, it will be triggered by T
before it establishes its agreement relations with DPs. In the following sentences a
derived subject, these pants, can be extracted from the VP where it was base-generated
prior to the VP ellipsis. According to Aelbrecht, this is proof that the DP has occupied
[Spec, VoiceP] (the edge of the VoiceP phase), prior to establishing an agreement
relation with (and having been attracted to) Tense.
(33) This shirt has been washed but these pants should be tthese pants <washed tthese pants> too.
Adapted from Aelbrecht (2010: 177[43c]
In sum, Baltin (2007) and Aelbrecht (2010) coincide in identifying VoiceP (rather than
vP) with the clause-internal phase, and in affirming that as a phase, the Voiceº head
contains an EPP feature that triggers movement of nominals to the phase edge.
I will adopt this view here. That is, I will assume that VoiceP is the clause-internal
phase and that English make, as a phase-selecting causative head, selects VoiceP (as
opposed to vP, TP or CP) as its complement. But before assuming that make selects
VoiceP, it is necessary to show that it does not select TP. I present arguments against this
latter option next.
3.3. The complement of make is not TP
Numerous authors working with causatives in Romance languages (ie., Folli & Harley
(2003), Gonçalves (2001), Guasti (1993, 1997), Treviño (1994), Rosen (1990), Zagona
(1982)) show that the complement of make does not contain a T(ense) projection. Guasti
(1993), for instance, shows that the complement of Italian fare ‘make’ cannot embed a
tenseless structure, as it disallows negation (35a), perfective avere ‘have’ (35b), and
Tense adverbs, oggi ‘today’ (34c).
(34) a. negation
?*Ciò ha fatto non parlare (più) Maria
That has made not speak (anymore) Mary
‘That made Maria not speak anymore’
Guasti (1993: 37[39])
b. Perfective
*Marco fara aver pulito le toilette al generale
Marco make(fut) have cleaned the toilet to.the general
‘Marco will make the general have cleaned the toilet’
Guasti (1993: 39[53])
c. TP adverbs
#Ieri Marco ha fatto pulire le toilette al generale oggi
Yesterday Marco has made cleaned the toilet to.the general today
‘Yesterday Marco made the general clean the toilet today’
Guasti (1993: 40[55])
The Italian examples in (34) show the impossibility of finding negation (34a), perfective
have (34b), and TP adverbs (34c) in the complement of fare ‘make’. She interprets these
facts as evidence that the Italian causative simply disallows a TP complement. The
general proposal made by Guasti is that the Italian causative head fare ‘make’ takes a
bare VP as a complement, forming a complex predicate.
English make is different from Italian fare in some respects. For instance, in
structures involving make the causee precedes the embedded verb, but this is disallowed
in Italian (35).
(35) Position of the causee
a. English: preceding the embedded verb
Helen makes John work hard
b. Italian: cannot precede the embedded verb
*Elena fa Gianni lavorare
‘Elena makes Gianni work’ (cf. Elena fa lavorare Gianni)
Guasti (1997: 125[6])
Nonetheless, English make behaves exactly like Italian fare regarding the parameters
considered in (36).
(36) The complement of ‘make’ is tenseless in English
a. Negation
*I made John not read the paper
b. Perfective ‘have’
*I’ll make my child have cleaned the house by Wednesday
c. TP adverbs
#Today I’ll make my child clean the house tomorrow
In (36), English make disallows a negated complement (36a), a complement containing
perfective have (36b) and a complement licensing the TP adverb today (36c). This
suggests that, like Italian fare, English make disallows a TP complement.89 Because of
the diagnostics seen in section 2 (ie., the complement of make includes external
arguments), make selects VoiceP, which is the external-argument introducing head, as
seen throughout this dissertation. In the next subsection, I show an asymmetry between
Heidi Harley (p.c.) reports that some speakers of English allow negated complements of make (ie., I
made John not read the paper (36b)). Negated complements of make are generally allowed in Spanish, too,
as Treviño (1994) notices. As I will argue in chapter 6, Spanish complements of hacer ‘make’ are also
VoiceP rather than TP. The fact that they allow negated complements does not necessarily mean that the
complement of hacer is TP, as it is possible to find constituent negation as well, as shown in (i), where the
negation can be interpreted as embedding the vP to the exclusion of the CP where the auxiliary did appears.
If this is the case, the sentence will be understood as ‘something was done, which involved (you) failing to
read the paper’. This can be compared with (ii) where negation is sentential and the most available reading
is that in which ‘something wasn’t done, which involved reading a paper’.
Did you [not read the paper]?
Didn’t you read the paper?
For further reading on sentential vs constituent negation see Choi (2004), Kim & Sag (2002), Embick &
Noyer (2001) or Ernst (1992).
active and passive complements of make, which is further evidence that make embeds
VoiceP rather than TP (ie., CP).
3.4. The complement of make is a VoiceP phase
The following sentences (37) show the contrast between active (37a) and passive (37b)
complements of make.
(37) a. My mom made [VoiceP my brother bring me back home from Mexico] (active)
b. My mom made [VoiceP mei be brought ti back home from Mexico]
In both (37a) and (37b), the complement of make involves an accusative causee (her and
me respectively) in initial position. In the case of (37a), the causee her has been basegenerated in the [Spec, VoiceP] position, as an external argument. I just showed that the
complement of make is not TP. Assuming that it is VoiceP, the causee her, in (37a) stays
in its base-generated position. In the case of (37b), the causee, me, is a derived (passive)
subject. This means that this nominal has been base-generated in a lower position, as a
complement of the root bring. From there, it has been attracted to [Spec, VoiceP]. I show
the structure in (38).
(38) Passives embedded by ‘make’
My mom
If VoiceP is not a phase edge, the landing position of the passive subject me in (38)
cannot be understood, as there is no reason, other than the need to check some [EPP]
feature on the head Voiceº, for this head to host me in its Spec position. As Aelbrecht
(2010) argues, the function of the [EPP] feature on phase heads (ie., Voiceº) is to attract
those elements within its domain that still contain unvalued uninterpretable features.
This is the case of passive subjects (ie., me) as these nominals cannot have their
uninterpretable case [uC] feature valued by passive v, as widely discussed in the literature
(ie., Chomsky 2000 and subsequent work). Then, what happens in (38) is that the
complement of bring (me) cannot have its [uC] feature valued and is attracted to [Spec,
VoiceP]. From this position, it is probed by active made, the head that selects VoiceP as a
complement, and values the [uC] feature on the nominal in an ECM configuration, as
seen in the diagram.
Given these facts, I will assume, with Aelbrecht (2010), that VoiceP is a phase that
attracts nominals to its edge so they can have their uninterpretable features valued. Since
this happens even in contexts in which VoiceP is passive, we can assume with Legate
(2003) that even passive VoiceP is a phase.
Now observe the following asymmetry involving ellipsis of the complement of
make. The following sentences exhibit a clear contrast: passive complements of make
disallow VP ellipsis (39a), whereas active complements of make allow it (39b).
(39) a. I didn’t want to buy candy and you made me <buy candy>
b. *I was afraid these guys would see us stealing and your conspicuous outfit
finally made us be <seen stealing>
Notice that ellipsis in the case of passive complements of make is disallowed even in the
absence of Voice mismatches (40).
(40) *Although you were supposed to be fired first, my bad records made me be
<fired first> instead
The contrast between the sentences in (39) and between (39) and (40) cannot be
explained in Merchant’s (2007) terms since, for Merchant, VP ellipsis should be allowed
in English regardless of Voice mismatches between the elided site and its antecedent. I
repeat the example from Merchant (2007) in (41).
(41) The janitor must remove the trash whenever it is apparent that it should be
In causatives with make, ellipsis is only allowed in cases such as (39a), whereby the
complement is active. This includes cases in which Voice mismatches occur, as (42)
(42) ?You say you don’t like being called after 10PM and then you make me
<call you>
The sentences in (41) and (42) prove Merchant’s (2007) point: Voice mismatches are
possible in VP ellipsis because it is vP rather than VoiceP that is elided by this operation.
The sentence in (42) further proves that VP ellipsis in causatives with make is allowed,
even in the context of Voice mismatches. The contrast between (42) and (41a-42) is that
the latter examples exhibit ellipsis of a passive complement of make.
To me, the contrast seems to be due to the fact that, for ellipsis of a passive to take
place, the passive subject needs to be in a position local to the ellipsis licenser, which is
T(ense) for English, as discussed by Aelbrecht (2010). I am not certain what exact
mechanism motivates this restriction, although I will speculate the following. The passive
subject has been thematically licensed as the complement of the elided √P root. It is then
probed by T, the ellipsis licenser, and attracted to its Spec position. At this moment, T
can, by extension, thematically license the ellipsis site, because the presence of the
passive subject in the local domain of T helps identifying the ellipsis site, from where it
was extracted. This is what happens in Merchant’s example in (41).91
I marked the grammaticality of this sentence as uncertain reflecting the mixed results I got from the
native speakers consulted.
For the sake of simplicity, in the following diagrams I ignore (yet I still assume) the double specifier
proposed for passive VoiceP. I also ignore whether other projections besides TP (ie., MoodP) are present in
the structure. I will rather assume that the modal should occupies TP.
… that it should be *<removed> (from (41)
ellipsis is
In (43), the passive subject it is thematically licensed by the root remove and from there it
is raised to [Spec, TP] via the [Spec, VoiceP] landing site. Because the passive subject is
in the domain of the licenser, T, the referent of ellipsis can be identified.
In passive subjects of causatives the passive subject never establishes an agreement
with T, and consequently never reaches the Spec position of the ellipsis licenser, T. Its
final landing site is, instead, [Spec, VoiceP]. From there it is probed by (i.e., agrees with)
To in make, receiving accusative case. As a consequence, the passive subject of passive
complements of make can never serve as a referent of the ellipsis site from the domain of
the licenser, T. For this reason, ellipsis of the passive complement of make is disallowed.
I show the diagram in (44)92.
For reasons of space, I ignore both the PartP and the double specifier projected within passive VoiceP in
the diagram in (44).
… they made us be *<seen> (from (40b)
ellipsis is
not licensed
In (44) ellipsis is not allowed because the passive subject moved out of the ellipsis site
(for structural reasons) never reaches the local domain of the ellipsis licenser, T. Rather,
the derived subject stays within the domain of make, as a result of the agreement relation
established between the two elements. Because of this, the moved DP is no longer active
for Agree with a higher probe such as T.
Meanwhile, they in (44) has been base-generated as an external argument, within
matrix VoiceP. Because of locality reasons (ie., proximity to the probe), they is probed by
T and is attracted to [Spec, TP]. As a result, the passive subject us in (44) never reaches
the immediate domain of the ellipsis licenser, T, and ellipsis is not granted.
The restriction against the ellipsis of passive complements of make is related then
to the fact that traces (or copies) of elements that have been moved from an ellipsis site
have to be within the immediate domain of the ellipsis licenser T. Otherwise, ellipsis is
In the case of active complements of make, ellipsis is granted precisely because no
trace (or copy) of a moved element is left behind in the ellipsis site. I show this in (45).
… you make me *<buy candy> (from (40a)
ellipsis is
<buy candy>
In (45) there is no trace (copy) that needs to be referentially identified outside of the
ellipsis site. This is the reason why ellipsis is granted. The difference between ellipsis of
the active complement of make (45) and ellipsis of a passive (43-44) is that only in the
latter cases the ellipsis site contains a trace. The restriction seen in (44) has to do with the
fact that the trace within the ellipsis site needs to be properly identified by the ellipsis
licensor only (i.e., T), and this is not possible in passive complements of make because
the derived subject that is moved from within the ellipsis site is unable to establish
agreement with T. As a result, its trace cannot be properly identified by the ellipsis
licensor and ellipsis is not granted.
The contrast between the structures in (43-45) then shows further evidence that
make embeds a VoiceP phase, but it does not embed a structure containing TP. If that
were the case, ellipsis of passive complements of make would be granted by the
relationship established between the TP embedded by make and the passive subject,
contrary to fact.
3.5. Summary
In this section I have discussed arguments and evidence that make embeds a phase and
that this phase is VoiceP (rather than CP/TP). Arguments based on passives (Collins
2005) and ellipsis of passives (Merchant 2007) show that VoiceP is involved in the
structure of all kinds of constructions, passive or active. Further evidence of ellipsis
shows that all varieties of VoiceP are phases (Baltin 2007, Aelbrecht 2010). Finally I
have shown evidence that make embeds VoiceP, not CP/TP.
After reviewing arguments (ie., Guasti 1993, 1997) based on evidence such as the
fact that make disallows complements containing perfective auxiliaries, I have shown
further evidence based on ellipsis of passive complements of make that supports the
hypothesis that TP is not present in the complement of make. Having discussed one
aspect of the syntax of passive complements of make I devote one section to discussing
passive causatives with make.
Passive causatives with make
Causative make may be passivized, as in (46).
(46) He was made [to ____ read a book]
When the causative make is passivized (46), a) The theme DP, he, is raised from its base
generated position, the external argument of read to its landing position, the subject of
the passivized causative was made; b) The passive causative was made embeds the
caused event read a book via the preposition/particle to.
What is interesting about these structures is that the preposition/particle to is not
present in active instances of make (47).
(47) I made him (*to) read a book
In this section I present an analysis of the passive make construction and I account for the
presence of to as the result of the agreement relations that are part of the syntactic
architecture of English sentences.
4.1. Passive make
In the previous section I devoted some discussion to the syntax of passives. I will expand
the subject here. Passive constructions were said to contain a passive VoiceP. The
[passive] feature on Voiceº involves the appearance of the auxiliary be as the
phonological realization of vº when it is embedded by VoiceP, as in (48).
(48) [Voiceº [passive] [vP [vº ___ ]]]  be
Within the vP domain, PartP embeds the root √. Given this context, Vocabulary insertion
of the root will spell out the past participle corresponding to the root. I show an example
for the root √SEE in (49).
(49) [PartP -en [√P √SEE ]]  seen
In causatives, the Vocabulary Item make is a functional verb, which is not associated to a
lexical root.
(50) vCAUSE  make
In passive contexts, make is morphologically realized in its past participle form, made, as
in Mary was made to buy candy. Because of this, we need to assume that, in addition to
roots, functional verbs like make have a corresponding past participle form when they are
embedded by PartP, as in (51).
(49) [PartP -en [v(cause) ]]  made
The question is whether functional verbs have a corresponding past participle form or
whether they do not. Folli & Harley (2003, 2007) claim that, at least in the case of Italian,
they do not. They argue that Italian fare ‘make,do’ is the morphological realization of
two different light verbs, vCAUSE (the causative functional verb) and vDO (a lexical root).
The light verbs vCAUSE and vDO form, respectively, each of the two Romance causative
constructions identified by Kayne (1975) as Faire-infinitive (FI) and Faire-par (FP). I
show an example in (50).
(50) a. FI: vCAUSE
Gianni ha fatto riparare la macchina a Mario
John has made repair the car to Mario
‘John made Mario repair the car’
b. FP: vDO
Gianni ha fatto riparare la macchina da Mario
John has made repair the car by Mario
‘John had the car repaired by Mario’
Folli & Harley (2003)
In the FI construction (50a), the functional light verb vCAUSE embeds a structure that
contains an external argument (ie., (a) Mario). This is the corresponding structure to
English make, as discussed throughout this chapter. In the FP construction (50b), in
contrast, the lexical vDO embeds a nominalized VP that does not include an external
argument. This construction is roughly equivalent to English have causatives, as in Mary
had the car sold.
Folli & Harley show that Italian passive causatives are only possible in contexts in
which fare is the Vocabulary Item corresponding to vDO (FP, 50b), but not vCAUSE (FI,
50a). One of the arguments in support of this is the fact that passive fare can only embed
unaccusatives that do not contain an external argument (51a), but it cannot embed
unergatives, because unergatives, containing an external argument, cannot form part of
the nominalized VP embedded by vDO (51b).
(51) a. Marco è stato fatto partire
Marco is been made leave
‘Marco was made to leave’
b. *Marco è stato fatto telefonare (da Gianni)
Marco is been made telephone (by John)
‘John was made to telephone Marco’
Folli & Harley (2003)
Among the sentences in (51), only (51b) can be FI (i.e., vCAUSE). This sentence cannot be
FP because fare embeds an unergative verb telefonare ‘telephone’ and FP does not allow
unergative complements, since they involve external arguments (Marco in (51b)).
Because of this, we can conclude that the FI construction disallows passivization in
Folli & Harley associate this restriction with their distinction between lexical (vDO)
fare and functional (vCAUSE) fare. They claim that Italian passives require a verb in past
participle form (like English passives), but that only lexical verbs (i.e., vDO) have a
corresponding past participle form. FI causatives are then excluded from passive contexts
as they involve the causative functional verb vCAUSE that, according to Folli & Harley,
lacks a corresponding past participle form.
It is not easy to test whether the Italian distinction proposed by Folli & Harley also
applies in the case of English make, as passives of causatives are allowed in this language
regardless of whether the complement of make is unaccusative, unergative, or transitive
(52) John was made to {arrive / telephone Marco / sing at the party / eat cake}.
But the facts in (52) are not conclusive. It might be the case that, in English, passives of
causatives are always realized by lexical make whereas active causatives are always
realized by functional make. This is, at least, what some scholars (e.g., Santorini &
Heycock (1988), discussed in section 4.4.2. below) claim in order to explain the
appearance of to in the complement of passive make only, as seen in the previous section.
The following piece of evidence would indeed support this distinction.
A further characteristic of fare, also identified by Folli & Harley, is the fact that its
subject (ie., Causer) is obligatory a volitional agent if fare is the morphological
realization of vDO. If fare is a functional head (vCAUSE), its subject may also be nonvolitional. This restriction extends to by-phrases in passive causatives, since the entity
named by the by-phrase would correspond to the active subject of fare. I show the
restriction with an example involving Spanish hacer ‘make’.
(53) a. Active
{María / la crisis} hizo perder el trabajo a Juan
{Mary / the crisis} made lose the job to John
‘{Mary / the crisis} made John lose his job’
b. Passive
El edificio fue hecho derribar {por Juan / *por el terremoto}
The building was made demolish {by John / *by the earthquake}
‘{John / *the earthquake} had the building demolished’
Passivized English make does pattern with Romance in this regard. That is, when make is
active, its subject may be volitional or non-volitional. When it is passivized, however, the
by-phrase may only correspond to volitional agents. I show this in (54).
(54) a. Active
{Mary / the crisis} made John move out
b. Passive
John was made to move out {by Mary /*by the crisis}
The contrast in (54) could be offered in support of a syntactic distinction between the
kind of make that forms active causatives (54a) and the kind of make involved in passive
causatives (54b) in English. Nonetheless, further evidence supporting this distinction
would be necessary to reach a conclusion regarding this issue. In the absence of such
evidence I will assume here that the kind of v involved in passive constructions with
make is the same causative light verb vCAUSE discussed so far.
In this section, I will focus on the contrast exhibited by passive causatives in
English that involves the appearance of to in the embedded domain of passive make (as
opposed to its obligatory absence from the complement of active make):
(55) a. I made John (*to) wash the dishes
b. John was made *(to) wash the dishes
My goal in this section is to provide an explanation of the nature of the particle to in
English passive causatives. In particular, my research questions at this point are the
following: Where does to come from? Does it realize any specific function in the syntax
of passive causatives that is not required in the syntax of active causatives? I provide an
explanation in the following subsections.
4.2. A preliminary analysis
The following diagram shows the basic structure of passive causatives with make that I
will assume in this section.
Although the contrast exhibited by the sentences in (54) suggests that further research should be done
about the topic.
‘He was made to read a book’
a book
As discussed above, everything in (56) is reminiscent of the syntax of other passives
except for the fact that the passivized vP is causative make. What is not obvious from the
diagram is the syntactic position of to. Because of its surface position in (55), to must
appear somewhere in the structure embedded by make. What is not clear at this point is
where exactly under make to appears. Another issue that isn’t clear at this point is the
nature of to? Is it a preposition? Is it infinitive to? Is it some a particle of a different kind?
In the next subsections I review some previous proposals that have been made in the past
regarding the nature of to in passives of causatives.
4.3. The nature to in the syntax of passive causatives: previous proposals
The presence of the syntactic object to in passive causatives with make requires an
explanation, as this preposition/particle is banned from their active counterparts. The
general intuition traditionally observed is that there must be some restriction in English
passive causatives that prevents them from directly taking its complement (a VoiceP
phase in the present analysis). In this subsection I will discuss some approaches on this
subject. I will discuss their major contributions as well as some of their problems. At the
end of this section I will offer an alternative explanation to existing approaches of the
nature of to. I start with Hornstein et al. (2006).
4.3.1. Hornstein et. al (2006): to is an inherent case assigner
Hornstein, Martins, & Nuñes (2006) discuss the fact that active and passive verbs of
perception exhibit a contrast regarding the absence vs presence of to (respectively), that
mirrors the contrast exhibited between active and passive causatives with make, studied
here. I show the contrast between verbs of perception in (57).
(57) Verbs of perception
a. Active
I heard John arrive
b. Passive
John was heard to arrive
Hornstein et al. assume that the type of vCAUSE realized by make selects a TP complement.
They further assume that the embedded (infinitival) TP is defective, as it lacks a person
feature that case-values the embedded DP (ie., he). They start out their analysis by
noticing the following contrast:
(58) a. He was made to read the book
b. *He was made read the book
Their explanation of the facts in (58) is entirely based on the Agree framework developed
by Chomsky (2000, 2001), whereby case assignment is based on agreement relations
between clause elements, as explained in sections 2 and 3 above. They claim that the
realization of the ‘to‘ (as opposed to bare) infinitive in passives of causatives and verbs of
perception is the consequence of the failure of embedded (infinitival) T to have its case
feature valued by matrix T.
They argue that this situation is the consequence of the intervention of the past
participle, which also needs to have its case feature valued by the same matrix T. The
appearance of to is then treated as the morphological reflex of an inherent case assigner
that appears in the event of a caseless infinitival. That is, because the lower T cannot have
its case features valued by higher T, the preposition to appears so it can assign the
caseless embedded T its oblique case. The illustration of Hornstein et al.’s analysis is
shown in (59).
(59) Mary was seen to leave
[TP T [P:3] /[N:SG] /EPP [VP be
[PartP -en [G:FEM] /N:SG] /Case:NOM] [VP
[TP Mary [P:3] /[G:FEM] /[N:SG] /Case:NOM [T’ T [N:SG] /[Case:u] /EPP]
[VP t leave]]]]]]]
Hornstein et al. (2008: 19[47])
In (59), the case feature in T is unvalued, because the past participle –en intervenes (it
values the case feature given by matrix T to non-finite verbal forms). While these authors
do not show the exact position in which to is merged, I assume it is in the domain of
embedded T.
They compare the insertion of to in (59) with the insertion of of in the case of
caseless nominals (ie. the destruction *(of) the city). That is, to insertion is seen by these
authors as a repair strategy to save derivations in which structures are caseless.
While this approach is internally coherent, I do not adopt it for two reasons. The
first reason has to do with the fact that, for Hornstein et al., it is the presence of the past
participle in the structure in (59) that is responsible for the insertion of to. This cannot be
correct, given that active causatives in the perfective do involve the presence of a past
participle intervening between the matrix T and the complement of make, yet these
sentences do not require the insertion of to (60).
(60) Mary has made John leave
In Hornstein et al.’s analysis, both the participle made and the bare infinitive leave in (60)
would still need to have their case features valued by matrix T, given their nominal
nature. However, this analysis does not explain why, in passive structures, the participle
prevents the infinitival from valuing its case with matrix T, whereas this is not the case in
structures involving perfective have (60). I suggest that the insertion of to, then, cannot
be due to the presence of an intervening participle, but it must be related to the passive
nature of the matrix verb.
The second reason why Hornstein et al.’s proposal cannot be right is the fact that, in
their analysis, the material embedded by make contains a structure larger than VoiceP
(i.e., TP). As discussed and shown in section 3, this cannot be true (e.g., make disallows
perfective auxiliaries as complements, and passive complements of make disallow
For the two reasons I just discussed, I suggest that the analysis in Hornstein et al.
(2006) in which TP forms part of the complement of make cannot be maintained. As I
explained in section 3, an analysis in which make embeds VoiceP more consistently
accounts for the behavior of the elements in these constructions (e.g., with respect to the
prohibition of perfective auxiliaries under make).
The presence of to in the complement of English passive causatives, then, still
needs to be explained. Hornstein et al.’s proposal was just discussed: to is the
morphological realization of an oblique case assigning preposition that is inserted as a
repair strategy so the embedded caseless infinitive can receive the case it does not receive
from matrix T. The analysis of to as a case-assigning preposition was also the explanation
given by Roeper & Vergnaud (1980) to similar data. I have discarded this explanation on
the basis that English make does not seem to embed a structure containing T, at least, in
its active form.94
4.3.2. Other analyses: Santorini & Heycock (1988) and Higginbotham (1983)
Santorini & Heycock (1988) argue that the reason why active and passive make take
complements of different kind is that these two forms are syntactically unrelated. That is,
these authors show that, in an earlier stage of English, both active and passive causatives
existed in two forms, one that embedded a bare infinitive and another that embedded a to
infinitive. They compare this scenario with other instances of English verbs, such as help,
that take bare or to infinitives in synchronic English.
Andrew Carnie (p.c.) points out that the fact that to is not the usual preposition used in repair strategies
further weakens Hornstein et al.’s argument.
(61) a. John helped Mary win
b. John helped Mary to win
They argue that, at some point, the passive causative + bare infinitive structure became
obsolete and just the to infinitive passive survived. The opposite scenario is suggested for
its active counterpart. Santorini & Haycock propose that passive causatives with make are
instances of the passivization of an Exceptional Case Marking + to infinitive structure
whose active counterpart no longer forms part of the grammar of English. In this way,
passive make would have the same structure that passive expect has in (62).
(62) He was expected *(to) arrive early
Santorini & Haycock’s treatment of the phenomenon is supported by an argument by
Higginbotham (1983) in which he proposes that the syntactic contrast exhibited by
complements of active and passive make (ie., the appearance of to in passive context)
reflects a semantic contrast. Higginbotham’s analysis is based on whether the
complements of make undergo raising at LF for their correct interpretation or whether
they don’t. He shows that bare infinitive complements are eventive. Because events are
individuals, they undergo existential quantification, and undergo raising at LF for their
correct interpretation.
(63) a. John saw Mary leave
b. [∃x: leave (Mary, x)] John saw x
Higginbotham (1983:120[16])
In the case of passive verbs of perception or causatives, Higginbotham, too, notices that
they cannot directly embed a bare infinitive.
(64) a. *John was seen leave
b. *John was made sing
Higginbotham (1983:122[24, 25])
He claims that the structures in (64) are ill-formed because bare infinitives need to
undergo raising at LF but the raised material now contains the trace left behind by the
passive subject.
(65) [[tk leave]i Johnk was seen ti’]]
Higginbotham (1983: 123[37])
According to Higginbotham, (65) is ill-formed because a) the trace tk of John is not
within the scope of the antecedent, and b) the matrix Johnk was seen ti’ contains the trace
ti’; this is not the trace of Johnk (the trace of Johnk has been raised within the remnant),
but it is the trace of [ tk (John) leave]i; consequently, this sentence would be equivalent to
something like *John was seen Mary (p. 124[39]), which is ungrammatical.
So, for Higginbotham, causatives taking bare complements cannot be passivized
because their passivization would result in ungrammaticality. However, causatives taking
to-complements can be passivized, in (66).
(66) [Johni was seen [ti to leave]]
Higginbotham (1983: 124[41])
The sentence embedded by seen contains to. According to Higginbotham, the embedded
clause is ‘supported’ (by to) and does not need to be raised at LF for scope-assignment,
as bare complements need to do, but instead can be directly taken as a complement of a
matrix verb. He argues that the different structure of sentences like (66) with respect to
their active counterparts is reflected by the fact that passive verbs of perception can only
be interpreted as epistemic (e.g., Somebody saw that John left), as a result of not having
undergone raising at LF (p. 124).95 So, in a sense, Higginbotham’s analysis, like the one
By this, Higginbotham probably opposes an epistemic to an eventive/factive reading, which is also
available for active verbs of perception. While factives contribute to truth-conditions, epistemics have been
in Santorini & Heycock (1988), establishes the separation between active make and
passive make by assuming that they are syntactically unrelated, which shows in their
different interpretations.96
Recall that Hornstein et al. assume an analysis in which the active and passive
causatives are syntactically related. They, however, show an interesting contrast with
verbs of perception that has to do with the distinction in Higginbotham. Because active
verbs of perception select for eventive complements, the sentence in (67a) in which see
selects for a stative complement is ungrammatical. Such a restriction is not observed in
its passive counterpart, since passive verbs of perception select for epistemic
complements (ie., propositions).
(67) a. Active verbs of perception select events
*I saw John know French
b. Passive verbs of perception select propositions
John was seen to know French
Hornstein et al. (2008: 200[5])
Even more striking is the following contrast, also contributed by Hornstein et al., that
supports an analysis in which active and passive verbs of perception select different
complement types.
argued to not contribute to truth-conditions (e.g., Jackendoff 1972, Lyons 1977). This is so because
epistemics indicate rather than the truth, the speaker’s commitment to the truth. One of the tests that show
the non-contrubution of epistemics to truth-conditions is their inability to be complements of factive
predicates. This test demonstrates the different interpretation of active verbs of perception and their passive
counterparts: wheras active verbs of perception may be complements of factive predicates (ie., it is
surprising that), passive verbs of perception cannot. This indicates that only the former contribute to truthconditions, and that active and passive verbs of perception render, in fact, different interpretations.
It is surprising that you saw John leave
??It is surprising that John was seen to leave
Recall that this is also the basis of argument made by Folli & Harley (2003, 2007) regarding the contrast
between active and passive fare causatives in Italian.
(68) a. active verbs of perception ban aspectual complements
*I saw Mary {be leaving/have left}
b. passive verbs of perception allow aspectual complements
?Mary was seen to {be leaving/have left}
Hornstein et al. (2008: 201[11])
In (68a), the active verb of perception see clearly disallows complements containing
aspectual information (ie., the progressive be leaving and the perfective have left). Its
passive counterpart with a to complement (68b) is more acceptable, according to these
authors. I have independently consulted the construction with English native speakers and
they seem to be willing to accept (68b) under specific circumstances.
It might be the case, then, that passive verbs of perception do take complements of
different kind than their active counterparts. However, causative verbs do not pattern with
verbs of perception in this regard. Neither active nor passive causatives can take the
stative complement used in (69) for verbs of perception, which suggests that the contrast
made by Hornstein et al. regarding the different semantics of passive and active verbs of
perception with stative complements is not extended to causatives with make.
(69) a. *Mary made John know French
b. *John was made to know French
Similarly, passive causatives disallow complements exhibiting negation (70a), aspectual
information (70b) or independent temporal complementation in the matrix and embedded
domain (70c).97
Sentences involving negated complements of make are subject to variation (as noted in section 3), as
some native speakers accept negative complements of passive make:
Bill was made {not to / to not} drink alcohol at the party
I assume that those that accept these sentences are the same speakers that accept negation under active
make, although if Santorini & Heycock and Higginbotham are right in that active and passive make involve
different structures, this assumption is not needed to capture the real facts.
(70) a. Negation
*Bill was made {not to/ to not} drink alcohol at the party
b. Perfective
*We were made to have left the house before the landlady arrived
c. Independent temporal modification in each domain
*Yesterday I was made to submit the paper this morning (by my professor)
Recall that the diagnostics in (70) were offered earlier (following Guasti (1993)) to show
the presence or absence of TP in the embedded domain. The ungrammaticality of the
sentences in (70) suggests, once again, that just like the complement of active make, the
complement of passive causative make does not contain TP.
The facts just shown leave us with a structure in which a) negation is disallowed in
the embedded domain, both in the active and passive forms; b) the perfective is
disallowed in the embedded domain, both in the active and passive forms; c) temporal
mismatches between the matrix and embedded domain are disallowed in both active and
passive forms; d) passive make disallows states in its embedded domain (ie., (69)); e)
verbs of perception (ie., see) behave differently than causative make, especially in their
passive form (ie., compare (67-68) with (69-70)).
According to Guasti (1993, 1997), the facts in (70a-c) are a sign that the
complement of make does not contain TP. I will assume this idea in the analysis of
passive causatives with make that I am about to propose. In the next section, I explain the
theoretical framework, based on work by Pesetsky & Torrego (2001 and subsequent
work) that I will use to implement my proposal.
4.4. The role of T(ense) features in Agree relations: Pesetsky & Torrego
4.4.1. The auxiliary do is an instance of T in C
My proposal for what explains the appearance of to in the embedded domain of passive
causatives in English is based on a recent proposal made by Pesetsky & Torrego (2001
and subsequent work). These authors develop a system based on Agree (Chomsky 2000,
2001) where the feature T(ense) plays a major role. In this system, all elements
establishing abstract Agree relations in a clause contain some instance of T. The feature T
may be interpretable (iT) or uninterpretatble (uT). For instance, nominative case is
considered by these authors to be the result of the valuing of uT in D by Tense that in
turn contains iT. In the case of simple interrogative sentences involving the auxiliary do,
these authors explain the following asymmetry.
(71) a. What *(did) Mary read ____ ?
b. Who (*did) ____ read Mary?
Pesetsky & Torrego (2004a: 497[3b-c])
In the interrogative sentence in (71a), the object (accusative) wh-phrase what is raised to
[Spec, CP]. The overt auxiliary did obligatorily shows up. In (71b), the subject
(nominative) wh-phrase who is raised to [Spec, CP]. The overt auxiliary did is prohibited.
Pesetsky & Torrego explain that nominative elements (who) contain a uT feature that is
valued as a result of an Agree relation with T. In (71a), Mary appears in the nominative
by virtue of its relation with T. In (71b), this occurs to the wh-phrase who.
In interrogative sentences, C contains a uT feature that triggers V-to-T movement,
according to these authors. In the case of (71a), the overt auxiliary did is the
morphological realization of T in C. In (71b), in contrast, the auxiliary did does not
appear because, Pesetsky & Torrego explain, it is the nominative wh-phrase who that
values both T and the EPP requirement in C. That is, interrogative CP has an EPP feature
that requires the raising of a wh-word to its specifier position. The subject interrogative
phrase who is targeted for this operation. But since the nominative wh-phrase also
contains a T feature (previously valued by T), this phrase values T in C by being raised to
its specifier position. No further V-to-T movement is needed and did does not appear.
This is due to an economy condition that states that ‘A head H triggers the minimum
number of operations necessary to satisfy the properties (including EPP) of its
uninterpretable features (2001: 4[6])’.
4.4.2. That is an instance of T in C
This system allows Pesetsky & Torrego to explain other asymmetries observed in
English. For instance, they explain the that-trace effect.
(72) a. What do you think [(that) Mary read ____?
b. Who do you think [(*that) ____ read the book]?
Pesetsky & Torrego (2004a:498-499[6])
The embedded declarative sentence in (72a) optionally contains that. Its object, the
accusative wh-phrase what is raised to matrix [Spec, CP]. The embedded declarative
sentence in (72b) prohibits that. Its subject, the nominative wh-phrase who, has been
raised to matrix [Spec, CP]. The explanation Pesetsky & Torrego propose for the facts in
(72) is reminiscent of the one they propose for (71): in both cases, the extraction of a
subject wh-phrase prevents the morphological realization of a functional element (ie., did
in (71b) and that in (72b)).
The asymmetry in (72) illustrates the fact that other types of C (eg. embedded C)
also bear uT. When embedded C attracts a wh-phrase as a result of successive cyclic
movement (72), two things can happen in English: a) that optionally appears (72a), b)
that cannot appear (72b).
Pesetsky & Torrego challenge traditional explanations of the phenomenon by
arguing that that ‘is not C, but a particular realization of T moved to C’ (2004a: 499[7]).
In the same vein as in (71), the that-trace effect in (71b) occurs when both the subject
(who) and the element in embedded C carry the same feature required by matrix C. First,
that in (72) is considered an instance of embedded T moved to C. When it hosts
successive cyclic movement, C bears a wh- feature in addition to uT. In the case of (72a),
the closest wh-phrase is accusative. The movement of this phrase to C deletes the uwh
feature but not the uT feature. Subsequent movement of T to C is required. The result is
the overt pronunciation of that.
(73) Whati did John say [CP t-whati [T that]j + [C, uT, uWh] [IP Mary willj buy
Pesetsky & Torrego (2001: 12[29])
So in (73) that appears as a result of T-to-C movement. In the case of (72b), the whphrase attracted to C bears a uT feature (it is nominative). It values its T feature by virtue
of establishing an Agree relation with embedded T. Subsequent movement from T to C is
banned because the moved wh-phrase already deletes the uT feature in C.
(74) *Whoi did John say [CP t-[who, +wh, uT]i [T that]j + [C, uT, uwh] [IP t-whoi
willj buy the book]]?
Pesetsky & Torrego (2001: 13[30a])
The sentence in (74) is ungrammatical because the uT feature in C can be deleted by the
nominative wh-phrase raised to [Spec, CP]. No further movement of T-to-C is necessary.
In fact, economy conditions ban such movement, as explained above.
4.4.3. Two types of T
Pesetsky & Torrego (2004a) propose that accusative complements also bear uT. They
receive accusative case as a result of entering on an Agree relation with a different type
of T (To).98 They locate this other T-type under vP.
(75) Verbal predication structure
Subj Ts [vP v To [VP V Obj]]]
Pesetsky & Torrego (2004b: 503[16])
A difference between Ts and To is that only the former contains an EPP feature in
English, so only (nominative) arguments that enter agreement with Ts are raised to its
specifier position. An accusative argument then agrees with To but remains in its basegenerated position.
Pesetsky & Torrego explain a number of structures by applying the model just
described. These structures include infinitival complements of certain verbs, such as
raising verbs like seem. I will not discuss the details of such analyses here, as I assume
that passive causatives lack an infinitival complement. Nonetheless, the analysis of
passive make that I develop next is directly based on Pesetsky & Torrego’s model.
Pesetsky & Torrego associate To with an aspectual type of T.
4.5. to is an instance of To raised to Voice
4.5.1. Asymmetries in passive causatives
Back to our passive causatives examples, some asymmetries can be observed:
(76) Asymmetries observed in passive and active causatives
a. Active causatives ban to from its complement regardless of its nature
Mary made John {(*to) read a book/ (*to) extremely happy/ (*to) a good doctor}
b. Passive causatives require to in a verbal complement only
John was made {*(to) read a book/ (*to) extremely happy/ (*to) a good doctor}
c. nominative Wh- extraction bans to in the complement of active causatives
Who did Mary make (*to) read a book?
The examples in (76) show that the presence of to is required in the verbal complement of
a passive causative (76b), but it is banned from the complement of active causatives
(76a), from active causatives if the complement is non-verbal (76b), and from the verbal
complement of active causatives whose subject has undergone wh-movement (76c),
which shows that the motivation behind the appearance of to is not related the movement
of the embedded subject outside of the complement of make.
The appearance of to in the complement of causatives is clearly the consequence of
the passive nature of make, as wh-extraction of the subject from the complement of make
does not result in the insertion of to. It is clearly also a property of verbal complements
only, as to is actually banned from the complement of non-verbal complements of passive
It is reasonable to think that the reason why to appears in the complement of
passive causatives has some relation with the A-movement of the embedded external
argument John (76b) to matrix TP, or with the movement of the theme DP in simple
passive sentences, the book in, ie., The book was read, from its position as the
complement of VP read to matrix TP. Next I explain the asymmetries in (76) based on
Pesetsky & Torrego’s model.
4.5.2. Voice contains a uT feature
In their model, certain words such as that or did appear in CP as a result to T-to-C
raising, that is required for the valuing of a uT feature in C. Recall that CP is a phase. In
Pesetsky & Torrego, all DPs contain instances of uT. If all DPs contain instances of uT, it
would be natural to assume that all phases contain uT features also. Earlier in this chapter
the phasal status of VoiceP was discussed. If VoiceP is a phase, then, VoiceP should
contain a uT feature. Within the CP phase, the uT feature in C can be valued in a number
of ways, as seen in section 4.4. I propose that, within the VoiceP phase, the uT feature in
Voice can also be valued in different ways. I explain the valuation of uT in Voice in the
next section.
4.5.3. To is an instance of valued T on Voice
I follow Pesetsky & Torrego in assuming that to is an instance of a valued T feature. I
differ from these authors in that I do not assume that the T feature realized by to actually
occupies T. It is rather the realization of iTo moved to Voice.
(77) a. The nature of to
to is the realization of iTo on Voice
b. DM Vocabulary Insertion rule
[VoiceP iTo ]  to
The valuation of uT on Voice results in different phonological realizations, depending on
the structure in which Voice occurs, just as the valuation of uT in C results in different
realizations depending on the structure in which C occurs (ie., null realization as a
consequence of the movement of the nominative DP, the auxiliary did, the
complementizer that, section 4.4.).
4.5.4. The valuation of uT on Voice by matrix T
In simple sentences, VoiceP is directly embedded by matrix T. When T is merged with
VoiceP, VoiceP contains a set of unvalued uT features: the uT feature on Voice and the
uT feature on the DP on [Spec, VoiceP]. Not until these features are valued can this phase
be completed. Matrix T contains iT, which probes the uT feature on Voice and deletes it.
Then it probes uT on the DP in [Spec, VoiceP], values it, the DP becomes nominative
and is raised to [Spec, TP] as a result of the EPP feature on T. In this case, to is not
realized, because T has successfully valued the uT feature on Voice.
(78) [CP [TP Maryi uT, EPP [T iT [VoiceP Maryi [voice uT [vP read the book]]]]]
In (78), Voice establishes an agree relation with local T. Its uT is valued and deleted. The
DP in its specifier position agrees with T, gets nominative case, and is raised to [Spec,
4.5.5. The valuation of uT on Voice by matrix To
In environments in which Voice appears embedded by a projection other than TP,
different scenarios may follow. Scenario 1 appears in cases involving active make
causatives, discussed throughout this chapter.
(79) [TP Mary [T Ts [Voice uT [cause made (To) [VoiceP John uT [Voice uT
[vP read (To) the book]]]]]]]
Recall that, in such cases, the external argument John in embedded [Spec, VoiceP] does
not get nominative, but it gets accusative case. According to Pesetsky & Torrego (2004a),
accusative on John is a consequence of the agreement established between this DP and
the higher To, which is just below make.99 I repeat the verbal predication structure
proposed by Pesetsky & Torrego (2004a).
(80) Subj Ts [vP v To [VP V Obj]]]
Since this head does not have EPP, John values its uT feature and stays in its basegenerated position. The uT feature on Voice is valued by the same (local) To head (as a
consequence of the valuation of the external argument in [Spec, VoiceP]. Once again, to
does not appear in the structure. Meanwhile, matrix Ts, on TP, establishes an agree
relation with Mary which is the external argument within higher VoiceP. This is the DP
that gets nominative case in (79) by virtue of its agree relation with the higher T.
Presumably, the Voice head in the higher domain also has its uT feature valued, by
And accusative on the lower object, the book, is the consequence of the agreement established between
this DP and the lower To, which is just below the lower vº that embeds the root √READ.
matrix T, but I do not provide further details on this operation for reasons of space.
4.5.6. The valuation of uT on Voice by embedded To
Scenario 2 appears when Voice cannot establish a relation with a local finite T. This
happens in situations in which Voice is embedded by non-finite T or in situations such as
passive causatives (81).
(81) [TP Johni [T Ts was [voiceP uT [voice ø [cause+partP made (To) [VoiceP Johni uT
[Voice to uT [vP To [√P read the book]]]]]]]]]
The feature valuation within the matrix clause is clear in (81): matrix T values the uT
feature on matrix Voice. What is not so easy to understand is what happens in the
embedded domain, because the causative make is passive.
Pesetsky & Torrego argue that in passive environments To is defective and cannot
establish a full agreement with lower DPs (or also lower Voice here). We can assume this
idea, which is reminiscent of Chomsky’s (2000, 2001) proposal of a ‘defective’ passive
or unaccusative vP. The consequence for our purposes is that lower Voice cannot value
its uT feature with a local T, because Voice is directly embedded by a vP whose T does
not qualify for Agree.
Then, in (81) make fails to value the [uT] feature on embedded Voice. Recall that in
English, this is done by a head that is local to Voiceº. Once it is done, the phase closes
but this doesn’t happen until then. This is not a problem, due to the locality of these
heads. The problem appears in constructions such as (81): make is passive and doesn’t
contain the feature [iT], leaving the Voice phase incomplete. The embedded domain,
which is available until Voiceº values its feature, contains an instance of T, the To present
within the domain of the embedded vP. According to Pesetsky & Torrego (2004a), all
types of v including unergatives and unaccusatives involve a To that contains a iT feature.
I suggest that to appears on lower Voice as a consequence of the raising of
embedded To, along with its iT feature, to Voice. The iT feature on To deletes uT on
Voice, the phase closes, and the derivation survives. Its external argument, meanwhile
remains at the edge. It is later attracted to [Spec, TP] by Ts after agreement between the
two elements. Agreement happens between matrix Ts and the embedded external
argument John due to the same reasons Voiceº fails to have its [uT] feature valued
locally: make is passive and cannot value [uT] features. I show a diagram in (82).
(82) [TP Johni [T Ts was [voiceP uT [voice ø [cause+partP made To [VoiceP Johni uT
[Voice To (i) [iT] [vP To (i) [√P read the book]]]]]]]]]]
The syntactic item to is then the morphological realization of lower To raised to Voice.
This operation is reminiscent of the ones illustrated above, in 4.4.1. and 4.4.2. in which
do and that, respectively, are the morphological realization of T raised to C in two
different syntactic environments. In this sense, T shows independent morphological
realizations when it is moved from its original position to occupy the position of some
head containing uninterpretable features that cannot be valued by other means. Typically,
the valuation of features is done in a downward fashion, that is, higher heads containing
interpretable features probe uninterpretable versions of the same features that are
contained in heads located in lower domains. This is a more economical operation
because it just involves long distance agreement without the need for movement. The
operation illustrated in (82) is less economical, since it requires the movement of
elements for the purposes of agreement. It is then a last resort operation that only occurs
when more economical operations are not available.
4.5.7. Extending the proposal to other structures
The contrast between (81) and (82) explains the appearance of to in passive causatives
only. This analysis can be extended to other instances of the appearance of to in
embedded clauses containing non-finite TP.100
(83) [TP Johni [T Ts [vP expected To [TP [T Tnon-finite iT [VoiceP PROi / Mary uT
[Voice To
(i) (=
to) uT [vP To (i) [√P read the book]]]]]]]]
The sentence in (83) is an instance of a subject control verb involving PRO or an object
control verb involving an embedded overt DP Mary. In both cases, the To within matrix
vP values the uT on both external arguments PRO and Mary (in [Spec, VoiceP]). The
embedded clause is headed by TP. The embedded TP contains non-finite T. I propose that
non-finite T contains iT, but its lack of finite tense makes it unable to probe uT on lower
heads. Its presence between the matrix and the embedded structures blocks any potential
feature valuation operation between the matrix To and uT on embedded Voice.
The structure in (83) encounters a problem: iT on non-finite T is not eligible for
probing any iT features in its embedding domain, but it serves as a blocking element for
agreement between the matrix and the embedded domain. The most economical means
TP is embedded by CP to form a phase. For this reason, I assume that the embedded domain of (83) also
contains CP. I do not include it in the illustration for ease of exposition.
for agreement have been exhausted. There is a last resort operation within the embedded
domain that may salvage the derivation. Embedded To can still value uT on Voice via
movement. This is precisely what happens: embedded To is raised to Voice, triggering the
appearance of to.
A last piece of evidence in support of this proposal comes from the ordering
possibilities for not in ECM and control infinitival clauses.101 If to were in the embedded
non-finite Tº rather than in Voice (my proposal), the general intuition would be that not
follows rather than precedes to, as is the case in (84).
(84) a. I cannot read the book
b. *I not can read the book
Nonetheless, not can precede to (and in fact this order seems to be preferred) in both
ECM and subject control contexts, as (85) shows.
(85) a. I want John not to go
b. I want not to go
a’. I want John to not go
b’. ??I want to not go
If to is assumed to be located in Voice, the facts in (85) are easily explained, since
English has both sentential and constituent negation (see section 3). In (85a,b) we would
be speaking of sentential negation, whereas in (85a’,b’) we would be speaking of
constituent negation, while the position of to on Voice is constant. If to is assumed to be
in T, on the other hand, the facts in (85) are hard to explain, given that T in English
appears to be higher than NegP (ie., 84).
Next I offer a summary of my account.
I am indebted to Heidi Harley (p.c.) for noticing this asymmetry and providing me with the examples
that illustrate it.
4.6. Summary
The structure of passive causatives with make, as just explained, is shown in (86).
(86) passive causatives
‘He was made to read a book’
to (To)
a book
The diagram in (86) shows the agreement relations created in a passive causative. It
shows that matrix T (finite T), vCAUSE and embedded v all contain iT. Both matrix and
embedded Voice heads contain uT. Matrix T establishes an Agree relation with matrix
Voice. The structure still contains an unvalued uT, but matrix T is unavailable for
probing. The second T in the matrix domain, To, is also unavailable for probing
downward, as a consequence of passive syntax.
As a last resort operation, embedded To is raised to embedded Voice. Its iT feature
values the uT feature on Voice and deletes it. To on Voice is morphologically realized as
to. This is what explains the asymmetry between active and passive causatives: active
causatives do not exhibit to because uT on Voice is successfully deleted by matrix To and
embedded To does not need to be raised to Voice.
4.7. Passive causatives not containing Voice
Causative make does not always take verbal complements. It may take nominal and
adjectival complements as well.
(87) active ‘make’
a. nominal complement
The committee made [SC Mary the department head]
b. adjectival complement
The committee made [SC Mary extremely happy]
The complements of make in (87) are not verbal so they do not contain Voice. Instead,
they are small clauses, as the notation indicates. In (87a), the two members of the SC are
the DP Mary and the DP the department head. In (87a), the SC consists of the DP Mary
and the AP extremely happy. Non-verbal complements of make differ from their verbal
counterparts in the absence of to when make appears in the passive form.
(88) passive ‘be made’
a. nominal complement
Mary was made (*to) the department head
b. adjectival complement
Mary was made (*to) extremely happy
The facts in (88) are consistent with the analysis of to developed in this section. Because
only verbal complements of make contain Voice [uT], only verbal complements need the
movement of a lower element containing [iT] (ie., To) to be raised to Voice. Because to is
the morphological realization of To raised to Voice, it makes sense that this element does
not appear in environments in which make embeds structures not containing Voice (ie.,
nominal and adjectival complements (88)). Next I offer the structure of (88b).
(89) passive ‘make’ takes an adjectival SC as a complement
In (89) to does not appear in the structure embedded by was made because this structure
does not need to establish the kind of agreement relations required by verbal
complements (ie., complements containing Voice).102
Note that, throughout this section, all kinds of vPs including stative and passive vPs involve a VoiceP.
This subsection has provided further evidence for the analysis proposed in which to
is the morphological realization of To raised to Voice. In the last section, I compare the
syntax of causative make with the syntax of causative cause. I argue that, in this case,
cause has different selectional restrictions than make, which causes the appearance of to
in both active and passive environments.
4.8. Cause to
Unlike make, the English productive causative cause exhibits to in both active and
passive environments.
(90) make vs. cause
(a) active
I made Mary (*to) fail
I caused Mary to fail
(b) passive
Mary was made to fail
Mary was caused to fail
I propose that the contrast exhibited in (90) is the consequence of differences in the
complements that make and cause take. While make takes Voice complements, cause
takes CP complements containing a non-finite T. This is shown by the fact that the
complement of cause allows negative and perfective complements.
(91) a. Maryland reports state tests caused eleven students not to graduate (google)
b. This is what caused him to have been killed
Compare the sentences in (91) with their make counterparts:
(92) a.* State tests made eleven students not graduate
b. *This is what made him have been killed
Recall from previous sections that the inability for make to contain negative and
perfective complements is a sign that they are lacking T. TP projections are contained
within CP phases. I suggest, then, that if the complement of cause contains a TP, as the
data in (91) appears to indicate, then the complement of cause also contains a CP. I show
the structure in (93).
(93) ‘cause’ takes a CP complement
[iTo] Mary
to [To]
To [iT]
The tree in (93) shows the structure of active cause. This productive causative head
selects a CP complement that contains non-finite T. This T head contains iT but it is not
eligible to probe features downward because of its defective nature, as explained above.
The To contained in vcause values both uT features on the accusative DP Mary and the
embedded C head. However, the embedded Voice head still needs to have its uT feature
valued by some head containing iT. It cannot be done by non-finite T, as explained
above. As in section 4.5. above, the structure resorts to the raising of embedded To to
Voice, that results in the overt realization of to, both in active and passive environments.
Summary and conclusion
In this chapter I have discussed the syntax of English productive causative make. I have
argued that the only relevant characteristic that establishes differences between two
English productive causatives (make and cause) and their lexical counterpart (realized by
zero morphology) is made in terms of the selectional properties of the causative heads.
While English direct productive causatives take phase complements (they are phaseselecting in Pylkkänen’s terms) their lexical counterparts take root complements. The two
productive causatives make and cause are distinguished in terms of the kind of phase
each embeds. While make embeds a VoiceP phase, cause embeds a CP phase.
The second half of this chapter has discussed an important element relevant to the
syntax of productive causatives of, at least, European languages: the agreement relations
created between constituents within clauses. Agreement relations in European languages
give way to subject-verb agreement, the movement of constituents and the appearance of
elements with functional but not semantic import. I have argued that this is probably what
explains the appearance of to in certain environments, such as within the complement of
passive make as well as within the complement of cause, as discussed in section 4.
In the following chapter, chapter 5, I will show that productive causatives do not
always take phase complements, as is the case of English and Hiaki indirect causatives.
In this chapter, I examine the syntax of Hiaki productive causatives. Hiaki productive
causatives are morphological (ie., suffixal) rather than analytical (ie., periphrastic, like
English make and Spanish hacer ‘make’). In this chapter I show that the different types of
Hiaki causatives (ie, lexical, direct and indirect) are contrasted in both a) their
morphological realization (ie., different causative types may involve the realization of
different suffixes) and b) their complement distribution (ie., each type exhibits different
selectional properties). In this sense, Pylkkänen’s (2002, 2008) approach to causatives is
clearly reflected in the syntax of Hiaki.
Hiaki causatives coincide with English causatives in their selectional properties but
differ from them in their voice-selecting properties:
a) Lexical causatives in both Hiaki and English are root selecting. Their
morphological realization can be null (Ø) in both languages although, in some
cases, the suffixes used in lexical causatives may overlap with those used for
productive causatives, as we will see. Unlike English, Hiaki lexical causatives
show non voice-bundling properties.
b) Direct productive causatives in both Hiaki and English are phase-selecting, as
they embed structures containing Voice. Their morphological realization is the
suffix –tua (Hiaki) and the functional head make (English). Although Hiaki direct
Most of this chapter is the result of work with Heidi Harley and Jason Haugen, as part of Heidi Harley’s
NSF funded project The Morphosyntax of Hiaki Verbs (NSF Project #BCS-0446333). I thank Maria Florez
Leyva and Santos Leyva for their generosity and patience sharing with us their native knowledge of the
Hiaki language. This chapter has been partially funded by an University of Arizona SBSC dissertation
grant to M. Tubino Blanco.
causatives are normally associated with an external argument, they can appear in
the absence of it, a property of non voice-bundling causatives.104
c) Indirect productive causatives in both Hiaki and English are verb-selecting. They
exhibit a causative head that varies from their direct counterparts, the suffix -tevo
(Hiaki) and the functional head have (English).105
Hiaki and English productive causatives also exhibit formal differences. I will argue that
these are the result of typological contrasts between these two languages regarding the
need for English (but not Hiaki) T(ense) to be identified (ie., to establish Agree relations)
with other clausal elements connected to it.106
The chapter is divided as follows: In Section 1 I introduce productive causatives in
Hiaki; in Section 2 I discuss direct productive and lexical causatives in Hiaki; in section 3
I address indirect productive causatives; in section 4 I discuss the combined directindirect causative in Hiaki; in section 5 I conclude that Hiaki productive (and lexical)
causatives conform to the typology set up by Pylkkänen.
Hiaki productive causatives: The data
1.1. Morphological causatives
Hiaki productive causatives are morphologically formed by the addition of causative
suffixes to verbal roots (1)
English productive causatives cannot appear in the absence of an external argument, which would make
them pattern with Voice-bundling causatives. Nonetheless the Voice-bundling properties of English
productive causatives were not discussed in Chapter 4 as they are do not appear to be relevant to the syntax
of these constructions.
In this dissertation I do not discuss the syntax of English indirect causatives with have. See, for instance,
Ritter & Rosen (1993), or Harley (1998) for discussion on this causative type.
This chapter concentrates on causatives in Hiaki. For further details on the syntax of English causatives
see chapter 4.
(1) Hiaki productive causatives are suffixal
a. Direct causatives
Maria Santos-ta vuiti-tua
Maria Santos-acc run(sg.subj)-cause
‘Maria is making Santos run’
b. Indirect causatives
Maria Santos-ta hitto-tevo
Maria Santos-acc cure-cause(indir)
‘Maria is having Santos cured’
Hiaki exhibits two main forms of productive causatives. In (1a), the suffix -tua forms
productive direct causatives that translate into English make. The causative suffix -tevo in
(1b) forms indirect causatives, corresponding to English have with a passive participle as
complement. In the next subsection I introduce the argument structure of each of these
causative suffixes.
1.2. Types of verbs embedded by productive causatives
The causativizing suffixes -tua and -tevo are compatible with verbal roots of several
different kinds.
(2) Direct causative
a. Transitive root –hitto ‘cure'
Maria [hitevi-ta uusi-ta hitto]-tua-k
Maria [doctor-acc child-acc treat]-cause-perf
‘Maria made the doctor treat the child’
b. Unergative root –vamse ‘hurry’107
aapo [si yee va-vamih]-tua
3sg [very people red-hurry]-cause
‘He always makes people hurry up’
c. Unaccusative root yepsa ‘arrive (sg.subj)’
Hose [Peo-ta lauti yevih]-tua-k
Joe [Pete-acc early arrive(sg.subj)]-cause-perf
‘Joe made Pete arrive early’
In Hiaki, verbs typically exhibit two forms, a free form (ie., vamse ‘hurry up’) and a bound form (ie.,
vamih- ‘hurry up). The latter form is the one used along with suffixes (ie., vamih-tua ‘hurry-cause’).
(3) Indirect causative
a. Transitive root hitto ‘treat’
Maria [uusi-ta hitto]-tevo-k
Maria [child-acc treat-cause(ind)]-perf
‘Maria had the child treated’
b. Unergative root vamse ‘hurry’
aapo hiva [va-vamih]-tevo
3sg always [red-hurry]-cause(ind)
‘He always has (people) hurry up’
c. Unaccusative root yaha ‘arrive (pl.subj)’
Inepo [aman yahi]-tevo-k
1sg [there arrive(pl.subj)]-cause(ind)-perf
‘I had some people arrive there’
Neither sentence in (2-3) seems to exhibit any restrictions regarding potential
incompatibilities with verb types, regardless of whether they are causativized by –tua (2)
or –tevo (3). Thus, both -tua and -tevo may embed transitive hitto-‘cure, treat’ (2a,3a),
unergative vamih- ‘hurry’ (2b,3b), and unaccusative stems yevih- ‘arrive(sg.subj)’ or
yahi- ‘arrive(pl.subj)’ (2b,3c). In the next subsection, I show a contrast in the number of
arguments licensed by -tua and the number of arguments licensed by -tevo.
1.3. The arguments of Hiaki productive causatives
1.3.1. A contrast between –tua and -tevo
Hiaki productive causatives -tua and -tevo exhibit a contrast in the number of arguments
they may license. The sentences in (4) involve the same embedded root, sua ‘take care
of’. When this root is causativized by -tua (4a), the resulting structure exhibits a higher
number of arguments than the analogous causative with -tevo (4b).
(4) Argument structure of productive causatives
a. –tua
Nee [Art-ta ne sua]-tua
1sg [Art-acc 1sg]-cause
‘I’m making Art take care of me’
b. -tevo
Inepo [ino sua]-tevo
1sg [1sg(refl)]-cause(ind)
‘I’m having myself taken care of’
(cf. I’m having somebody guard me)’
The direct causative in (4a) involves three arguments, a) a causer nee ‘I’, b) a causee Artta ‘Art-acc’, and c) an embedded object ne ‘me’. The indirect causative in (4b), in turn,
involves two arguments, a) a causer inepo ‘I’, and b) an embedded object, the reflexive
ino ‘myself’.108
Thus, both -tua and -tevo license nominative causers. Depending on the nature of the
embedded root (ie., if it is transitive, as in the case of (4)), both -tua and -tevo may
exhibit embedded objects. The main contrast exhibited between the two causative heads
in Hiaki involves the presence versus the absence of a causee argument. I discuss this in
detail in the next subsection.
1.3.2. The causee argument
The two causative suffixes are contrasted in the presence (-tua) versus the absence
(-tevo) of a causee argument. -tua requires an explicit causee
Sentences involving -tua require an obligatory causee, as the ungrammaticality of the
sentence in (5) indicates.
Hiaki pronouns exhibit both stressed and unstressed forms. In the sentences in (4), nee is the 1sg
unstressed form; inepo is its stressed counterpart.
(5) *Maria [uusi-ta
Maria [child-acc treat]-cause-perf
‘Mary made treat the child’
The sentence in (5) is ungrammatical because the causee argument (ie., the person
treating the child) has been syntactically omitted. -tevo generally disallows an explicit causee
Indirect causatives with -tevo generally disallow a causee argument, as (6) shows.
(6) Santoh-ta achai [(*aa
yoemia-wa )
vachi-ta et]-tevo
Santos-acc father [(*3sg.acc sons-poss)
corn-acc plant]-cause(ind)
‘Santos’ father had the corn planted’ *(by his sons)
The sentence in (6) is ungrammatical if the structure embedded by -tevo contains an
explicit causee (ie., aa yoemiawa ‘his sons’). The only arguments allowed in structures
embedded by -tevo are internal arguments licensed by the root, as is the case with the
embedded object, vachi-ta ‘corn-acc’, in (6).
In sentences like (7), in which –tevo embeds an intransitive stem (eg. vamih
‘hurry’), no embedded argument is allowed, as the ungrammaticality of the overt causee
yee ‘people’ indicates:
(7) aapo hiva
3sg always
people red-hurry-cause(ind)
‘He’s always having (*people) hurry)’
The prohibition of explicit causees in indirect causatives just shown in (6) and (7)
illustrates the general pattern exhibited by these structures in Hiaki.
1.4. Summary
In this section I have introduced the basic data that illustrates productive causatives in
Hiaki. I have shown the two main types, direct productive causatives with -tua and
indirect productive causatives with -tevo. Both causative types share some morphological
and syntactic traits. Morphologically, both causatives are verbal suffixes. Syntactically,
both causative suffixes involve the introduction of a causer argument to the argument
structure of the sentence they participate in. However, they show a crucial contrast: while
–tua involves overt causers and causees, -tevo exhibits overt causers while it is generally
incompatible with overt causees. In this chapter I will show that this contrast reflects a
difference regarding the selectional properties of each of these causative heads. In the
next section I concentrate on the properties of the Hiaki direct causative head –tua.
2. The direct causative –tua
In this section I discuss the syntax of the direct causative –tua in Hiaki. This causative
head is used to form both productive and lexical direct causatives in Hiaki. I address the
productive causative first.
2.1. Productive -tua
2.1.1. The vCAUSE occupied by productive -tua selects VoiceP
In the previous section I have shown preliminary examples involving the direct
productive causative in Hiaki, -tua. In (8) I show an example of -tua embedding the
transitive root vicha ‘see’.
(8) Active direct causative with –tua embedding a transitive root
vPCAUSE Voiceº
hitevi-ta Voice’
√VIT‘child-acc’ ‘see’
Maria hitevi-ta uusi-ta vit-tua
Maria doctor-acc child-acc see-cause
‘Maria made the doctor see the child’
In (8), the direct causative head -tua embeds an eventive transitive structure that contains
its own external argument, hitevi-ta ‘doctor-acc’. This means, as shown in previous
chapters, that the structure embedded by -tua contains VoiceP. In Pylkkänen’s
framework, this type of causative head is termed Phase-selecting, just like English make,
discussed in Chapter 4. Nonetheless, the morphological properties of Hiaki verbal stems
pose problems for the ‘phasal’ status of –tua.
2.1.2. Is –tua phase selecting?
We just saw that –tua causatives select VoiceP as their complement. In Pylkkänen’s
terms, this property makes them qualify as phase-selecting. If VoiceP is a phase in Hiaki,
and –tua selects a (completed) VoiceP phase, then we would predict that no
morphological allomorphy may be exhibited by the verbal stems embedded by –tua. This
is so since, according to phase theory (Chomsky 2000 and subsequent work), the
complement of a phase head is sent out to Spell-Out (ie., to PF and LF) once the phase
has been completed.
Nonetheless, this is apparently not borne out in Hiaki. Hiaki exhibits verb-stem
allomorphy that becomes apparent after certain suffixes are added to stems. Among these
suffixes are –tua and -tevo (9).
(9) a. Maria aman vuite
Maria there run(sg.subj)
‘Maria is running’
a’. Santos Maria-ta aman vuiti-tua
S. M.-acc there run(sg.subj)-cause
‘Santos is making Maria run’
b. U hitevi ume uusi-m vicha-k
The doctor det(pl) child-pl see-perf
‘The doctor has examined the kids’
b’. Maria ume uusi-m vit-tevo-k
det(pl) child-pl see-cause(ind)-perf
‘Maria had the kids examined’
As shown in (9), both singular forms of the Hiaki verb for ‘run’ vuite ‘run(sg.subj)’ and
the verb vicha ‘see, examine’ exhibit stem allomorphy in the context of the causative
suffixes –tua (9a) and –tevo (9b).
Many other suffixes also trigger stem allomorphy along these lines. Here is a (nonexhaustive) list:
(10) Some Hiaki suffixes that trigger stem allomorphy
-tua (cause)
-ria (appl)
-wa (pass)
-su (compl)
-ne (fut)
-la (ppl)
-tu(become) -ri (ppl)
-se / -vo (go to)
-taite (inch)
-naate (inch)
-pea (desid)
-‘ii’aa (desid)
-hapte (inch)
-yaate (cess)
-mahta ‘teach’
-sae (dir)
In contrast, aspectual and discursive suffixes do not trigger stem allomorphy. The
following chart shows Hiaki suffixes that do not trigger stem allomorphy.
(11) Hiaki suffixes that do not trigger stem allomorphy
-k (perf)
-ka (ppl)
-n (imper)
-tia (disc)
-o (if/when)
-kan (past part)
The facts in (10) suggest, a priori, that VoiceP should not be a phase in Hiaki because
–tua or the future suffix –ne (among other suffixes) trigger stem changes yet these
suffixes need to appear above VoiceP.109
However, this doesn’t have to be the case, if we assume head movement of the
verbal roots all the way up to the head of the phase Voiceº, as in (12).
Santos Maria-ta vuit-i-tua
S. M.-acc run(sg.subj)-intr-cause
‘Santos is making Maria run’
√VUIT + -e + -tua
+ -tua
t√VUIT +-e + -tua
t√VUIT +-e
t√VUIT +
t√VUIT + -e
The diagram in (13) shows the Spell-Out of the verb vuititua ‘make run(sg.subj) at the
Other suffixes that need to appear above VoiceP are the directive sae, the desiderative ‘ii’aa or the
instructive mahta ‘teach’ because they require external arguments as their complements (i).
Maria Santos-ta vuiti-‘ii’aa
Maria Santos-acc run(sg.subj)-des
‘Maria wants Santos to run’
stages of the derivation that appear in bold face in (12).
(13) a. vP: [vP(do) [vº(do) √VUIT]  vuit
b. VoiceP Phase (under –tua): [VoiceP [Voiceº √VUIT+ -e]  vuite
c. vPcause: [VP(cause) [vº(cause) √VUIT+ -e + -tua]  vuititua
d. VoiceP Phase (above –tua): [VoiceP [Voiceº √VUIT+ -e + -tua]  vuititua
Compare the derivation in (12) with the derivation of its non-causative counterpart:
√VUIT + -e
t√VUIT +-e
t√VUIT +-e
Santos (aman) vuit-e
S. there run(sg.subj)-intr
‘Santos is running’
The Spell-Out of the verb forms is given in (15):
(15) a. vP: [vP(do) [vº(do) √VUIT]  vuit
b. VoiceP Phase: [VoiceP [Voiceº √VUIT+ -e]  vuite
The verb vuite ‘run(sg. subj)’ is suppletive for number agreement with its subject. In this sense, if the
subject is singular the root vuite is used. If the subject is plural, the root tenne appears, as in (i).
Maria into Santos aman tenne
Maria and Santos there run(pl.subj)
‘Maria and Santos are running over there’
Harley et al. (2009) argue that number agreement in these verbs is triggered by an underlying object (ie.,
the subject Maria into Santos ‘Maria and Santos’), which suggests that verbs such as vuite/tenne ‘run’ are
unaccusatives in Hiaki. I assume this classification of intransitive suppletive verbs as unaccusatives rather
than unergatives, but I ignore it in (12) for ease of exposition.
I’m ignoring a TransP projection above vPCAUSE, although it may be assumed. See chapter 3 for further
Thus, in a Hiaki derivation, roots (eg., √VUIT) move all the way up to Tº via head-to-head
movement (Travis (1984)). The combination of the raised roots with the functional
material that is present in some of these heads (ie., -e, present in transº, -tua, present in
vºCAUSE) has repercussions on the pronunciation of the roots at different stages of the
derivation. Thus, the present account is compatible with an analysis in which the
productive causative vºCAUSE (-tua) is phase selecting (ie., embeds VoiceP phases). Next, I
discuss the non Voice-bundling nature of Hiaki productive causatives.
2.1.3. Direct causative -tua is non Voice-bundling
Hiaki verbal suffixes have been shown to occupy the head position of the phrases they
are associated with. In the analysis proposed for –tua causatives in (8) and (12) above,
-tua occupies the vºCAUSE head. Recall that in Pylkkänen’s framework, certain types of
causative heads form a bundled head with Voice, both appearing in the same syntactic
position. Recall that this was the case of English root (zero) causative, discussed in
chapter 3.
Hiaki -tua tends to appear along with a causer argument (cf., an external argument
base-generated in a Voiceº position). However, -tua and the syntactic head that
introduces the causer argument involve independent projections in Hiaki. Evidence
coming from the passivization of causatives in Hiaki supports this idea.
The passive –wa forms passives in Hiaki. Causative sentences with –tua become
passive if the suffix –wa is added to them. The example in (16) shows the passivization
of the causative sentence analyzed in (8).
(16) Passivized direct causative with –tua
Uu hitevi uusi-ta vit-tua-wa-k
det doctor child-acc see-cause-pass-perf
‘The doctor was made to see the child’
The passive suffix –wa has been argued to appear as the head of VoiceP, whose specifier
position is null (Ø) (Jelinek (1997), Jelinek & Escalante (1987), Harley (2007)).
According to this, the sentence in (16) may be analyzed as in (17).
(17) –tua occupies vºCAUSE / -wa occupies Voiceº
vPCAUSE Voiceº
hitevi-ta Voice’
√VIT‘child-acc’ ‘treat’
Uu hitevi uusi-ta vit-tua-wa
det doctor child-acc see-cause-pass
‘the doctor is being made to see the child’
The diagram in (17) shows the structure of a passivized causative with -tua in Hiaki.112
Each of the verbal suffixes occupies a different head position. Whereas the causative -tua
appears as the vºCAUSE head, the passive suffix –wa occupies the Voiceº head. The causer
typically involved in the syntax of productive causatives is, in turn, syntactically null (Ø),
as a result of passivization.
In this and the following diagrams included in this chapter, the head-to-head movement undergone by
Hiaki roots and verbal material is not represented for the sake of simplification. It is nonetheless assumed,
as discussed in the previous section, 2.1.2.
The syntax of passive causatives in Hiaki, illustrated in (17), suggests that the
kind of vºCAUSE realized by -tua cannot be Voice-bundling. This is so since two different
syntactic positions, Voiceº and vºCAUSE, need to be available in order to host the two
verbal suffixes, causative -tua and passive –wa, both necessary pieces in the passivization
of -tua.113 In the next section I show a restriction against passive complements of –tua.
2.1.4. –tua disallows passive complements
We just saw that direct productive causative –tua is non Voice-bundling and phaseselecting. Because phase-selecting causatives embed Voiceº, and the passive suffix –wa
occupies Voiceº in this language, it would be natural to think that –tua allows passive
complements. However, this is not the case, as shown in (18).
(18) –tua disallows passive complements114
*Constantino [ne tomi-ta mak-wa]-tua-k
Constantino 1sg money-acc give-pass-cause-perf
‘Constantino made me be given money’
The sentence in (18) exhibits the direct causative –tua embedding a passive complement.
I show the analysis in (19).
In section 4, below, I offer further evidence in favor of the separation of Voiceº and vºCAUSE in Hiaki
productive causatives.
Thanks to Constantino Martínez (p.c.) for the data in this subsection.
vPCAUSE Voiceº
*Constantino ne tomi-ta mak-wa-tua
Constantino 1sg money-acc give-pass-cause
‘Constantino is making me be given money’
√MAK‘money-acc’ ‘give’
The matrix clause in (18) exhibits its nominative causer, Constantino, licensed by the
matrix VoiceP projection. The syntax of –tua is compatible with a complement
containing Voiceº (the head in which the suffix –wa is licensed). Nonetheless, sentences
such as (17) are disallowed in this language.115
Two alternative explanations may account for the facts in (17). A first explanation
has to do with a potential syntactic dependence between the passive suffix -wa and higher
heads such as Moodº. Although the passive suffix –wa is base generated in Voiceº, this
suffix seems to be closely related to Moodº. Evidence of this comes from the
phonological realization of the future passive, which, in Hiaki, is realized as the single
The embedded root √MAK- ‘give’ in (18) licenses two internal arguments. This is the result of the
ditransitive nature of this root. In here, I analyze the higher internal argument as the specifier of the light
verb v and the lower internal argument as the complement of the root. This analysis is based on the original
proposal in Larson (1988). For an analysis of ditransitives in Hiaki see also Estrada (2008) and Jelinek &
Carnie (2003).
(portmanteau) suffix –na.
(20) a. The future passive suffix –na ‘pass.fut’
b. *wa-ne ‘pass-fut’
The fact that the passive future is realized as a single suffix suggests that the passive
suffix –wa has some kind of connection with a higher head, probably MoodP, since the
future suffix –ne is interpreted as irrealis and triggers root allomorphy in the same way as
vºCAUSE –tua does.
This suggests that –ne appears at a derivational stage lower than Tº.117 Because of
the head movement involved in Hiaki, when the material including the passive suffix -wa
reaches Moodº whereby the future (or irrealis) suffix –ne resides, post-syntactic
morphological operations combine the two suffixes into the portmanteau form –na
(fut.pass). I show the structure in (21).118
Thanks to Heidi Harley (p.c.) for pointing this out to me.
It is important to note, however, that this does not mean that the future suffix –ne and the causative
suffix –tua are base-generated in the same projection, because they are not: -ne is base-generated in a
MoodP projection higher than the causative –tua and possibly lower than Tº (although this cannot be
proven since the future suffix –ne does not take Tº suffixes such as the past tense suffix –k, for which this
issue still requires further investigation).
In this diagram I ignored (but I assume) both TransP and the double specifier proposed for passive
√MAHTA + -wa+ -ne
Voiceº [pass]
t√MAHTA +-wa
Maria mahta-na
Maria teach-fut.pass
‘Maria will be taught’
In (22) I show the Spell-Out of the derivation at different stages:
(22) a. VoiceP: [VoiceP [Voiceº √MAHTA + -wa]  mahtawa
b. MoodP: [MoodP [Moodº √MAHTA+ -wa + -ne]  mahtana
Given (22) it is reasonable to think that, regardless of whether Moodº is occupied by –ne
or not, Moodº immediately embeds VoiceP when its head is passive, maybe due to a
restriction associated with passive VoiceP, which, according to Chomsky (2000 and
subsequent work), does not constitute a strong phase.119 Because VoiceP is the highest
position licensed in the complement of –tua, the passive –wa would not be properly
licensed in this context, given its dependence of the higher head Moodº.
An alternative explanation to the restriction in (23) has a morphological basis. As we saw
in the introductory section, Hiaki exhibits the indirect causative suffix –tevo in addition to
the direct causative suffix –tua. The suffix –tevo syntactically suppresses the external
argument of the structure it embeds, as seen in section above. This is exactly
Thanks to Heidi Harley (p.c.) for this idea.
what –wa does as the complement of –tua in (18), it suppresses the external argument. I
show the equivalent of (18) with –tevo in (24).
(24) Constantino ne tomi-ta mak-tevo-k
Constantino 1sg money-acc give-cause(ind)-perf
‘Constantino had somebody give me money’
Because –tevo takes complements with no external argument, indirect causatives in Hiaki
(24) involve a passive interpretation of the complement of –tevo. It is possible, then, that
Hiaki bans passive complements of –tua (ie., complements of –tua in which the external
argument has been suppressed) because it has a specialized causative suffix, -tevo, that
takes complements in which the external argument has been suppressed.120 This would be
an instance of morphological blocking, dictated by the Subset Principle by Halle (1997),
as shown in (25).121
(25) Subset Principle
The phonological exponent of a Vocabulary Item is inserted into a morpheme if the
item matches all or a subset of the grammatical features specified in the terminal
morpheme. Insertion does not take place if the Vocabulary Item contains features not
present in the morpheme. Where several Vocabulary Items meet the conditions for
insertion, the item matching the greatest number of features specified in the terminal
morpheme must be chosen.
As in Harley & Noyer (1999: 9)
The description in (25) suggests that, given two Vocabulary Items that compete for
insertion in a single syntactic slot, the Vocabulary Item that is the most specific one is
chosen over the most poorly specified one. The morphological specifications for –tua and
–tevo along these lines are given in (26).
The syntax of –tevo will be discussed in detail in section 3.
See Kiparsky (1993), Andrews (1990), Halle & Marantz (1993), Halle (1997), Harley & Noyer (1999),
Embick & Marantz (2008) for several explanations of morphological blocking.
(26) a. [vP(cause) [vº(cause) ____ [VoiceP [Voiceº [pass]]  tevo
b. [vP(cause) [vº(cause) _____ [VoiceP [Voice]  tua
According to (26), the Vocabulary Item –tevo blocks the Vocabulary Item –tua from
being inserted in a context whereby the VoiceP projection embedded by the causative
head contains the feature [pass]. This is so since –tua lacks the specification for a [pass]
or [act] feature in its featural description. Conversely, -tevo will be inserted only in
contexts whereby its complement is VoiceP (passive) (ie., does not license an external
argument), whereas it will be blocked from being inserted in contexts where the feature
[pass] is not specified under Voiceº.
For the sake of consistency with the rest of the analysis, I will assume the first
explanation given regarding the banning of –tua-wa ‘cause-pass’ from the Hiaki
grammar: -tua cannot take passive complements because they are structurally dependent
on a higher projection, MoodP, that is structurally required right above VoiceP (passive)
preventing vº (cause) from directly taking VoiceP (passive) as a complement.122
2.1.5. Summary
I just offered an analysis of sentences involving the direct productive causative head –tua.
I showed that this causative head is phase-selecting, as it embeds structures containing
external arguments (VoiceP). This head is also non Voice-bundling. Data involving the
passivization of -tua demonstrate this point, as the verbal suffixes -tua and passive -wa
In support of this idea, Heidi Harley (p.c.) informs me that she doubts that other verbal suffixes such as
the directive –sae, -mahta ‘teach’ or any of the other Voice-selecting suffixes mentioned earlier can embed
the suffix –wa, despite the fact that they lack ‘indirect’ counterparts blocking them from being inserted in
such configurations.
require two different syntactic positions to be generated in the syntax of the sentences in
which they appear. In a configuration in which the causative head occupies a bundled
Voice/vºCAUSE head, the passive suffix –wa would be lacking a syntactic position in which
to appear.
I also showed that –tua cannot embed passive structures with –wa despite the fact
that this head embeds Voiceº, the head in which –wa is base generated. I argued that this
restriction is the consequence of a dependency relation between –wa and the structurally
higher head MoodP, which prevents –tua from directly embedding VoiceP. In the next
section I show a further use of productive –tua.
2.2. Other uses of productive –tua
2.2.1. ‘To pretend’
Hiaki direct causatives in which the causer and causee are correferent have the idiomatic
meaning ‘to pretend’. This is shown in (27).
(27) Mercedesi [aui kot]-tua
Mercedesi [3sg(refl)i sleep]-cause
‘Mercedes is pretending to be asleep,
lit. Mercedes is making herself sleep’
The sentence in (27) exhibits a direct productive causative with –tua in which the causer
Mercedes and the causee au ‘herself’ are correferent. In such cases, the interpretation of
the causative is ‘to pretend’.123
See chapter 6 for an analogous structure in Spanish.
2.2.2. Let
As in other languages like Japanese, direct causative –tua has ‘let’ interpretations. This is
shown in (28).
(28) a. Yoeme kava’i-ta vuiti-tua-k
man horse-acc run(sg.subj)-cause-perf
‘The man let the horse run’ (ie., he loosened the rope)
b. Vatte kaa am=ko-kot-tua
nearly neg 3pl=red-sleep-cause
‘They almost kept them from sleeping (lit., they nearly don’t let them sleep)’
Dedrick & Casad (1999)
The sentences in (28) are direct productive causatives in which the suffix –tua embeds
the unergative roots vuite ‘run(sg.subj)’ (28a) and koche ‘sleep’ (28b). The interpretation
of these sentences is ‘let’ rather than ‘make’, given the context.
2.2.3. Analysis
Despite their specialized interpretations, the sentences above have the typical structure of
direct productive causatives with –tua while their special interpretations come from a)
correference between the causer and causee arguments, in the case of ‘pretend’ and b)
context, in the case of ‘let’. I show the analysis of (28a) in (29).
(29) Analysis of –tua with ‘let’ interpretation
vPCAUSE Voiceº
Yoeme kava’i-ta vuiti-tua-k
Man horse-acc run(sg.subj)-cause-perf
‘The man let the horse run (ie., escape)’
The sentence in (29) has the typical structure of a productive causative with –tua in
Hiaki. The causative –tua phase selecting, as it takes as a complement a structure
containing Voiceº, which introduces the accusative causee kava’ita ‘the horse’. The
causative head in (29) is also non Voice-bundling, as indicated by the projection of
matrix VoiceP as independent from the causative projection.
The causative –tua in (29) is then identical to the typical direct productive
causative in Hiaki meaning ‘make’. This suffix, however, may appear sometimes as
having different selectional properties. In these cases, the causative is interpreted as
‘lexical’. I discuss these cases in the following subsection.
2.3. Nominal and Root complements of tua
A class of lexical causatives may be formed by the addition of the suffix -tua to both nonverbal and verbal roots. In the next subsection I discuss the syntax of this causative type.
2.3.1. Nominal complements of –tua
According to Guerrero (2004), the causative suffix –tua may combine with any kind of
predicate to form direct causatives, including ‘nouns, stative, intransitive, transitive and
even ditransitive verbs’ (p. 165). For instance, the following examples in which –tua
embeds ‘nouns’ have been taken from Guerrero.
(30) a. Nim mala yo’owe bwam-ta o’-on-tua
1sg:gen mother old food-acc red-salt-cause
‘My grandmother is salting the food’ (lit. causing the food to have salt)
b. Peo kari-ta vepaa-tua-vae
Pete house-acc roof-cause-des
‘Pete wants to roof the house’ (lit. wants to cause the house to have a roof)
Guerrero (2004: 166[15a, 15c])
In (30), on-tua ‘salt-cause, to salt’ and vepaa-tua ‘roof-cause’ seem to be nouns directly
embedded by the causative –tua. In fact, -tua appears embedding denominal verbs of the
type analyzed by Haugen (2004), shown in (31).124
(31) a. Peo chuu’u
Pete dog
‘Pete is a dog’
b. Peo chuu’u-k
Pete dog-perf
‘Pete has a dog’
Haugen (2004: 230[1a,b])
Haugen proposes the analysis in (31) for these verbs, in which the nominal (ie., chuu’u
‘dog’) is the complement of a prepositional phrase (PPhave) along the lines of Harley
(2002). The PP is, in turn, embedded by a stative vP(be). From the position where it has
been merged, the nominal undergoes incorporation à la Hale & Keyser (1993) all the way
up to the stative vP (32).
Note that, although the sentence in (31b) has the perfective marker –k its interpretation is not past (‘Pete
had a dog’). Instead, perfective stative structures of this kind in Hiaki receive the resultative (and
possessive) interpretation ‘Peter is dogged’.
[chu’u+ Phave] + be (Ø)
Peo chuu’u-k
Pete dog-perf
‘Pete has a dog’
Adapted from Haugen (2004: 248[33c])
These structures lack external arguments. The argument Peo ‘Pete’, for instance, is an
argument within the prepositional complement of the stative vº(be). When embedded by
the causative head –tua, vºCAUSE directly embeds the stative vP, as shown in (33).
[vepa+ Phave] + be (Ø)
Peo kari-ta vepaa-tua
Pete house-acc roof-cause
‘Pete is roofing the house’
Thus, the structure in (33) shows that, in sentences like those in (30), we are still dealing
with the same productive causative –tua as we have been discussing so far. The
difference is that, in the case of (33), -tua embeds a stative structure that is lacking an
external argument (VoiceP).
2.3.2. Root complements of –tua
Sometimes, lexical causatives in Hiaki result from combining -tua with eventive roots.
This is not a productive operation, as it happens only with a reduced number of roots.
Nonetheless, these lexical causatives may be the result of the grammaticalization of a
once productive operation. The verbs vit-tua ‘see-cause (show/send)’ (34a) and
hi’ibwa-tua ‘eat-cause (feed)’ (34b) are typical examples of this phenomenon.
(34) Lexical causatives with tua
a. Maria Santos-ta-u uusi-ta vit-tua-k
Maria Santos-acc-to child-acc see-cause-perf
‘Maria sent the child to Santos’
b. Maria uusi-ta hi'ibwa-tua
Maria child-acc eat-cause
‘Maria is feeding the child’
In (34), the causativizing suffix -tua combines with the non-causative verbal roots
vit- ‘see’ (34a), and hi'ibwa- ‘eat’ (34b), forming lexical causatives with the meanings
‘send’ and ‘feed’ respectively. In the next section I show the analysis.
2.3.3. Analysis
Lexical causatives with -tua are exactly like the root causatives discussed in chapter 3 in
that they are non Voice-bundling and Root-selecting in Pylkkänen’s (2002, 2008) terms.
In this sense we can say that -tua forms lexical causatives whenever it directly embeds
roots rather than events (a structure containing, at least, a vP).
Now, there are some differences between different types of lexical causatives with
I am indebted to Heidi Harley (p.c.) for ideas and suggestions regarding the analysis in (33).
-tua in Hiaki. In (35) I show the –tua causativization of the root hi’ibwa ‘eat’.
(35) –tua may be root selecting
vPCAUSE Voiceº
Maria uusi-ta hi’ibwa-tua
Maria child-acc eat-cause
‘Maria is feeding the child’
In (35) the causativizing suffix -tua directly embeds a root (ie., √HI’IBWA ‘eat’).126
Some comparison between structures such as the one in (35) and (zero) lexical causatives
is necessary. I repeat an example of (zero) lexical causative in (36).
(36) Mercedes uusi-ta ropt-a
Mercedes child-trans roll-trans
‘Mercedes is rolling up the child’
The structure in (35) has an additional argument if compared with the sentence in (36).
This is so since, in addition to the Causers Maria (35) and Mercedes (36), and the objects
uusi-ta ‘child (35) and hi’i- ‘thing’ (36), the sentence in (36) contains a second internal
argument, uusi-ta ‘the child’. In (36) this argument appears in the specifier position of
√P, which I identify with a goal position, reminiscent of Larson’s (1988) analysis of
In Pylkkänen’s work, the non Voice-bundling nature of Hiaki –tua would make
this possible. That is, because Voiceº and vºCAUSE appear in separate projections, they
The root √HI’IBWA contains an incorporated unspecified object hi’i, while the root for ‘eat’ is √BWA.
would allow room for the licensing of independent arguments in their specifier positions.
Thus, in the case of (36), the higher internal argument uusi-ta ‘child-acc’ would appear in
the specifier position of vPCAUSE. This argument would be distinguished from the causer,
Maria, that would appear as the specifier of Voiceº. I show this in (37).
(37) –tua as selecting internal arguments in its specifier position
vPCAUSE Voiceº
Maria uusi-ta hi’ibwa-tua
Maria child-acc eat-cause
‘Maria is feeding the child’
The diagram in (37) represents the structure of the lexical causative hi’ibwatua ‘feed’
under Pylkkänen’s analysis. That is, although verbal roots like hi’ibwa ‘eat’ are normally
associated with external arguments (ie., the person that does the eating, uusi-ta ‘the child’
in (37)), this root may be causativized, in Pylkkänen’s account, in languages in which the
causative head vºCAUSE is non Voice-bundling, like Japanese (and Hiaki). In (37) vºCAUSE
may then introduce an argument that is independent from the external argument
(introduced by Voiceº).
Under this account, Voice-bundling languages like English would not be able to
license structures such as (37) because, being Voice-bundling, English vºCAUSE would fail
to introduce arguments of its own. Only Voiceº could. Nonetheless, the analysis in (37),
based on the non Voice-bundling properties of Hiaki (as opposed to English) is
problematic. This is so since English, too, has lexical causatives such as feed in which a
transitive verb, the suppletive eat, has been root causativized along with its two
arguments, the internal argument (ie., the food) and the goal argument (ie., the person
being given food).127
For this reason, an analysis à la Larson (1988) as in (36), whereby the root has
two intermediate projections, one for each argument, more adequately accounts for the
fact that English and Hiaki may equally exhibit (double object) lexical causatives.
Other transitive lexical causatives with -tua exhibit roots that take full
complements. This is the case of vit-tua ‘see-cause’. This lexical causative is interesting
as it derives two idiomatic interpretations, ‘show’ or ‘send’, depending on whether it
licenses a higher internal argument or a goal argument. I show both structures in (38).
(38) vit-tua ‘see-cause’
a. ‘show’
vPCAUSE Voiceº
Thanks to Heidi Harley (p.c.) for pointing this out to me.
Maria Santos-ta uusi-ta vit-tua
Maria Santos-acc child-acc see-cause
‘Maria is showing Santos the child’
b. ‘send’
Maria Santos-ta-u uusi-ta vit-tua
Maria Santos-acc-to child-acc see-cause
‘Maria is sending the child to Santos’
The diagrams in (38) are distinguished in the nature of the argument licensed as the
higher internal argument of √P. In (38a), the DP Santos-ta ‘Santos-acc’ occupies this
position. This argument is interpreted as an ‘internal’ affected argument and the lexical
causative receives the idiomatic interpretation of ‘show’. In (38b), the goal PP
Santos-ta-u ‘Santos-acc-to’ occupies the higher internal argument position. This
argument is interpreted as a goal and the lexical causative receives the idiomatic
interpretation of ‘send’.128 This is proof that the causatives discussed in this section are
In the next section I show a second piece of evidence that structures in which -tua
embeds roots are lexical. The data comes from the productive causativization with -tua
and -tevo of structures such as those in (38).
In Larson’s (1988) analysis, PP goals were analyzed as lower than the internal arguments of roots.
However I analyze the goal PP Santos-ta-u ‘Santos-acc-to’ as higher than the internal argument uusi-ta
‘child-acc’ as the word order reflects the fact that the internal argument is consistently closer to the root,
both in double object constructions (38a) and accusative-goal constructions (38b).
2.4. Lexical causatives with –tua may be embedded by productive -tua
All the lexical causatives with -tua seen in the previous section may be further
causativized by productive causatives -tua and -tevo. In the next example I show the
productive causativization with -tua of vit-tua ‘show’ and hi’ibwa-tua ‘feed’. 129
(39) Productive –tua may embed lexical causatives with –tua
a. vit-tua ‘show’ + -tua
Ne [uka uusi-ta Santos-ta hiohtei-ta vit]-tua-k
1sg det(acc) child-acc Santos-acc letter-acc see-cause-perf
‘I made the kid show Santos his homework’
b. hi’ibwa-tua ‘feed’ + -tua
Uu ye’e mahta-wa-po ya’ut [ume yee mahta-me ume ili uusi-m hi’ibwa]-tua-k
Det people teach-pass-at leader det(pl) people teach-rel det(pl) little child-pl eat-cause-perf
The principal made the teachers feed the children’
The sentences in (39) exhibit the productive causativization of lexical causatives vit-tua
‘show’ (39a) and hi’ibwa-tua ‘feed’ (39b). In the next subsection I compare the argument
structure of the causativized lexical causatives in (39) with their non causativized
2.4.1. The argument structure
Compare the sentences in (39) with their non causativized counterparts in (40).
Although only one causative suffix –tua is morphologically present in these sentences, the number of
arguments present in the structures (the matrix causer ne ‘I’, the matrix causee/embedded causer uka uusita ‘the child’, the embedded causee Santos-ta ‘Santos’, and the embedded internal argument hiohtei-ta ‘the
letter’ (39a)) suggests that two causative heads participate in the structure of these sentences. In section
2.4.2. below I discuss the apparent morphological prohibition on having –tua-tua combinations in Hiaki.
(40) Lexical causatives with –tua
a. lexical vit-tua ‘show’
U uusi Santos-ta hiohtei-ta vit-tua-k
det child Santos-acc letter-acc see-cause-perf
‘The kid showed Santos his homework’
b. lexical hi’ibwa-tua ‘feed’
Ume yee mahta-me ume ili uusi-m hi’ibwa-tua-k
det(pl) people teach-rel det(pl) little child-pl eat-cause-perf
‘The teachers fed the children’
If compared with the sentences in (39), the sentences in (40) are missing one argument,
the matrix causer introduced by the productive causative -tua: the first singular pronoun
ne ‘I’ (39a) and Uu ye’e mahta-wa-po ya’ut ‘the principal (lit. the leader of the place
where people are taught, ie., the leader of the school)’ (39b).
Both sentences in (39) and (40) include, in addition, all the arguments licensed by
the lexical causative suffix tua: the ‘lexical’ causers (ie., uka uusi-ta ‘the(acc) child-acc’
(39a) / u uusi ‘the child’ (40a)), the ‘lexical’ causees (ie., Santos-ta ‘Santos-acc’ (39a,
40a)), and the embedded objects (ie., hiohtei-ta ‘chicken-acc’ (29a, 40a)).
It is clear that the sentences in (39) are productive causatives of lexical causatives
with –tua. Nonetheless, the sentences in (39) seem to be lacking one instance of the
causative suffix –tua, as they only show one instance of this suffix while too many
arguments are being licensed. In the next subsection, I discuss the Hiaki morphological
restriction of Hiaki that triggers this ‘anomaly’.
2.4.2. A morphological restriction
Despite the differences regarding the argument structures of the sentences in (39) and
(40) just discussed, the verbal morphology exhibited by (39) and (40) is identical: the
roots √VIT- ‘see’ and √HI’IBWA ‘eat’ are suffixed by just one instance of -tua in both cases.
I claim that this is due to a morphological restriction that has to do with Hiaki
morphology. Such restriction, haplology (Bloomfield (1896)), consists of the elimination
of a syllable in the context of an identical syllable. The phenomenon is not exclusive of
Hiaki, but it may be found in other languages, such as Japanese or even English (e.g.,
*the boys’s, as in Jespersen (1954)). In Hiaki, one instance of the phenomenon shows in
double causatives with –tua, as a double morphological instantiation of the two causative
suffixes is prohibited. The ungrammaticality of (41) illustrates this restriction.
(41) *vit-tua-tua
*Inepo [Maria-ta Peo-ta-u hiotei-ta (a)=vit-tua]-tua-k
1sg maria-acc pete-acc-to letter-acc (3sg)=see-cause-cause-perf
‘I made Maria send a letter to Pete’
The double causative in (41) is ungrammatical, but it becomes grammatical if one
instance of -tua becomes morphologically silent, everything else (ie., the argument
arrangement) remaining the same.130
(42) Inepo [Maria-ta Peo-ta-u hiotei-ta (a)=vit]-tua-k
1sg maria-acc pete-acc-to letter-acc (3sg)=see-cause-cause-perf
‘I made Maria send a letter to Pete’
Despite the morphological restriction just illustrated, the sentence in (42) syntactically
contains two instances of the causativizing suffix -tua, one lexical one productive. I show
I have not researched whether haplology also applies to double instances of other suffixes but it should
be expected, given (42).
the analysis in the next subsection.
2.4.3. Analysis
The structure in (43) shows the productive causativization with –tua of –tua lexical
‘to Pete’
-tua (lexical)
Inepo Maria-ta Peo-ta-u hiotei-ta vit-tua
1sg Maria-acc Pete-acc-to chicken-acc see-cause
‘I am making Maria send Pete a chicken’
The structure in (43) shows the productive causativization of the lexical causative
sentence Maria Peo-ta-u hiotei-ta vit-tua ‘Maria is sending Pete a chicken’. As the
structure shows, the productive causative -tua and the lexical causative -tua are two
distinct causative heads. Each head occupies a different syntactic position: productive
-tua embeds an eventive structure containing Voiceº and the vPCAUSE that contains lexical
–tua in its head position. Lexical –tua, in turn, embeds a root (√VIT- ‘see’).131
I assume that each of these causative heads vºCAUSE is of the –tua type morphologically speaking (as
opposed to zero (Ø) because they are independently realized as –tua. That is, the lexical causative vit-tua
‘send’ consistently exhibits the suffix –tua (otherwise, the interpretation of the root vit- would be ‘to see’).
Conversely, direct productive causatives are consistently realized by –tua, as in Maria Santos-ta vuiti-tua
In terms of argument structure, each of the causative heads is responsible for
licensing specific material. For instance, the productive causative licenses an external
argument, the causer, inepo ‘I’, in the specifier position of matrix VoiceP. The lexical
causative, in turn, licenses its own external argument, in the specifier of embedded
VoiceP as well as the root √VIT ‘see’ as its complement. From other lexical causative
structures seen above, lexical causative roots can license two internal arguments. Thus,
√VIT ‘see’ licenses the goal PP Peo-ta-u ‘to Pete’ as well as the internal argument hioteita ‘the chicken’. Even though just one overt -tua suffix is allowed by Hiaki morphology
in double causatives, both causative heads must be present in the syntax of these
2.5. Lexical causatives with –tua embedded by productive causative -tevo
The morphological restriction just seen is not observed if the lexical causative appears
embedded by a causative head with different morphological realization, such as -tevo
(44). In such constructions, both causative suffixes are obligatorily overt for the wellformedness of the sentences.
(44) a. Uu hitevi ume ye’e hi-hito-m ko’oe-m-ta hi’ibwa-tua-tevo-k
Det doctor det(pl) people red-cure-rel pain-rel-acc eat-cause(lex)-cause(ind)-perf
‘The doctor had the nurses feed the patients’
b.*Heidi Art-ta hi’ibwa-tevo-k
Heidi Art-acc eat-cause(ind)-perf
‘Heidi had Art fed yesterday’
‘Maria Santos-acc run(sg.subj)-cause, Maria made Santos run’. For this reason, I assume that each of the
positions in (43) involve a vCAUSE phonologically realized as –tua and that the morphological restriction
discussed in this section prevents one of these suffixes to receive phonological content at Spell-Out.
In (44a) the productive causative -tevo embeds the lexical causative hi’ibwa-tua ‘feed’.
As in the productive causative cases discussed above, -tevo introduces a causer and
embeds the event involving the lexical causative with -tua. In this case, both causative
suffixes -tua and -tevo are necessarily overt for the structure to be well-formed, as the
ungrammaticality of (44b) indicates, where the lexical suffix -tua has been omitted.
2.6. Summary
In this section, I have discussed the most salient points concerning the syntax of
causatives with -tua. First I discussed the syntax of the direct productive causative suffix
–tua. I showed that this causative type is phase-selecting and non Voice-bundling in
Pylkkänen’s terms. Its phase-selecting nature was demonstrated in that its complement
admits (and normally requires) the presence of an embedded subject or causee. Its non
Voice-bundling properties were observed in passive contexts, as the passive and the overt
causative suffixes each need to occupy separate heads in the structure. I showed that
productive causatives with –tua may also receive the meaning ‘let’ as well as embed nonverbal complements.
In the second part of this section, I focused on lexical causatives with –tua. That
is, -tua may be a type of causative head that is root-selecting. Because this causative is
lexical, it may only embed certain roots and the resulting structure receives idiomatic
interpretation (ie., ‘send’ for vit-tua ‘see-cause’). These roots are normally associated
with roots that are able to license more than one internal argument.
In the last part of this section, I have shown combinations involving Hiaki lexical
causatives with -tua and productive causatives -tua and -tevo. I have shown that, despite
the morphological restriction in Hiaki against the morphological iteration of the same
suffix, the combination of -tua productive and -tua lexical causatives is possible in the
The result is a structure that shows an augmented argument structure with respect
to non-causative counterparts while the verbal morphology appears to be lacking one of
its suffixes. If the causative combination involves suffixes with different morphology, as
is the case with the combination –tua (lexical) + -tevo (productive), both suffixes are
obligatorily overt. In the next sections I concentrate on the syntax of indirect causative
3. The syntax of –tevo
3.1. The indirect causative –tevo is verb-selecting
The main features of indirect causative –tevo were introduced in section 1. This causative
suffix is different from its direct counterpart –tua in the number of arguments each head
embeds. Recall that whereas –tua requires an embedded subject or causee, -tevo typically
prohibits it.
(45) a. Direct causative –tua
aapo [si yee va-vamih]-tua
3sg [very people red-hurry]-cause
‘He always makes people hurry up’
b. Indirect causative –tevo
aapo [hiva va-vamih]-tevo
3sg [always red-hurry-]cause(ind)
‘He always has (people) hurry up’
The sentences in (45) exhibit two examples of the productive causativization of events
involving the root √VAMIH- ‘hurry up’. In (45a) the structure embedded by -tua includes
the causee, si yee ‘many people’. Its –tevo counterpart, in contrast, excludes the causee
from the structure it embeds, as (45b) shows.
Recall, from section 1, that the presence of a causee argument is generally banned
from –tevo sentences:
(46) Aapo hiva [(*yee) va-vamih-]tevo
3sg always [people red-hurry-]cause(ind)
‘He’s always having (*people) hurry)’
In this section, I argue that the contrast exhibited between –tua and –tevo is derived from
differences in the selectional properties of each of these heads. In section 2, I explained
that the obligatory presence of the causee argument with direct causatives with –tua is
due to the phase-selecting nature of this causative head. That is, the complement of
productive causative -tua necessarily involves Voiceº, which is the head responsible for
introducing external arguments, as discussed throughout this dissertation. In the next
subsection, I offer an analysis of sentences involving the indirect causative suffix –tevo,
based on the facts observed.
3.2. –tevo: an analysis
In (47), I show the structure I propose for –tevo, based on the analysis proposed in Harley
(2007) and in Tubino & Harley (to appear).
Aapo va-vamih-tevo
3sg red-hurry-cause(ind)
‘He’s always making (peope) hurry up’
The diagram in (47) shows the structure of the sentence in (45b).132 I analyze the
causative head –tevo as non Voice-bundling and verb selecting. I address these two
characteristics one at a time.
3.2.1. –tevo is non Voice-bundling
The indirect causative head –tevo is non Voice-bundling, just like –tua. Although –tevo is
non Voice-bundling, a causer argument, aapo ‘he’ in (47), is syntactically present in
active indirect causatives in Hiaki (just as is the case with –tua). Nonetheless, -tevo
sentences have passive counterparts that involve the passive suffix –wa, just like in the
case of the passivization of –tua:
(48) Manwe hitto-tevo-wa-k
Manuel cure-cause(ind)-pass-perf
‘Someone had Manuel receive medical treatment’
The sentence in (48) shows the passivization of an indirect causative with -tevo. I show
the structure in (49).
For ease of exposition, I ignore the aspectual components of the sentence, the adverbial hiva ‘always’ as
well as the reduplication on the verbal root, which in Hiaki expresses habitual events.
vPCAUSE Voiceº
Manwe hitto-tevo-wa
Manuel treat-cause(ind)
‘(Someone) had Manuel receive medical treatment’
In (49) the passive suffix –wa and the indirect causative –tevo both need a syntactic
position in which to be realized, independent from each other. In a voice-bundling
configuration type, two independent Voiceº and vºCAUSE positions are not possible.
Therefore, -tevo, too, must be non voice-bundling.
3.2.2. –tevo is verb-selecting
The main contrast between indirect productive causatives with –tevo and their direct
counterparts with –tua is in their complement selecting properties. While –tua is phaseselecting (it selects a complement that contains the external-argument-introducing head
Voiceº), as seen in section 2, the indirect causative head –tevo is verb-selecting and its
complement lacks Voiceº, as shown in (49). This explains why, in most cases, the
presence of an overt causee is excluded from Hiaki causative configurations involving
–tevo. The contrast between –tua and –tevo regarding their complement properties is
seen, for instance, in sentences containing complements that are correferent with the
matrix subjects (the causers).
(50) a. tua
Neei [Art-ta nei sua]-tua
1sgi [Art-acc 1sgi]-cause
‘Ii’m making Art take care of mei’
b. tevo
Inepoi [inoi sua]-tevo
1sgi [1sg(reflex)i]-cause(ind)
‘Ii’m having myselfi taken care of
(e.g., I’m having somebody guard me)’
Both sentences in (50) contain correferent arguments in the matrix and embedded
clauses. The subject of –tua (the causer nee ‘I’) in (50a) is correferent with the embedded
object ne ‘me’. This object appears in pronominal form because the correferent elements
are not in the same binding domain. That is, the embedded external argument Art-ta ‘Artacc’(licensed by embedded Voice) binds the embedded object ne ‘I’ and this element is
pronominal because these two elements are not correferent.
The subject of –tevo (the causer inepo ‘I’) in (50b) is correferent with the
embedded object ino ‘myself’. This object appears in reflexive form because it is in the
same binding domain as the matrix subject. The binding configuration created in this
sentence is the consequence of the absence of an embedded external argument in
structures involving –tevo. That is, because these constructions lack an embedded subject
or causee, the matrix subject or causer is in the same binding domain as the embedded
object in sentences with –tevo, while this is impossible in sentences with –tua, due to the
syntactic presence of an embedded subject or causee. In the next section, I offer more
evidence in favor of this analysis.
3.3. The causee is excluded from –tevo causatives
In this section, I show a few more tests in favor of an analysis in which –tevo does not
embed external arguments. The tests I offer next are based on two phenomena typical of
the syntax of Hiaki: a) the promotion of the object to a passive subject, b) number
agreement between suppletive verbs and implicit subjects.
3.3.1. Subjects of causativized passives
When –tua causatives are passivized, the active causee (uu hitevi ‘the doctor’ in (51a))
becomes the passive subject (51b). This demonstrates that a causee argument is
syntactically present in the structure of causatives with -tua.
(51) a. –tua (active)
Maria hitevi-ta uusi-ta hitto-tua-k
b. –tua (passive)
Uu hitevi uusi-ta hitto-tua-wa-k
M. doctor-acc child-acc treat-cause-perf
det doctor child-acc treat-cause-pass-perf
‘Maria made the doctor treat the child’
‘The doctor was made to treat the child’
As we will see in detail in section 3.4., some –tevo causatives exhibit apparent causees
(52) Maria hitevi-ta uusi-ta hitto-tevo-k
Maria doctor-acc child-acc treat-cause(ind)-perf
‘Maria had the doctor treat the child’
In (52) the accusative argument hitevita ‘the doctor’ is licensed in an indirect causative
with –tevo. This argument is interpreted as a causee argument, which could pose a
problem for the analysis just proposed, as no apparent position in the structure embedded
by –tevo is available for the syntactic licensing of this element.
Nonetheless, when –tevo causatives are passivized, the active causee never
becomes the passive subject. In the sentence in (53), the embedded object uu uusi ‘the
child’ becomes the passive subject, even when the embedded stem hitto- ‘treat’ is among
the set of stems that optionally allow overt ‘causees’.
(53) Uu uusi hitto-tevo-wa-k
det child treat-cause(ind)-pass-perf
‘Somebody had the child treated’
The sentence in (53) indicates that the structure embedded by –tevo does not include
Voiceº. Were this the case, the embedded external argument would be present and hence
promoted to passive subject, just as happens in sentences involving –tua (51). The fact
that the passivization of sentences with –tevo derives structures with no embedded
causee, as in (53), means that embedded Voice is lacking in such structures.133
Next, I offer further structural evidence against the optionality of causees in –tevo
causatives, this time regarding subject-verb agreement.
3.3.2. Number agreement between Causees and intransitive suppletive verbs
In general, Hiaki verbs do not exhibit subject-verb agreement. However, certain
intransitive verbs do enter suppletive number agreement with their subjects:
(54) a. Uu uusi aman vuite
b. Ume uusi-m aman {tenne /*vuite}
det child(sg) there run(sg.subj)
det(pl) child-pl there {run(pl.subj) /*run(sg.subj)}
‘The child is running’
‘The children are running’
The singular and plural forms of the verb vuite/tenne ‘run’ exhibit an alternation in (54)
In section 3.4. we will see that if –tevo embeds certain lexical causatives such as hitto- ‘treat’, the
embedded structure might include a ‘second’ internal argument that may be licensed in the specifier
position of the lexical causative –tua. The fact that sentences like (53) are possible in which the ‘second’
internal argument is lacking suggests that this element is not required as part of the argument structure of
these verbs, yet its presence is structurally possible.
to show number agreement with the singular subject, uu uusi ‘the child’ in (54a), and the
plural subject ume uusim ‘the children’ (54b). Notice that the sentence in (54b) is
ungrammatical due to an agreement clash between the singular form of the verb ‘run’,
vuite, and the plural subject ume uusim ‘the children’.
At the same time, Hiaki allows the passivization of intransitive verbs, resulting in
subjectless passive sentences, as (55) shows134.
(55) pahko-po yi’i-wa-k
ceremony-loc dance-pass-perf
‘There was dancing at the ceremony’
Jelinek 1997: 181[7b]
When intransitive suppletive verbs (ie. (54)) are passivized, they establish ‘default’
agreement with an implicit subject, after passivization eliminates the only active
argument from the structure. The sentences in (56) show that ‘default’ agreement with
implicit subjects is always plural (tenni), never singular (vuiti), in Hiaki.
(56) Aman {tenni/*vuiti}-wa
there {run(pl.subj)/run(sg.subj)}-pass
‘Running is happening there’
Back to causatives, if the suffix –tua embeds an intransitive suppletive stem, agreement
always occurs with the causee. This is shown in (57), where the singular form of the
embedded suppletive verb vuite ‘run(sg.subj)’ (57a) agrees with the singular causee (ie,
the third person singular clitic aa), and a plural causee exhibis plural agreement on the
verb (57b).
It is worth noting that, unlike English, Hiaki disallows overt agents of passives (the equivalent of byphrases), as shown by Escalante (1990).
(57) a. Singular causee – singular verb
Heidi aman aa=vui-vuiti-tua
b. Plural causee – plural verb
Heidi aman am=tenni-tua
Heidi there 3sg=red-run(sg.subj)-cause
Heidi there 3pl=run(pl.subj)-cause
‘Heidi makes him run’
‘Heidi is making them run’
If this same verb appears embedded to the indirect causative –tevo, number agreement is
invariably plural (ie., tenne ‘run(pl.subj)’. Moreover, if the embedded stem appears in its
singular form, vuiti-, the sentence becomes ungrammatical. This is shown in (58).135
(58) a. Plural stem OK
Heidi aman te-tenni-tevo
b. *Singular stem
*Heidi aman vuiti-tevo
Heidi there red-run(pl.subj)-cause(ind)
Heidi there run(sg.subj)-cause(ind)
‘Heidi has people run there)’
‘Heidi is having people run there’
The contrast just seen in (58) shows that syntactic causees are excluded from the structure
of –tevo causatives. Because causees are syntactically absent but semantically implicit in
these structures, the verb embedded by –tevo exhibits plural agreement, just like implicit
external arguments in passive sentences.
In this section, I have shown evidence in favor of the analysis of the indirect
causative –tevo as a verb-selecting head. In the next section, I discuss the syntax of
–tua-tevo combinations.
Notice that the ungrammaticality of the sentence in (58b) has nothing to do with reduplication facts, as
the non-reduplicated version of (58a), shown in (i), stays grammatical.
nee aman tenni-tevo
1sg there run(pl.subj)-cause(ind)
‘I’m having (some people) run’
4. The -tua–tevo causative
There exists the possibility in Hiaki of combining both causative suffixes –tua and –tevo
in one same clause. In (59) I show one sentence involving the direct causative –tua (59a)
and its counterpart involving the causative combination –tua-tevo (59b).
(59) a. Nee uka avion-ta ni’i-tua
1sg det plane-acc fly-cause
‘I’m making the plane fly’
b. Nee uka avion-ta ni’i-tua-tevo
1sg det plane-acc fly-cause-cause(ind)
‘I’m having (somebody) fly the plane’
[Adapted from Harley (2007)]
The sentences in (59) show the contrast between a simplex direct causative with –tua
(59a) and a –tua-tevo causative complex (59b). The direct causative construction with
–tua, in (59a), contains both the causer nee ‘I’ (the main subject) and the causee uka
avionta ‘the plane’, embedded by –tua. In contrast, the combined –tua-tevo causative, in
(59b), exhibits the same number of arguments as the structure in (59a), despite the
presence of two causative heads (rather than just one). This is interesting, since causative
heads are traditionally described as valency increasing mechanisms (as opposed, for
instance, to passive heads, which typically involve valency reduction). In the next
subsection I explain this phenomenon.
4.1. The elimination of the embedded subject in –tua-tevo
In –tua-tevo combinations, –tua appears embedded by –tevo. Because –tevo is verbselecting, the most external argument associated with –tua (ie., the person that flies the
plane in (59b)) is suppressed from the syntax and remains implicit. That is, -tevo embeds
–tua directly, but it does not embed the VoiceP projection that introduces the external
argument associated with –tua. In (60), I show the contrasted syntactic structures of a
simple causative with –tua (60a) with that of the causative complex –tua-tevo (60b).
(60) a. -tua
Aapo uka hamut-ta uka vachi-ta hinu-tua-k
3sg det(acc) woman-acc det(acc) corn-acc buy-cause-perf
‘He made the woman buy the corn’
b. –tua-tevo
aapo Voice’
vPCAUSE Voiceº
vPCAUSE Voiceº
uka hamut-ta
‘det woman-acc’
uka vachi-ta √HINU‘the corn-acc’ ‘buy’
uka hamut-ta Voice’
‘the woman-acc’
vachi-ta √HINU‘corn-acc’ ‘buy’
Aapo uka hamut-ta uka vachi-ta hinu-tua-tevo-k
3sg det(acc) woman-acc det(acc) corn-acc buy-cause-cause(ind)-perf
‘He had the woman made to buy the corn’
Rude (1996: 505[44])
The simplex –tua causative in (60a) introduces both a causer, aapo ‘he’, and an
embedded subject or causee, uka hamut-ta ‘the woman-acc’, as the specifiers of each of
the two VoiceP projections available in the structure, one just above, one just below –tua.
This is typical of the syntax of the direct causative –tua, since this head is phaseselecting.
The double causative tua-tevo in (60b), also contains two VoiceP projections. The
higher VoiceP introduces the main subject of causer, aapo ‘I’, which is equally made
available in (60a). The lower VoiceP, deeply embedded under –tua, introduces the
causee to this causative head, in its specifier position.
Recall from the simplex –tua sentence shown in (59a) that direct causative
constructions typically exhibit both a causee (embedded external argument) and a causer
(matrix external argument). However, because –tua appears embedded under the
causative head –tevo in (60b), it has its own causer suppressed by this head, the
participant that would correspond to the causer of –tua, remaining just semantically
implicit (ie., somebody).
As a result, the sentence in (60b) exhibits two overt arguments (ie., a) the causer of
–tevo and b) the causee of –tua) plus one implicit argument (ie., the causer of –tua /
causee of –tevo).
4.2. –tevo is verb-selecting and –tua is non Voice-bundling
The syntax of sentences involving –tua-tevo causative complexes like the one just seen in
(60b) supports the proposal made here that –tevo is verb-selecting. This is so since the
selectional restrictions of –tevo exclude any subject from appearing as part of the clause
immediately embedded by this causative head, in this case, a direct causastive with -tua.
As we have seen, this ‘suppressed’ subject corresponds to both the causer of –tua,
and the causee of –tevo. For this reason, -tua-tevo combinations contain the same number
of arguments as a simplex –tua causative, although it also contains an implicit embedded
subject, corresponding to the –tevo notional causee. The main idea is, however, that this
notional causee can never appear overtly, simply because –tevo disallows complements
containing external arguments, as demonstrated throughout this chapter.
The syntax of –tua-tevo combinations provides further evidence that causative
heads in Hiaki, such as the direct causative –tua, are non Voice-bundling. Were –tua
Voice-bundling, –tevo could not take it as a complement, as the indirect causative head
cannot take complement heads that require external arguments, as would be the case with
a bundled head Voice/ºvCAUSE.136
In the next section I show cases in which –tevo apparently exhibits what could be
considered an overt causee, and may pose a problem to the analysis proposed in this
chapter for the Hiaki indirect causative. I will argue that many of these cases are, in
reality, further examples of –tua-tevo combinations, and present an underlying structure
identical to the cases just seen.
5. Indirect causatives with seemingly overt causees
The absence of a syntactic causee in sentences with –tevo has been proven in sections 3
and 4. In this section, I show a few cases that may pose a problem to this analysis. These
are cases of causatives with –tevo that nonetheless appear to exhibit overt causees.
5.1. –tevo: an apparent optionality
The prohibition of explicit causees in indirect causatives with -tevo seems to reflect the
general pattern exhibited by these structures in Hiaki. Nonetheless, there exist some rare
Thanks to Heidi Harley (p.c.) for pointing this out to me.
cases involving a reduced set of transitive and unaccusative stems ( hitto- ‘cure, treat’,
supe-tua ‘dress’, hi’ibwa-tua ‘feed’, yevih- ‘arrive(sg.subj)’ and ne’e ‘fly’ respectively),
which may optionally allow the explicit presence of Causees as they appear embedded by
(61) a. Maria [hitevi-ta uusi-ta hitto]-tevo-k
Maria [doctor-acc child-acc treat]-cause(ind)-perf
‘Maria had the child treated (by the doctor)’
b. Uu hitevi [ume ye’e hi-hito-me uka ko’oke-m-ta supe-tua]-tevo-k
Det doctor [det(pl) people red-cure-rel det(acc) pain-rel-acc dress-]caus(ind)-perf
‘The doctors had the nurses dress the patients’
c. Uu hitevi [ume ye’e hi-hito-m ko’oe-m-ta hi’ibwa-tua]-tevo-k
Det doctor [det(pl) people red-cure-rel pain-rel-acc eat-cause-]cause(ind)-perf
‘The doctor had the nurses feed the patients’
In (61), the presence of the overt causees (boldfaced) does not result in the
ungrammaticality of the indirect causatives with –tevo. This is surprising, given the clear
restriction seen (in sections 3 and 4) above against the very presence of this element in
seemingly identical structures.
One shared characteristic may be observed in the sentences in (61b-c). The indirect
causative –tevo allows embedded subjects/causees in structures in which the embedded
verb is a lexical causative with –tua, hi’ibwa-tua ‘feed’ (61b) and supe-tua ‘dress’ (61c).
I claim that what licenses the ‘extra’ argument in these cases is the fact that –tevo is, in
reality, embedding a productive causative with –tua that in turns embeds a lexical
causative with –tua. That is, these are one more example of the –tua-tevo combination
discussed in section 4. The difference is that, additionally, the –tua-tevo combination
embeds a further lexical causative with –tua. Nonetheless, just one –tua shows overtly, as
a consequence of the case of haplology discussed (in section 2.4.2.) above that prevents
the overt morphological realization of –tua-tua combinations. In (62) below, I show the
analysis of a sentence involving the –tua causativization of the embedded lexical
causative hi’ibwa-tua ‘feed’, further causativized by –tevo.
-tua (productive)
-tua (lexical)
hi’i- √BWA‘thing’ ‘eat’
Maala Maria-ta uusi-ta hi’ibwa-tua-tevo
mother Maria-acc child-acc eat-cause-cause(ind)
‘Mother is having Maria feed the child’
The diagram in (62) shows the structure of a sentence that exhibits the following
causative combination: hi’ibwa-tua-tua-tevo ‘eat-cause(lexical)-cause(productive)cause(indirect)’.
Because –tevo is present, the embedded productive causative with –tua cannot have
a causer (i.e. a matrix subject). Nonetheless, because the higher causative with –tua is
productive (i.e., phase selecting), it embeds a structure containing VoiceP, that licenses
an external argument (i.e., Maria-ta ‘Maria’). This is the argument that is perceived as
the ‘causee’ of –tevo, but it is, in fact, the causee of productive causative –tua.
Because the productive causative with -tua directly embeds a root (ie., lexical)
causative with –tua (ie., hi’ibwatua ‘feed’), only one –tua suffix may surface in
morphology, an instance of haplology in Hiaki. The rest of the arguments appearing in
(62) are licensed as part of the internal structure of the lexical causative with hi’ibwa-tua
‘eat-cause, feed’.
The structure of (62) may be compared with sentences such as the one in (39b),
whereby lexical causative hi’ibwatua ‘feed’ is embedded by productive causative –tua. I
repeat it in (63).
(63) [Uu ye’e mahta-wa-po ya’ut] [ume yee mahta-me] [ume ili uusi-m] [hi’i]bwa-tua-k
Det people teach-pass-at leader det(pl) people teach-rel det(pl) little child-pl eat-cause-perf
‘The principal made the teachers feed the children’
The sentence in (63) exhibits a causative with a single –tua suffix that appears to license
too many arguments (each argument appears in the sentence between brackets): a) the
matrix Causer, uu ye’e mahta-wapo yaut ‘the principal’, b) the causee ume yee mahta-me
‘the teachers’; c) the higher internal argument ume ili uusim ‘the little kids’, associated
with the lexical causative hi’ibwa-tua ‘feed’, and d) the incorporated internal argument
hi’i ‘thing’. Typically, a single productive causative with –tua licenses three arguments:
a) a causer, b) a causee; c) an embedded object. In section 2.4.2., I explained that the
arguments in (63) are all properly licensed by two different causative heads with -tua,
one –tua being productive, the other –tua being lexical. The sentence in (63) is then a
case of a double –tua causative that exhibits the morphological realization of just one of
the –tua causative heads.
The structure in (63) may be further causativized by –tevo (as in the cases discussed
in section 4). Because in (63) just one –tua suffix surfaces morphologically, -tua-tevo
combinations based on sentences like (63) will also involve the morphological realization
of one rather than two –tua suffixes. This is what eliminates any evidence that –tevo is
indeed causativizing a double causative with –tua, consequently giving the illusion that
–tevo optionally licenses embedded subjects (ie., causees), just like –tua does.
Summing up, in sentences such as (63), -tevo does not license an embedded subject
or causee, but productive –tua licenses a causee as part of the structure it embeds.
The sentence in (61a) exhibits a structure in which the verb embedded by –tevo is
hitto- ‘treat’. Even though its morphological form does not transparently exhibit the
lexical causative –tua, its syntactic realization in (61a) suggests that this form may be a
grammaticalization of some lexical causative (e.g., hi?-tua) that has evolved into its
present form hitto-.137
In the following subsection, I discuss cases in which indirect causatives with –tevo
take unaccusative complements, whose embedded subjects are explicit.
5.2. Internal arguments of yepsa/yevih-/yahi-‘arrive’ in –tevo causatives
Compare the following sentences exhibiting the verb yepsa ‘arrive(’ embedded by
-tevo in (64a) and by –tua in (64b).
(64) a. Maala [aa yevih]-tevo-k uka yoem-ta
mother 3sg arrive(sg.subj)-cause(ind)-perf det(acc) man-acc
‘Mother had the man brought (lit. arrived) (eg. to the house)’
This idea is both Heidi Harley’s and mine, although it is just a speculation. Further research on the
evolution of Hiaki and Uto-Aztecan needs to be made in order to properly formulate this speculation as a
b. Hose [Peo-ta lauti yevih]-tua-k
Joe Pete-acc early arrive(sg.subj)-cause-perf
‘ Joe made Pete arrive early’
The indirect causative with –tevo in (64a) takes a complement headed by the
unaccusative stem yepsa ‘arrive’. Unlike other indirect causatives with intransitive verbs
as complements, the one in (64a) licenses an ‘extra’ embedded argument, the accusative
3rd singular pronoun aa, which is doubled by the accusative DP uka yoemta ‘the man’.
This configuration looks identical to that in the direct causative sentence with -tua,
especially regarding the number of arguments it licenses: both sentences in (64) license
one embedded argument, the accusative DP Peota ‘Pete’.
The potential problem that the –tevo sentence in (64a) raises for the analysis
proposed here has to do with the overt presence of the embedded subject. This is so since
vP complements of –tevo should be ‘subjectless’, as seen so far. Nonetheless, the ‘extra’
argument is in fact licit in the structure of (64a), because it has been base-generated as a
complement of the root √YEVIH- ‘arrive(sg.subj)’ rather than by an embedded VoiceP
projection. I illustrate this fact in (65).
uka yoem-ta √YEVIH‘the man-acc’ ‘arrive(sg.subj)’
Maala aa yevih-tevo uka yoem-ta
mother 3sg arrive(sg.subj)-cause(ind) the(acc) man-acc
‘Mother is having the man brought in’
In (65), the verb embedded by –tevo is the unaccusative yepsa ‘arrive(sg.subj)’. The
subjects of unaccusative verbs are not introduced as external arguments, by Voice, but
they are internal arguments that are introduced as the complements of verbal roots.138
Thus, the embedded subject in (65), aa/ uka yoemta ‘3sg/the man(acc)’ appears in the
syntax as the complement of the embedded root, √YEVIH- ‘arrive’. This explains why, in
(65), this element is not suppressed by the syntax of –tevo, but it appears overtly in the
Then, if direct causative sentences with -tua (64b) have the same number of overt
arguments as their –tevo counterparts (provided their complement involves unaccusative
verbs like yepsa ‘arrive’), this is because, in both cases, the embedded subjects have been
syntactically introduced by the embedded verb.
There is, however, a contrast between the –tevo sentence in (64a) and the –tua
sentence in (64b): the presence of an implicit causee (eg. by somebody) is only available
in the case of the indirect causative in (64a). Or inversely, an implicit causee is not
accessible from the semantics of the direct causative with –tua in (64b). This contrast is
easily understood if we assume that, only in the case of (64b), the embedded internal
argument may occupy the VoiceP position made available in the structure as part of the
complement of –tua, while this is impossible in the case of (64a), in which the only
For further details on the syntax of unaccusative verbs see Perlmutter (1978)
Notice that, although the internal argument in (65) has been base-generated as the complement of the
root, it can still receive accusative case from the embedded vP. This is what happens in other cases in
which -tevo embeds transitive complements: the embedded objects still receive accusative case, presumably
from embedded vº (i).
Asuka-ta tu-tuh-tevo-ka dulse-ta yaa-k
Sugar-acc red-grind-cause(ind)-ppl sweet-acc make-perf
‘Having had the sugar ground, he made candy’
Dedrick & Casad (1999)
available position for the embedded argument is as an internal argument to the vP clause
embedded by –tevo.
It seems clear that it is the internal structure of the material embedded by –tevo that
allows the ‘extra’ argument. In here, it is the internal structure of the unaccusative verb
yepsa ‘arrive’ that is responsible for the presence of the ‘extra’ argument, which is
misleadingly perceived as an external argument embedded by –tevo (64a). We saw in the
previous subsection that a similar explanation accounts for the presence of the perceived
‘extra’ argument in indirect causative clauses embedding productive causatives of hitto
‘treat’ or hi’ibwatua ‘feed’. It looks, then, that it is the internal structure of the material
embedded by -tevo that make available multiple internal positions to license internal
The sentence in (66) presents a potential problem to an account in which causees of
causatives of unaccusatives are actually internal arguments of the embedded roots.140
(66) Inepo aman yahi-tevo-k
1sg there arrive(pl.subj)-cause(ind)-perf
‘I had (eg. some people) brought (lit. arrived) there’
The sentence in (66) exhibits only one overt argument, the causer inepo ‘I’. Neither the
causee (it is implicit, ‘by somebody’) nor the internal argument (also implicit) are overtly
expressed. In the case of the causee, we know its absence is due to the syntax of the
causative head –tevo. In the case of the internal argument of yahi- ‘arrive’, its absence
It is not clear whether the adverbial aman ‘there’ is an argument or an adjunct in Hiaki sentences, as in
many cases it is seen by native speakers as ‘necessary’ for sentences to be fully correct. This particularity
of Hiaki is apparently shared by the whole Uto-Aztecan family (Jane Hill (p.c.)). Further research is
necessary regarding this issue. For the moment, I will for now treat aman as an adjunct rather than an
contradicts the explanation just given to account for its presence in (64a). In this sense,
the sentence in (66) behaves just as any other intransitive sentence embedded by –tevo,
suppressing embedded subjects.
But this cannot be the case. We saw in section 3.3.2. that, in Hiaki, certain verbs
such as yepsa ‘arrive’ agree in number with their subjects. We saw that if the subject is
implicit the agreement in the verb is invariably plural. This is precisely what happens in
(66), in which the number on the embedded verb yahi- ‘arrive’ is plural, in agreement
with an implicit subject, its implicit internal argument (eg. some people). I offer an
illustration in (67).
Inepo aman yahi-tevo
1sg there arrive(pl.subj)-cause(ind)
‘I had people brought there’
The structure in (67) shows that unaccusative verbs in Hiaki, such as yepsa/yaha ‘arrive’
may have syntactically suppressed arguments, but these arguments are semantically
implicit internal arguments that trigger number agreement with the verbs that license
Yet, certain direct and indirect causative sentences involving yepsa
‘arrive(sg.subj)’ exhibit parallel structures in which there does not seem to be any
indication of the presence of any implicit argument in the complement of –tevo:
(68) a. Kaaro-m hiva si vu-vu’uria. Kiali’ikun vato’o-raa-ta kaa lauti yahi-tevo-k
car-pl always very red-multiply in.baptism-avzr-acc neg early arrive(pl)cause(ind)-perf
‘The heavy traffic had the people arrive late’
b. Kaaro-m hiva si vu-vu’uria. Kiali’ikun vato’o-raa-ta kaa lauti yahi-tua-k
car-pl always very red-multiply in.baptism-avzr-acc neg early arrive(pl)cause-perf
‘The heavy traffic made the people arrive late’
In (68), the accusative argument, vato’oraata ‘the people (lit. the baptized ones)’, appears
to be the genuine causee of either structure embedded by –tua or –tevo. In this sense, it
seems that -tevo (68a) is working in exactly the same way as its direct counterpart –tua
(68b), which raises a problem for the proposal. In other words, there does not seem to be
any implied argument that stands for a syntactically unrealized causee in the case of the
sentence with –tevo in (68a).
I do not have a clear answer for this problem. It might be the case that
unaccusatives that are embedded by causatives may exhibit implicit causees with –tevo or
even explicit causees with –tua just optionally. Then, the argument vato’oraata ‘the
people (lit. the baptized ones)’ is base generated as the internal argument of yepsa
‘arrive’ in both sentences in (68), but none of the causative suffixes exhibit a causee
argument, including the sentence with –tua in (68b), due to the unaccusative nature of the
embedded root.
In other cases such as (64) or (66) above, the sentences with -tevo allow implicit
causees. Since I do not have enough data supporting this hypothesis, especially direct
causatives of unaccusatives exhibiting explicit causees in addition to the internal
arguments, I leave this subject for future research.
5.3. The passive interpretation of ne’e ‘fly’ as the complement of –tevo
Some intransitive verbs embedded by –tevo (eg. ne’e ‘fly’) may receive a passive
interpretation when allowing complement DPs:
a. Uu uusi am=ni’i-tua-k
det child 3pl=fly-cause-perf
‘The child made them fly’
b. Uu uusi wikichi-m ni’i-tevo-k
det child bird-pl fly-cause(ind)-perf
‘The child had the birds fly’
c. Wikichi-m ni’i-tevo-k
bird-pl fly-cause(ind)-perf
‘The birds were allowed to fly’
The sentence in (69a) presents the typical structure of –tua causatives of intransitives,
where the presence of the causee, the 3rd person plural pronominal clitic am ‘them’, is
permitted by the syntax of the direct causative head. The sentence in (69b) shows a –tevo
causative similar to the problematic cases seen in the previous subsection, in which the
overt presence of the embedded subject wikichim ‘the birds’ is allowed.
The sentence in (69c) exhibits an even quirkier structure, since it receives a passive
interpretation in the absence of an overt causer (ie, the main subject). What is anomalous
in this construction is the absence of the passivizing suffix –wa in the structure. Hiaki
discourse allows the possibility of omitting arguments that are implicit by context.
Perhaps this is what is involved in (69c), in which the matrix subject (causer) is
implicit.141 Still, the overt presence of the embedded argument wikichim ‘the birds’ poses
Plural arguments in Hiaki do not show a nominative-accusative distinction, which makes it difficult to
tell the case in which the argument wikichim ‘the birds’ appears. Since this argument is plural, it could be
either nominative or accusative.
a problem for the analysis proposed here, if the embedded root √NI’I- ‘fly’ were, indeed,
My suggestion at this point is that this root is (or can be) unaccusative in Hiaki, like
motion verbs often are in other languages (see eg., Folli & Harley (2004) and references
therein). If these verbs are unaccusative rather than unergative, an embedded argument
wikichim ‘the birds’ would be licensed as an internal argument. This hypothesis needs to
be supported with further data for which I will leave this final issue for future research.
5.4. Summary
In this section, I have discussed some data that pose potential problems to the analysis
proposed for indirect causatives with –tevo, especially regarding the presence of overt
causees as embedded by this causative head. I have shown that most cases can be
explained by looking at the argument structure of the material embedded by -tevo.
The examples seen indicate that if –tevo embeds a double causative with –tua (ie.,
hi’ibwatua(tua) ‘make feed’), the causee (ie., subject) embedded by productive –tua will
be interpreted as subject embedded by –tevo. The confusion created by these structures is
the fact that whereas double causatives with –tua exhibit the structure of a double
causative, this is not reflected in the morphology (ie., Hiaki disallows –tua-tua
combinations morphologically although it allows them syntactically).
Unaccusative roots like yepsa ‘arrive’ or seemingly unaccusative roots like ne’e
‘fly’ license internal arguments that may be interpreted as causees, but that really are a
consequence of the unaccusative syntax of their roots. In the next section, I offer the
conclusion to the chapter.
5. Conclusion
In this chapter, I have discussed the syntax of productive causatives in Hiaki. Both direct
and indirect causatives in Hiaki provide further illustrations for Pylkkänen’s causative
classification. The direct productive causative –tua has been shown to fit within the
phase-selecting group, whereas its indirect counterpart –tevo has been shown to classify
as verb selecting.
Furthermore, this chapter has illustrated a case in which a causative head with the
same phonetic realization (i.e., -tua) can be lexical or productive depending on its
selectional properties (root selecting and phase selecting respectively). I showed that,
because they are causatives of different kind, lexical and productive –tua may appear in
combination in a single sentence.
In this chapter, I have also shown that both direct causative –tua and indirect
causative –tevo are non Voice-bundling, despite the fact that both heads tend to appear
along with an external argument (causer). The common test that proves the non Voicebundling properties of the Hiaki productive causatives comes from the passivization of
these heads, as both the passive suffix –wa and the causative heads need separate head in
which to be syntactically realized. A further test showing the non Voice-bundling
properties comes from the causative complex –tua-tevo, as the selectional properties of
–tevo would prevent it from embedding –tua were the direct causative realized in a
single Voice/vCAUSE bundled head.
Although Hiaki is one language that exhibits a non Voice-bundling causative head
this language seems to lack unaccusative causatives, as both –tua and –tevo require
causers if they are not further embedded by a further causative head (ie., tevo) that
disallows external arguments in its embedding domain. In the following chapter, chapter
6, I discuss the syntax of productive causatives in Spanish, a causative type that does
allow unaccusative causatives.
0. Introduction
In this chapter, I examine the syntax of Spanish productive causatives with hacer ‘make’
regarding their selectional and Voice-bundling properties. The Spanish productive
causative head hacer ‘make’ appears in a larger number of syntactic environments than
its English (make) and Hiaki (-tua) counterparts. I will show that this is the consequence
of a) the versatile selection and Voice-bundling properties of this causative and b) the fact
that it is compatible with both functional and lexical uses. For a causative head to exhibit
multiple selectional frames is not an isolated phenomenon, as the Hiaki direct causative
–tua also may appear in a different number of configurations, depending on the material
it embeds (chapter 5).
An important part of the chapter will be devoted to discussion on whether the
causees that appear in constructions with hacer are embedded external arguments or
matrix applied arguments. After extensive examination, I will conclude that causees
behave as external arguments.
The chapter is divided as follows. In section 1, I briefly discuss some of the
syntactic properties of hacer relevant to this chapter. In section 2, I show that hacer
comes in two flavors, functional and lexical hacer; functional hacer will be illustrated
with the hacer-subjunctive (FQ) construction, whereas lexical hacer will be illustrated
with the hacer-por (FP) construction. In section 3, I introduce the hacer-infinitive (FI)
construction, I review the history of the construction and I propose what kind of
complement this construction may take. In section 4, I show that causees in FI
constructions are external arguments. In section 5, I show that functional hacer is NonVoice-bundling in Pylkkänen’s terms. Section 6 is the conclusion.
1. Syntactic properties of hacer
Productive causatives with hacer have been long investigated after the pioneering work
by Bordelois (1974). Relevant proposals on the syntax of this causative type may be
found in Cano Aguilar (1977), Bordelois (1988), Zubizarreta (1985), Goodall (1984,
1987), Alsina (1992), Moore (1991), Treviño (1994), Torrego (1998), and more recently,
in Ordóñez (2008) and Torrego (2009). In this section, I introduce basic examples of the
constructions involving hacer that will be relevant to this chapter. Most of them have
received different analyses in the aforementioned works.
1.1. FI versus FQ
The Spanish causative hacer is compatible with both infinitival and subjunctive
complements (1).
(1) a. infinitival complement
Juan hizo [cantar a María]
John made [sing(inf) to Mary]
‘John made Mary sing’
b. subjunctive complement
Juan hizo [que María cantara]
John made [that Mary sang(sub)]
‘John made Mary sing’
The sentences in (1) illustrate two possible complementation frames that are compatible
with hacer. The complement of hacer in both sentences in (1) involves the embedded
unergative verb cantar ‘sing’. Unergative verbs take external arguments, as seen
throughout this dissertation. I will discuss each construction individually.
The sentence in (1a) exhibits a typical hacer + infinitive construction (FI
henceforth). In this construction, the embedded verb appears in infinitival form, cant-ar
‘sing-inf’. It tends to immediately follow hacer when the embedded subject (‘causee’
henceforth), a María, is postinfinitival. This is the external argument associated with the
embedded verb and it may also be preinfinitival. It may be doubled by a dative clitic:
Juan (le) hizo cantar a María ‘John (dat) made(3sg) sing to Mary, John made Mary
The preinfinitival position of the causee makes Spanish differ from other Romance
languages like French and Italian that disallow this position.
(2) French and Italian disallow preinfinitival causees
*Pierre a fait Jean ouvrir la porte
‘Pierre has made John open the door’
Treviño (1994: 18[1b])
In French, Italian, and some Spanish dialects (e.g., Rio de la Plata in Bordelois (1974))
the case of the causee argument depends on the nature of the embedded verb: transitive
embedded verbs trigger dative causees whereas intransitive embedded verbs trigger
Some Spanish dialects are like French and Italian in that they disallow preinfinitival causees (e.g., the
Rio de la Plata dialect documented in Bordelois (1974)):
*Hice a Juan comprar cigarillos
Made(1sg) to John buy cigarette
‘I made John buy cigarettes’
Bordelois (1974: 90[8])
accusative causees:
(3) Dative-causative alternation of the causee
a. intransitive complement: accusative
lo hice llorar
3sg.acc made(1sg) cry
‘I made him cry’
b. transitive complement: dative
le hice leer el libro
3sg.dat made(1sg) read the book
‘I made him read the book’
Bordelois (1974: 47[52, 53])
In other dialects (e.g., Mexican Spanish, in Treviño (1994)), the case of the causee
depends on its interpretation as more directly or indirectly affected by the causing event,
rather than on the transitivity of the complement.
(4) a. accusative  direct
Él la hizo {confesar / admitir su culpa}
3sg.nom 3sg.acc made(3sg) {confess / admit his fault}
‘He made her {confess / admit his fault}’
b. dative  indirect
Él le hizo {confesar / admitir su culpa}
3sg.nom 3sg.dat made(3sg) {confess / admit his fault}
‘He made her {confess / admit his fault}’
Treviño (1994: 108[2])
In the dialect I focus on in this chapter (i.e., non loísta/leísta standard Peninsular
Spanish), dative causees are generally preferred to accusative causees regardless of the
nature of the verb complement.
Generally, causees in this dialect are doubled by a dative clitic, although the clitic is
not obligatory.
(5) a. intransitive complement
(Le) he hecho llorar a Juan
b. transitive complement
(Le) he hecho vender el coche a Juan
(3sg.dat) have(1sg) made cry to John
(3sg.dat) have(1sg) made sell the car to John
‘I made John cry’
‘I made John sell the car’
The syntax of FI constructions will be discussed in section 3. Next I introduce the basic
properties of hacer + subjunctive causatives.
The sentence in (1b) illustrates a construction with hacer + subjunctive (FQ
henceforth). In this kind of configuration, the complement of hacer is introduced by the
complementizer que ‘that’. The embedded verb appears in subjunctive form, cant-ara
‘3sing-past.subj’, agreeing in person and number with the embedded subject or causee,
The causee, in turn, always appears in nominative case, and it may precede the
embedded verb, as in (1b), follow it, Juan hizo que cantara María ‘John made that
sang(3sg.sub) Mary’ or be omitted, Juan hizo que cantara ‘John made that
In the dialect treated here, FQ constructions may also appear with a matrix dative.
In such cases, the dative must be doubled by a matrix clitic. The embedded clause may
contain its own subject, which tends to be correferent with the dative, although this is not
a requirement.
(6) FQ with a dative causee
A Juan *(le) hice [que {cantara (él) /(su hijo)}]
To John *(3sg.dat) made [that {sang(3sg) (he) / (his son)]
‘I caused John / John’s son to sing’
In FQ constructions, the causee is preverbal in out-of-the-blue statements, regardless of whether the
embedded verb is transitive or intransitive (i). In other discursive contexts (ie., contrastive or narrow focus),
the causee may be postverbal, regardless of whether the embedded verb is transitive or intransitive (ii).
(i) Juan ha hecho que María suspenda el examen
(ii) Juan ha hecho que suspenda el examen María
(no Antonio)
John has made that Mary fails the exam
John has made that fails the exam Mary (not Tony)
‘John made Mary fail the exam’
‘John made MARY (not Tony) fail the exam’
Notice that, unlike dative causees in FI, if the FQ contains a matrix dative, a Juan, it must
obligatorily appear doubled by a dative clitic, le (3sg.dat). Next, I contrast the two FI and
FQ structures regarding their complement.
1.2. The complement of FI versus the complement of FQ
At first glance, both FI and FQ causatives allow all three main types of verb complements
(ie., unergatives, transitives, and unaccusatives). Nonetheless, FI causatives are much
more restricted than FQ causatives regarding the configurations they allow as their
1.2.1. Both FI and FQ take unergative, transitive and unaccusative complements
Besides unergative verbs, (ie., cantar ‘sing’ (1)), both FI and FQ may take transitive (7)
and unaccusative (8) verbal complements.
(7) transitive complements of ‘hacer’
a. FI
Juan (le) hizo [comer lentejas a María]
b. FQ
Juan hizo [que María comiera lentejas]
J. (3sg.dat) made [eat(inf) lentils to M.]
Juan made [that Mary ate(sub) lentils
‘Juan made Mary eat lentils’
‘Juan made Mary eat lentils’
(8) unaccusative complements of ‘hacer’
a. FI
Juan (le) hizo [llegar tarde a María]
b. FQ
Juan hizo [que María llegara tarde]
J (3sg.dat) made [arrive(inf) late to M]
Juan made [that María arrived(sub) late]
‘Juan made María arrive late’
‘Juan made María arrive late’
Both FI and FQ causatives allow unergatives (1), transitives (7), and unaccusatives (8) as
complements. In all three cases, the dative causee in FI may be doubled by a clitic.
Nonetheless, there are some restrictions imposed on the complement of FI causatives
only. I discuss them next.
1.2.2. FI is more restricted than FQ
The FI construction appears to impose restrictions on its complement that are absent from
FQ counterparts. For instance, according to Bordelois (1974), FI disallows complements
with expletive subjects (9a), passive complements (10a) or some psychological verbs
with dative experiencers (11a), whereas FQ fully allows them ((b) counterparts).
(9) Complements with expletive subjects
a. FI
b. FQ
*El mago hizo empezar a llover
El mago hizo que empezara a llover
the magician made(3sg) start to rain
The m. made(3sg) that started(3sg.sub) to rain
‘The magician caused the rain to start’ ‘The magician caused the rain to start’
Bordelois (1974: 12[27, 26])
(10) Passive complements
a. FI
*He hecho ser devueltos (a) los libros
b. FQ
He hecho que los libros sean devueltos
Have(I) made be returned (to) the books
have(I) made that the books be(3sg.sub) returned
‘I had the books returned’
‘I had the books returned’
(11) Psychological verbs with dative experiencers and inanimate subjects
a. FI
b. FQ
*Su ironía hizo irritarme (a) su respuesta
Su ironía hizo que su respuesta me irritara
his irony made(3sg) irritate=me (to) his answer his irony made that his answer 3sg.acc irritate
‘e.g., The irony in his answer irritated me’
‘e.g., The irony in his answer irritated me’
Bordelois (1974: 12[23, 22])
All restrictions in the (a) examples of (9-11) have to do with the fact that the complement
of the FI causatives is lacking an animate causee. The restriction in (10a) and (11a), for
instance, disappears if the causee becomes animate:
(12) Non restriction on animate causee
a. Tu ironía le hizo enfadarse a Juan
your irony 3sg.dat made(3sg) irritate=3sg.refl to John
‘Your irony caused John to become irritated’
b. Su falta de cuidado le hizo ser descubierto
His lack of care 3sg.dat made(3sg) be discovered
‘His careless behavior caused him to be discovered’
c. ?Juan le ha hecho enfadarse
John 3sg.dat has made irritate=3sg.refl
‘John caused him to become irritated’
d. ?María le hizo ser descubierto
Mary 3sg.dat made be discovered
‘Mary caused him to be discovered’
The sentences in (12a) and (12b) exhibit a psych predicate and a passive, respectively, as
complements of hacer in an FI construction (just as (10a) and (11a) above). The
difference between (12a-12b) and (10-11) is the fact that only the former cases exhibit
animate causees, a Juan (12a) and the dative clitic le (3sg, 12b). Unlike (10a) and (11a),
the sentences in (12a) and (12b) are grammatical. Interestingly, this seems to the case if
the causer is non-animate/non-volitional (e.g., tu ironía ‘your irony’ (12a)).
If the causer is also animate/volitional (e.g., Juan/María (12c-d)), the sentences
appear to be slightly degraded. I am not sure why this is the case. Perhaps it is due to
pragmatic reasons. That is, the embedded structures are lacking an agent. This means that
the caused argument cannot be ‘obliged’ by a volitional causer (e.g., María (12d)). The
only context in which structures such as (12) may be acceptable is that in which the
causee inevitably experiences/suffers the consequences of the actions by a non-volitional
cause (12a-b).
In section 3, I will treat the restrictions in (11) as possibly associated with an
obligation (combined with an animacy) requirement on the dative causee (first discussed
by Folli & Harley 2003, 2007). Next I show the basic contrast between the two
constructions in Spanish that involve hacer + infinitive (FI) and hacer + por (FP).
1.3. FI versus FP
The combination of hacer + infinitive occurs in two different configurations that are
contrasted in the presence versus the absence of a dative causee. This distinction has
received extensive attention in the literature of Romance causatives (ie., Kayne (1975),
Burzio (1986), Treviño (1994), Folli & Harley (2003, 2007), Torrego (1998, 2009)).
When the causee is present, the FI construction is obtained. Because of the presence
of the dative causee, the FI construction is interpreted as expressing direct causation
(13a). When it is absent, we obtain the hacer-por construction (FP henceforth). The
absence of the causee renders the interpretation of this construction as indirect causation
(13) a. FI: direct causation
Juan (le) hizo [recoger el paquete] a Pepe
John (3sg.dat) made [pick up the package] to Joe
‘John made Joe pick up the package’
b. FP: indirect causation
Juan hizo [recoger el paquete (por uno de sus empleados)]
John made [pick up the package (by one of his employees)]
‘John had the package picked up (by one of his employees)’
Although the FP construction lacks a causee, this argument tends to be semantically
implicit (and recoverable) by means of a by-phrase (ie., por uno de sus empleados ‘by
one of his employees’, in (13b)). I describe the syntax of FP in section 2.
1.4. Non-verbal complements of hacer
In addition to verbal complements, Spanish causative hacer may also embed non-verbal
structures, such as adjectival phrases (14) or nominals (15).
(14) adjectival phrases
a. Este vestido hace a María muy delgada b. Este vestido hace muy delgada a María
This dress makes to Mary very thin
This dress makes very thin to Mary
‘This dress makes Mary (look) very thin’
‘This dress makes Mary (look) very thin’
(15) nominals
a. La fama ha hecho a Juan un imbécil
the fame has made to John an imbecile
‘Fame turned John into an imbecile’
b. La fama ha hecho un imbécil a Juan
the fame has made an imbecile to John
‘Fame turned John into an imbecile’
Bare nominals (verbalizations)
c. Esa peli le/*lo hace a Juan mucha gracia
that movie 3sg.dat/*3sg.dat makes to J. much grace.
‘John finds that movie very funny’
d. Esa peli le/lo hace mucha gracia a Juan
that movie 3sg.dat/*3sg.acc much grace to J
‘John finds that movie very funny’
All sentences in (14) and (15) behave like typical FI causatives in the position of the
embedded subject (ie., a María in (14)) which may precede or follow the adjectival or
nominal predicate (ie., muy delgada ‘very thin’ in (14)).
These constructions differ from FI in the case of the causee. Whereas the case of
the embedded subjects may be dative or accusative in (16a,b), it is obligatorily a dative in
(16c), which suggests differences in their syntactic structure.
(16) a. Este vestido la/le hace muy delgada
This dress 3sg.acc/3sg.dat make(3sg) very thin
‘This dress makes her very thin’
b. La popularidad lo/le hizo un imbécil
The popularity 3sg.acc/3sg.dat made(3sg) an imbecile
‘Popularity turned him into an imbecile’
c. Esa peli le/*lo hace mucha gracia
That movie 3sg.dat/*3sg.acc makes much grace
‘He finds that movie very funny
In section 5 I will show that non-verbal hacer constructions (FN, henceforth) involve a
variety of configurations that result in different interpretations and restrictions associated
with them.
1.5. Unaccusative hacer
The causative hacer generally appears with matrix external arguments or causers, but this
is not a requirement. The following sentence (16) exhibits an FI construction in which the
causative verb is used unaccusatively. When this happens, the sentence receives a
desiderative interpretation (ie., ‘feel like’).
(17) A María no {le/*la} hace salir hoy
to Mary neg {3sg.dat/3sg.acc} makes go.out today
‘Mary does not feel like going out today’
The sentence in (17) exhibits a construction with hacer, which takes an infinitive
complement (ie., salir hoy ‘go.out today’). The causative hacer invariably shows 3sg (ie.,
‘default’) agreement, hace. Unlike other FI constructions, the construction in (17)
disallows accusative ‘causees’.
The FQ construction may also be used unaccusatively (18).
(18) No te hace que {salgamos/*salgas} hoy?
Neg 2sg.dat makes that {go.out(1pl.sub)/*go.out(2sg)} today?
‘Do you feel like we should go out today?’
In the desiderative FQ construction, the dative te ‘2sg.dat’ cannot be correferent with the
embedded subject (ie., *salgas (2sg)). This contrasts with other FQ constructions in
which correference between the dative and the embedded subject is not only allowed, but
frequent, as seen in (5) above. In section 5 this will be used as evidence in favor of the
different configuration of the sentences in which both datives appear.
Although these constructions normally appear with a dative, it is possible to find
unaccusative FI constructions with no overt causee. In such cases, the reference for he
causee is understood as arbitrary or generic (19).
(19) Hoy no hace salir
today neg make(3sg) go.out
‘One doesn’t feel like going out today’
(ie., today is one of these days in which one / people doesn’t feel like going out)’
While not possible if the complement is an adjective (ie., *Hace caliente ‘make(3sg)
hot’), unaccusative hacer is also possible if combined with some nouns. The resulting
structures are idiomatic:144
(20) a. weather
Hoy hace mucho frío
Today makes(3sg) much cold
‘It’s very cold today’
b. time
Hace años que no te veo
makes(3sg) years that neg 2sg.acc see(1sg)
‘It’s been years since I last saw you’
Like in the examples in (17-19), the verb hacer in (20) is missing an external argument,
Although some weather expressions with hacer are possible in which an adjective appears in the
embedded domain.
Hace {bonito / feo / malo/ bueno}
Makes {pretty / ugly /bad / good}
‘The weather is {beautiful / ugly / bad / good}’
as a consequence of which it exhibits ‘default’ agreement (ie., hace ‘3sg’). I will discuss
these constructions in section 5.
1.6. Summary
In this section, I have shown the relevant Spanish data involving causatives with hacer
‘make’ that I will analyze in this chapter. I have shown that hacer is compatible with both
infinitival and subjunctive complements introduced by the complementizer que ‘that’.
Although both complements are available for hacer ‘make’, there are restrictions
associated with constructions such as hacer-inf (FI), especially regarding the animacy of
the causee. Within the causatives with hacer that select infinitival complements, there is a
further division. There is the hacer-inf (FI) construction that selects complements with an
embedded subject (causee) and the hacer-par (FP) construction that selects complements
lacking an embedded subject.
I also showed examples in which the complement of hacer ‘make’ is a non-verbal
predicate, such as an adjective or a nominal that nonetheless select an embedded subject
(causee). I showed that these sentences differ from FI constructions in that they
sometimes restrict the case on the causee (ie., it cannot be realized as accusative).
Finally, I showed examples in which hacer ‘make’ is unaccusative (ie. it lacks an
external argument or causer). In such situations, the construction is interpreted as
desiderative, if hacer takes a verbal complement (infinitival or subjunctive) that includes
a causee. If it takes a non-verbal complement, that does not include a causee, the
constructions are used to refer to the weather or as temporal expressions in which all
referents are expletives. In section 2, I start the formal study of these constructions by
reviewing Folli & Harley’s (2003, 2007) distinction of Romance productive causatives as
functional or lexical, since it will be relevant throughout this chapter.
2. Hacer may be functional or lexical
2.1. Italian fare: Folli & Harley (2003, 2007)
Folli & Harley (2003, 2007) show that the Italian causative fare ‘make’ comes in two
flavors. The causative fare may be the morphological realization of a functional vºCAUSE
head (ie., the familiar causative head discussed throughout this dissertation), but it may
also be the realization of a lexical, agentive vºDO.
Folli & Harley discuss different restrictions associated with each of these verbal
heads. For instance, they argue that, in Italian, the kind of fare that appears in FI
constructions is vºCAUSE (21a), which is contrasted with the kind of fare that appears in FP
constructions is vDO (21b).
(21) a. Folli & Harley’s analysis of FI
Gianni ha fatto riparare la macchina a Mario
Gianni has made repair the car to Mario
‘Gianni made Mario repair the car’
a Mario
la macchina
Folli & Harley (2007: 207[16a])
b. Folli & Harley’s analysis of FP
Gianni ha fatto riparare la macchina da Mario
Gianni has made repair the car by Mario
‘Gianni had the car repaired by Mario’
da Mario
la macchina
Folli & Harley (2007: 208[16b])
The Italian FI and FP constructions share some similarities with their Spanish
counterparts. One contrast is, for instance, that whereas the causee appears as a dative (or
accusative) argument in FI (a Mario, 21a) it can only be expressed as an adjunct in FP
(da Mario ‘by Mario’).145,146 Folli & Harley argue that in the FI construction (21a), fare,
as a functional head, does not impose selectional restrictions on its external argument.
For this reason, causers (ie., Gianni) may be both causes and agents. The FP construction
(21b), as a lexical verb, only allows agents as causers (22).
(22) La rabbia fece rompere il tavolo {a/*par} Gianni
The rage made break the table {to/*by} Gianni
‘Rage made Gianni break the table’
Folli & Harley (2007: 217[27a])
The sentence in (22) exhibits a cause, la rabbia ‘rage’, as its subject/causer. Its
incompatibility with an adjunct causee (par Gianni ‘by John’) indicates that FP
causatives where fare is vDO may only take agents as their causers. Functional fare does
In Italian, transitive complements of FI trigger dative causees whereas intransitive complements of FI
trigger accusative causees.
In this section, I will concentrate on differences regarding the functional versus lexical nature of
fare/hacer. The nature and position of causees of FI, for instance, will be discussed in section 3.
not show this restriction, as the compatibility of the causer la rabbia ‘rage’ with the
dative causee a Gianni ‘to John’ indicates.
Folli & Harley also contrast the two structures in terms of their complement.
Whereas FI causatives (21a) take an agentive event (vP) as their complement, FP
causatives (21b) take a nominalized VP as their complement. Because the nominalized
VP is lacking its eventive layer (ie., vP), the complement of FP lacks its own external
argument (hence it may only be expressed as an adjunct by-phrase as just seen).
This contrast is reflected in several differences exhibited by the two constructions.
For instance, Folli & Harley argue that only FP allows passivization (23).
(23) a. FP
Il pacchetto fu fatto arrivare (da Gianni)
The package was made arrive (by Gianni)
‘The package was made to arrive (by Gianni)
b. FI
*Maria fu fatta mandare un pacchetto (da Gianni)
Maria was made send a package (by Gianni)
‘Maria was made send a package (by Gianni)’
Folli & Harley (2007: 225[43b,c])
Folli & Harley explain that the restriction in (23b) is the direct consequence of the
functional nature of fare in FI causatives. According to these authors, when fare
passivizes it necessarily forms part of a FP construction, simply because only lexical
verbs (ie. VºDO) have a participial form.147 The passivization of FI in (23b) is impossible,
according to these authors, because functional verbs lack passives.148
In the sentence in (23a), the complement verb is unaccusative, arrivare ‘arrive’. This verb may form
part of a FP construction even though unaccusative verbs typically lack an external argument. The passive
subject il pacchetto ‘the package’ is the original embedded verb, not the causee.
In Italian, passives of seemingly FI constructions are grammatical if the embedded object rather than the
causee becomes the passive subject:
Thus, not all causatives formed with Italian fare involve the functional vºCAUSE, as
some constructions with this causative actually involve a lexical verbal head VºDO.
Spanish hacer also seems to be the morphological realization of two different verbal
heads, vºCAUSE and VºDO. In this section, I will concentrate on the FQ construction as an
instance of the former and the FP construction as an instance of the latter.149
2.2. Lexical hacer: the FP construction
2.2.1. hacer in FP is VºDO
I adopt the analysis of FP proposed by Folli & Harley (2003, 2007) in (21b) for the
Spanish FP construction. In this sense, the Spanish FP construction also involves lexical
hacer that occupies a VDO position. My analysis varies from Folli & Harley’s in that I
assume VoiceP as the external-argument-introducing head rather than vP, as discussed
throughout this dissertation. I show the structure in (24).
Il libro fu fatto leggere a Mario (da Gianni)
the book was made read to Mario (by Gianni)
‘Mario was made to read the book (by Gianni)’
Folli & Harley (2007:225[43a])
Folli & Harley argue that this passive is in fact the passive of FP that happens to also exhibit a benefactive
rather than a causee dative. Evidence of this is the fact that the by phrase cannot be realized by a cause:
È stato fatto rompere il tavolo (a Marco) {da Maria / *dalla rabbia}
Is been made break the table (to Marco) {by Maria / *by.the rage}
‘A table was made to break (on Marco) {by Maria /*by the rage}
Folli & Harley (2007: 234[52])
We will see, in section 3, that the FI construction also involves functional vºCAUSE.
(24) FP in Spanish
María hizo reparar el coche (por el mecánico)
Mary made(3sg) repair the car (by the mechanic)
‘Mary made repair the car (by the mechanic)’
por el mecánico
el coche
‘the car’
In (24), the matrix light verb is the agentive vºDO rather than the causative vºCAUSE. In this
sense, hacer ‘do’ is a lexical verb, associated with a root √HAC- ‘do’ that takes a
nominalized VP reparar el coche ‘repair the car’ as a complement. It is crucial that this
embedded VP has been nominalized before taking a subject (via an embedded VoiceP).
For this reason, the complement of hacer ‘do’ in FP lacks a subject (ie., causee), although
it may be recovered via an adjunct por (by)-phrase.
Evidence for the analysis of hacer in FP constructions as lexical is the fact that, like its
Italian counterpart, this head disallows causes as its external argument (25).
(25) {Juan / *su enfado} hizo castigar al niño (por el profesor)
{John / *his rage} made punish to.the child (by the teacher)
‘{John / *his rage} had the child punished (by the teacher)’
In (25) only the agent Juan is possible in the FP construction. This shows that the
causative hacer that participates in these constructions is lexical hacer, realized in the
syntax as the complement of agentive vDO.
As in Italian, dative causees are absent from the FP construction in Spanish, unless
they are interpreted as possessors or, also perhaps, benefactees (26).151
(26) Maria le hizo reparar el coche a Pepe
Mary 3sg.dat made repair the car to Joe
‘Mary had the car repaired for Joe’
Just as in the Italian cases discussed by Folli & Harley (2007), if the sentence in (26) is to
be understood as FP, the dative a Pepe ‘to Joe’ is a beneficiary or a possessor (ie., an
applicative), but not a causee (i.e., an external argument). If the dative in (26) is
interpreted as a causee (i.e., as an agent), then the sentence would be analyzed as a typical
FI construction. I show the structure, based on a modification of Folli & Harley (2007), in
If the by phrase is not included, causes may be allowed in similar constructions
(i) La lluvia hizo suspender el evento (*por las autoridades)
The rain made cancel the event (*by the authorities)
‘The event was cancelled because of the rain’
Such sentences do not allow passivization (*el evento ha sido hecho suspender ‘the event was made to be
cancelled’). Perhaps this is not a FP construction, but a HI construction in which the causee is present but
realized by a null element (ie. proarb), as in Suspendieron el evento (a causa de la lluvia) ‘proarb
cancelled(3pl) the event (because of the rain)’.
Torrego (2009) discusses a further construction involving VDO hacer. In this construction, a dative
causee appears in a preinfinitival position in the absence of a doubling clitic (i).
La entrenadora hizo al atleta repetir el ejercicio
The trainer made to.the athlete repeat the exercise
‘The trainer made the athlete repeat the exercise’
Torrego (2009: 7[3])
She analyzes these sentences as involving an applicative head, which is selected by hacer. The applicative
licenses the dative and embeds an agentive vP that may contain an external argument. In this dissertation
all causatives containing dative causees are analyzed as instances of FI rather than FP, as the dialect I
analyze here does not distinguish between dative causes that are doubled by a clitic from dative causees
that are not clitic-doubled. In section 3 I revisit this issue.
(27) FP with a dative
a. FP (the dative is interpreted as a possessor)
María le hizo reparar el coche a Pepe
Mary 3sg.dat made(3sg) repair the car to Joe
‘Mary made repair Joe’s car’
(i.e., somebody else repairs the car)
a Pepe
el coche
b. FI (the dative is interpreted as a causee)
María le hizo reparar el coche a Pepe
Maria 3sg.dat made(3sg) repair the car to Joe
‘Mary made Joe repair the car’
a Pepe
el coche
The sentences analyzed in (27) have an identical surface appeareance. Nonetheless, their
structural differences are obvious in the diagram. In (27a), the root √HAC ‘do’ embedded
by a lexical vºDO further embeds a nominalized VP whose root takes a low applicative as
a complement. It is this low applicative that introduces the possessor dative a Pepe. In
(27b), in contrast, a FI causative embeds a dative causee, a Pepe ‘Joe’. It is clear that,
although datives may appear in FP causatives, they are never interpreted as causees,
because the presence of a dative causee is possible in FI causatives only.
Because the type of hacer ‘do’ that appears in FP constructions is lexical (ie., is
syntactically realized by a root rather than by a functional light verb), only FP allows
passivization. This was one of the claims in Folli & Harley (2007) for Italian. Next I
show that this is also borne out in Spanish.
2.2.2. Passives of causatives
Recall from the examples in section 2.1 that Italian only allows passivization of FP
constructions. The passivization of causatives is rather restricted in Spanish, although
different authors arrive at different conclusions. Treviño (1994) claims that Spanish
causatives generally disallow passivization, although she shows an example of passive
hacer with an unaccusative complement.
(28) Juan fue hecho venir (por Pedro)
John was made come (by Pete)
‘John was made to come (by Pete)’
Treviño (1994: 21[10b])
Torrego (1998), based on data from Bonet Farran (1990), argues that hacer is allowed in
passive environments with transitive complements, but only if the embedded verb is
construir ‘build’.
(29) Este palacio fue hecho construir por el rey
this palace was made build by the king
‘The king had this palace built’
Torrego (1998: 97[31b])
Closer inspection on passive causatives leads to similar conclusions as those reached by
Folli & Harley (2007): the passive of hacer is only allowed in the FP construction,
although the construction is more restricted in Spanish than in Italian.
Crucially, the passive subject cannot be interpreted as the external argument of its
active counterpart.152
(30) a. *Juan fue hecho correr el maratón
John was made run the marathon
‘John was asked to run the marathon’
b. ?Este coche ha sido hecho reparar en un taller
This car has been made repair in an autoshop
‘This car has been made repair in an autoshop’
c. ?Juan ha sido hecho pasar a la sala
John has been made pass to the room
‘John was made to enter the room’
The common characteristic of the sentences in (30) is the fact that the possible passive
subjects of causatives can only be internal arguments of the structure embedded by hacer
(ie., este coche ‘this car’ (30b) and Juan (30c)). Agents (Juan (30a)) cannot become
passive subjects. The passivized sentences in (30), including the unaccusative (30c) are
Evidence of this is the fact that the adjunct external argument can only be an agent,
not a cause, because the vº involved in FP is agentive, so it only allows agents as
subjects, even if these are implicit (31).
(31) Juan fue hecho venir {*por el fuego/por su hijo}
John was made come {*by the fire/by his son}
‘John was made to come {*by the fire / by his son}
These sentences are the result of a survey among native speakers of different origins. Mixed results are
marked with a ? sign.
The passive of the causative in (31) is only possible if the prepositional external argument
is agentive (por su hijo ‘by his son’). This supports Folli & Harley’s proposal that passive
hacer is lexical, as well as the fact that unaccusatives may appear as complements of FP
The adjunct external argument in passives of FP may name the causer or the
El edificio será hecho construir {por el rey /por los obreros}
The building made build {by the king /by the workers}
‘The building will be made to be built {by the king/by the workers}’
This does not necessarily support the argument that only lexical hacer passivizes. If the
causee does not appear in active FP constructions, it is not clear how it can appear in their
passivized version. I take it here that por-phrases naming the causee (ie., por los obreros
‘by the workers’) are possible in passives of FP constructions because the por-phrase is
already available in the active FP construction, (ie., El rey hizo construir el edificio por
los obreros ‘The king had the building built by the workers).154
Notice that passive FP are contrasted with active FP in that they disallow datives in
their embedded structure even if these are interpreted as possessors or benefactees (33).
(33) *El coche le fue hecho reparar a Juan
The car 3pl.dat was made repair to John
‘Intended: John’s car was made to be repaired’
We will see, in section 3, that unaccusatives may appear as complements of FI in Spanish.
Some speakers disallow por-phrases with the FP construction, but the por phrase is generally accepted
with the periphrastic passive construction (ie., La casa ha sido desalojada por las autoridades ‘The house
has been vacated by the authorities’). If passives of causatives are in fact passives of FP, these same
speakers that disallow por-phrases with FP should also not allow por-phrases naming the causee in passives
of causatives. The only por-phrases allowed for these speakers should only name the causer because this
would be the only available argument in the corresponding FP construction. I have not found robust support
on this, so I leave the issue open for future investigation.
The restriction on a dative possessor / benefactee a Juan ‘to John’ in passive FP
constructions (33) may be related to the fact that complements of low applicatives cannot
become passive subjects. Compare with (34).
(34) a. Le han robado el coche a Juan
b. *Le ha sido robado el coche a Juan
3sg.dat have(3pl) stolen the car to J.
3sg.dat has been robbed the car to J.
‘Somebody stole John’s car’
‘John’s car has been stolen’
In the absence of a possessor dative, the sentence in (34a) can be perfectly passivized.
(35) El coche ha sido robado
the car has been stolen
‘The car was stolen’
Thus, if there is a restriction associated with the presence of datives in passives of FP
constructions, this is because of a general restriction on complements of low applicatives
as passive subjects rather than a restriction directly related with the syntax of FP.
Next, I discuss a further contrast between FP and FI. This time, it involves
restructuring contexts.
2.2.3. Restructuring and FP
The phenomenon of restructuring or clitic-climbing has been long studied for Spanish
causatives (see, for instance, Bordelois (1974), Zubizarreta (1985) or Treviño (1994)). In
previous accounts, clitic climbing facts have supported more or less convincingly
complex predicate proposals for Spanish causatives (ie., Zubizarreta (1985)).
Here, I show that contrasts involving clitic climbing indicate the presence or
absence of functional elements in the complement of hacer. Causatives in which hacer
takes a transitive complement exhibit restructuring. That is, the accusative clitic may
appear as a clitic of the complement verb or as a clitic of hacer in the FI construction.
María le hizo [leer el libro a Juan] (FI)
Mary 3sg.dat made read the book to John
‘Mary made John read the book’
(37) a. María le hizo [leerlo a Juan]
b. María se lo hizo [leer a Juan]
M. 3sg.dat made [read=3sg.acc to J.]
M. 3sg.dat 3sg.acc made [read to J.]
‘Mary made John read it’
‘Mary made John read it’156
A particularity of the FP construction is that the accusative clitic corresponding to the
embedded object of the complement of hacer must appear with hacer. Placing the clitic
on the embedded verb renders marginal results (39a).
He hecho [reparar el coche] (por mi mecánico) (FP)
Have(1sg) made [repair the car] (by my mechanic)
‘I had the car repaired (by the mechanic)’
(39) a. *He hecho [repararlo] (por mi mecánico)
Have(1sg) made [repair=3sg.acc] (by my mechanic)
‘I had it repaired (by my mechanic)’
b. Lo he hecho [reparar] (por mi mecánico)
3sg.acc have(1sg) made [repair] (by my mechanic)
‘I had it repaired (by my mechanic)’
In (39a), the embedded objects of the FP construction necessarily needs to cliticize to
hacer. This is contrasted with FI counterparts (37) that freely allow embedded objects to
cliticize to the embedded verb or to hacer. I argue that the contrast between (37) and (39)
suggests that, in FP constructions, the structure embedded by hacer is lacking the
Note that the dative clitic, in contrast, cannot be part of the embedded structure if it is the causee. If the
dative appears in the embedded domain, it can only receive a benefactive reading:
María hizo [leerle el libro a Juan]
Mary made [read=3sg.dat the book to John]
a. ‘Mary made John read the book for him’
b. *’Mary made John read the book’
The se that appears in this sentence is not reflexive ‘se’ but a 3sg dative clitic that appears as se
whenever it forms a cluster with an accusative clitic.
functional support needed to host the accusative clitic, unlike the complement of hacer in
FI constructions that does have the functional material necessary to host the clitic (37b).
This may be due to the nominal character of the complement of FP claimed Folli &
Harley (2003, 2007), as Heidi Harley (p.c.) suggests. I implement this idea with an Agree
account of the facts.
I base my claim on recent theory on Agree that proposes that case is the
morphological realization of Agree on relevant heads (Platzack (2006), Pesetsky &
Torrego (2001) and Tubino Blanco (2007)), which supports proposals such as Strozer
(1976), Jaeggli (1986), Suñer (1988) and Franco (2000) that argued that, in cases of clitic
doubling, the clitic is the real structural argument.
I follow Tubino Blanco (2007) in claiming that clitics, like case, are the
morphological realization of Agree on different heads. In this dissertation, the functional
head responsible for theta-marking ‘subjects’ (ie., external arguments) is Voiceº, but the
functional verb that assigns accusative is vº. I still assume that accusative case is the
result of valuation of [uT] on Dº, as in Pesetsky & Torrego (2001 and subsequent
work).157 I follow these authors in assuming that [iT] is present on vº. I propose that
accusative clitics are the morphological realization of [uT] on vº by [iT] with
incorporated D features. They are later raised to Voiceº because this head has an [EPP]
feature in Spanish. They may be spelled out there or raised to Tº, if Tº directly embeds
Voiceº. In (40) I show the valuation of accusative, where accusative is a clitic, and the
raising of all material on vº to Voiceº.
See chapter 4 for an extended description of this framework.
The information on Voiceº is raised to Tº
[EPP] [uT]
[3sg,acc]+ [iT]
María lo reparó
Maria 3sg.acc repaired
‘Mary repaired it’
DP (3sg)
[uT]  [ACC]
In Spanish, I assume the idea then that object clitics are case markers incorporated on a
verbal head, as in (40). In the case of object clitics, they tend to appear whenever the Dº
that agrees with vº is not related to a root (ie., whenever it is just associated with
Following Pesetsky & Torrego’s (2001 and later work) conclusion that case is the
valuation of [uT] on D, I assume that D values its [uT] feature against vº. Because D is
not associated with a (nominal) root (i.e., it is not a full-fledged DP with an NP contained
in it), the features on D are incorporated to vº. Above vº is Voiceº that contains [uT]. In
Spanish, active Voiceº has an [EPP] feature that attracts the features on all the v’sº it
embeds, on their way to Tº. Because the vº under Voiceº contains the incorporated D
features, all material is raised, being pronounced as an object clitic at Spell-Out, after
being raised to Tº.
This also applies to cases of clitic doubling, in agreement with Strozer (1976), Suñer (1988) and related
work that propose that only the clitic is part of the core structure of the sentence whereas the full-fledged
DPs are peripheral.
The failure of clitics to appear as part of the complement of FP is derived from the
fact that this complement does not contain functional vº, but it rather contains a
nominalized VP (i.e., a nominalized verbal root). Because of this, a higher vº needs to
value the features on D. If there is a clitic, these features incorporate to the higher vº (i.e.,
hacer ‘do’), and from there they are raised to Voiceº, where they are sent to Spell-Out. I
show the structure in (41).
María lo hizo reparar (*lo)
Mary cl made(3sg) repair *cl
‘Mary made it repaired *it’
 [uT] [EPP]
Thus, because the complement of FP lacks a functional vº with [iT], a higher vº needs to
value the [uT] feature on D. Because it is a clitic, the features incorporate to this vº. From
there, they are raised to matrix Voiceº because of the [EPP] feature on the phase edge.
The features are later raised to Tº (because Tº directly embeds matrix Voiceº) and they
are sent to Spell-Out from there. Because the complement of FI does contain vº and
Voiceº, accusative clitics are allowed under hacer ‘make’ in these contexts.159
An alternative explanation for the contrast between the complement of FI and FP regarding the presence
of clitics is to assume that clitics are pronounced in Tº (eg., Zagona (1982), (1988)) and that the
complement of FI but not FP contains TP. However, I will argue later, in section 3, against the presence of
In causatives with unaccusative complements, the clitic corresponding to the
unaccusative internal argument necessarily appears with hacer, which, once again,
suggests that hacer plus unaccusative causatives are FP in Spanish.
(42) a. Juan hizo venir a María
John made(3sg) come to Mary
‘John made Mary come’
b. Juan {la/le} hizo venir
John {3sg.acc/3sg.dat} made come
‘John made her come’
c. *Juan hizo venir{la/le}
John made come={3sg.acc/3sg.dat}
‘John made her come’
The facts in this subsection support the structure for FP causatives proposed by Folli &
Harley (and adopted here), in which the complement of lexical hacer is lacking
functional vº as well as Voiceº. It also supports their analysis of hacer constructions with
unaccusative complements as FP constructions.160
Reflexive clitics, also, always appear with hacer in FP causatives.
(43) a. Juani sei hizo examinar(*se) por un buen medico
John 3sg.refl made examine=(*3sg.refl) by a good doctor
‘John had himself examined by a good doctor’
b. Juani sei hizo enviar(*se) el paquete por el servicio postal más efectivo
J. 3sg.refl made send(*3sg.refl) the package by the service postal most effective
‘John had the most effective postal service send him the package’
In (43a), the reflexive is the embedded object of examinar ‘examine’, whereas in (43b)
the reflexive is the recipient of enviar ‘send’. In both cases, the reflexives are bound by
TP in the complement of FI.
The facts shown in this subsection are also evidence contra Torrego’s (2009) proposal that the structure
embedded by lexical hacer contains vP, at least, in the dialect analyzed in this chapter.
the matrix subject or causer Juan, which indicates that both reflexive and causer are in
the same binding domain. Now compare the structures in (43) with the following data on
ditransitive in which the theme is correferent with the subject.
(44) Juani {se/*lo}i entregó a la policía
John {3sg.refl/*3sg} gave to the police
‘John turned himself in (to the police)’
The sentence in (44) is clearly monoclausal (i.e., it contains only one vº projection).
When the theme is correferent with the matrix subject, it appears as a reflexive (se), not
as a pronoun (lo). This is because the subject Juan and the theme are in the same binding
domain, proving the monoclausality of the sentence, just as the FP examples in (43)
Now compare the sentences in (43-44) with their FI counterparts.
(45) a. Juan (lei) hizo a Pedroi operarsei
J. (3sg.refl)i made to Pi operate=3sg.refli
‘John made Pete have an operation’
c. Juani (lej) hizo a Pedroj operarlei
b. *Juani sei hizo operar a Pedro
Ji 3sg.refli made operate to P
‘John made himself operate on Pete’
d. Juani lej hizo a Pedroj operarloi/*j
Ji 3sg.datj made to Pj operate=3sg.dati
Ji 3sg.datj made to Pj operate=3sg.acci
‘John made Pete operate on him’
‘John made Pete operate on him’
The sentences in (45) exhibit structures of FI. Because of the presence of the causee, a
Pedro, the matrix subject Juan cannot bind reflexives, even if the reflexive is correferent
with the causee (45b).162 In FI, if the reflexive is correferent with any of the embedded
Thanks to Heidi Harley (p.c.) for suggesting this example to me.
The restriction here applies to the fact that the matrix subject and the causee cannot be correferent
regardless of whether the clitic is reflexive or pronominal, although the intuition is that if this were a
possibility, the clitic would be reflexive rather than pronominal. Perhaps the restriction has to do with the
fact that hacer in FI is functional rather than lexical. It does not pattern with other lexical verbs with close
meaning to hacer ‘make’ such as obligar ‘force’.
Juan se obligó a estudiar
John 3sg.refl forced to study
‘John forced himself to study’
arguments (45a), it is the causee, a Pedro that does the binding. If the matrix subject
Juan binds the embedded object, this is obligatorily pronominal (45c). It is clear, then,
that causees of FI are real external arguments. In section 3, I further examine the syntax
involved in the complement of FI.
2.3. Functional hacer: FQ
In this section, I argue that the type of hacer that appears in the FQ construction is
functional hacer or vºCAUSE. It is distinguished from FI in the type of complement each
one selects. While FI selects a Voice-phase complement, as we will see in section 3, FQ
selects a CP complement, as shown in (46).
Juan ha hecho que venga Pepe
John has made that come(3sg.sub) Joe
‘John had Joe come’
Evidence that hacer in FQ constructions is functional vºCAUSE is the fact that its causer
may be non volitional (i.e., a cause) (la pelea ‘the fight’) in addition to volitional (i.e., an
When hacer is lexical, with a clear meaning ‘create’, correference is possible between causer and causee.
Juan se hizo daño
John 3sg.refl made pain
‘John hurt himself’
Once again, this patterns with hacer in FP and differs from hacer in FI, supporting Folli & Harley’s
agent) (47).
(47) {Juan / la pelea} hizo que el maestro castigara a los niños
{John / the fight} made that the teacher punished(3sg) to the kids
‘{John / the fight} caused the teacher to punish the kids’
FQ constructions disallow passivization, further evidence that the hacer in these
constructions is functional:
(48) *Ha sido hecho que el maestro castigue a los niños
Has(3sg) been made that the teacher punish(3sg) to the kids
‘Somebody had the kids punished by the teacher’
Lexical verbs such as prohibir ‘forbid’ in similar configurations are allowed under
(49) a. Los padres han prohibido que los niños fumen en casa
The parents have prohibited that the kids smoke(3pl) in home
‘The parents prohibited that the kids smoke at home’
b. Ha sido prohibido que los niños fumen en casa
Has been prohibited that the kids smoke(3pl) in home
‘That the kids smoke at home has been prohibited’
The contrast between (48) and (49) confirms that hacer in these constructions is
functional rather than lexical.
Another contrast between these two verbs, already noticed in Bordelois (1974) and
Treviño (1994), is the fact that lexical verbs like prohibir ‘forbid’ may be part of a short
answer, but functional verbs like hacer may not, which confirms, once again, the
functional character of hacer in these constructions.163
The causative hacer used in here should not be mistaken with the verb hacer ‘do’ used for general
replies, as this verb may be used to ‘replace’ any predicate, originally involving the verb hacer or not.
A. ¡Ah! Tú me has tirado la revista
ah! You 1sg.dat have(2sg) tossed the magazine
‘Ah! It was you that tossed my magazine’
B. No, yo no lo he hecho (=tirado la revista)
(50) a. hacer (as a short answer to (47))
*Juan lo ha hecho [que el maestro castigue a los niños]
John 3sg.acc has made [that the teacher punishes to the kids]
‘John made it [to have the teacher punish the kids]’
b. prohibir [as a short answer to (50)]
Los padres lo han prohibido [que los niños fumen en la casa]
The parents 3sg.acc have(3pl) prohibited [that the kids smoke(3pl) in the house]
‘The parents prohibited it [to have the kids smoking at home]’
Because hacer in this construction selects for a whole CP no selectional restrictions are
imposed on the elements within this CP (51a). This is contrasted with hacer in hacerinfinitive constructions (51b), which disallows expletive causees.
(51) a. El calor ha hecho que llueva (FQ) b. *El calor ha hecho llover (FI)
the heat has made that rain(3sg)
the heat has made rain
‘The heat has caused it to rain’
‘The heat has caused it to rain’
We will see, in section 3, that this is directly related to the kind of configuration selected
by this causative head (ie., a phase containing an external argument that necessarily needs
to meet an ‘obligation’ requirement imposed by the causing event).
The sentences in this section have shown that if the lexical/functional distinction
applies to Spanish hacer, the hacer that appears in the FP construction patterns with
lexical hacer, whereas the hacer that appears in the FQ construction patterns with
functional hacer. In section 3, I will compare the FQ construction with another
construction that patterns with functional hacer: the FI construction.
No, I neg 3sg.acc have(1sg) done (=tossed the magazine)
‘No, I haven’t done that’
3. Spanish FI
In this section I concentrate on the kind of verbal head and complement involved in
constructions with FI in Spanish. I will show that, like Italian fare, Spanish hacer in FI
constructions involves a functional vºCAUSE. I will also show that this causative head is
phase-selecting, using Pylkkänen’s terminology, because it embeds Voiceº. In most of
this section, I will look at evidence to see whether the complement of hacer is a CP
phase, a VoiceP phase (as in Folli & Harley (2007)) or an ApplP phase (as in Torrego
(2009)). I will conclude that functional hacer in FI is Voice-selecting.
3.1. Proposal
I propose the following structure for FI in Spanish:
(52) FI
Le he hecho a Juan comer chocolate
3sg.dat have(1sg) to John eat chocolate
‘I made John eat chocolate’
hice [iT]
‘made’ a Juandat
√COMER chocolate
In (52), the functional head vºCAUSE takes a VoiceP phase as a complement that licenses
the dative causee a Juan in its specifier position. This argument is probed by vºCAUSE that
values its [uT]. Its features (but not the full-fledged DP) are incorporated into vº.
I claim that, in this dialect, only features on the complement of √ have the option of
not being incorporated into the vº that values them. In the case of other positions (ie.,
[Spec, VoiceP]), I assume that only features occupy these positions, and they are doubled
by full-fledged arguments from a peripheral (ie., discourse-related position).164 For this
reason, dative clitics necessarily double the causee in the dialect treated here.
As for the dative case on the clitic causee, I do not follow Harley’s (1995), and
Folli & Harley’s (2003, 2007) account for case in Japanese and Italian, respective, due to
the fact that the dative case on the causee is not contingent on the presence of accusative
complements (53).
(53) Le he hecho venir a Juan
3sg.dat have(1sg) come to John
‘I made John come’
Because accusative case in Spanish seems to be dependent on whether arguments have
been licensed as complements of roots, I adopt for Spanish Pesetsky & Torrego’s
proposal that nominative case is the consequence of valued [uT] on D by Tº. Accusative
case, in Spanish, is the consequence of valued [uT] on D that is on the complement of ü.
Dative case is assigned otherwise.
(54) a. Acc  [√º [DP [Dº [uT] ___ ]
b. Dat  [[Dº [uT] ___ ]]
Because the causee has its [uT] feature valued in [Spec, VoiceP], it is assigned dative
rather than accusative in this Spanish dialect.
This is based on Jelinek’s (1984) Pronominal Argument Hypothesis.
Before discussing the predictions made by this analysis, I discuss some previous
3.2. Some previous accounts
Since the transformational analysis put forward by Bordelois (1974), many different
accounts have been proposed for the hacer causative in Spanish. Many proposals on
Romance causatives have placed their attention on the properties of hacer. Most work on
Romance causatives coincide in proposing a complement of hacer smaller than CP or TP.
Different influential works approach the subject from different perspectives. For
instance, both Zubizarreta (1985) and Guasti (1992, 1996, 1997) find similarities between
the behavior of Romance causatives and the behavior of affixal causatives in languages
like Japanese and Hiaki. They give different treatments to the structure. While
Zubizarreta argues that hacer (and faire) behave as syntactic affixes, which explains their
similarities with monoclausal structures, Guasti proposes an incorporation account of
causatives à la Baker (1988).
As seen in section 3.1., I do not adopt any of these approaches that assume the
incorporation of the root to vºCAUSE, because it is incompatible with the fact that preverbal
datives are possible (and sometimes preferred) in Spanish. An incorporation account
would not be consistent with this fact. Next, I review Treviño’s (1994) approach.
3.2.1. Treviño (1994)
Treviño (1994) proposes that the complement of hacer is a bare VP, as opposed to a TP,
for economical reasons. She argues that a TP lacking any tense specification (as is the
case in the hacer-inf construction) is more costly than a bare VP as the complement of
hacer. She proposes two structures, one for complements of hacer with preinfinitival
causees, one for complements of hacer exhibiting postinfinitival causees
(55) a. preinfinitival causees
b. postinfinitival causes
al cura V
‘to.the priest’
a. Juan hizo al cura aceptar la limosna
J. made to.the priest accept the donation’
‘John made the priest accept the
al cura
NP ‘to.the priest’
b. Juan hizo aceptar la limosna al cura
J. made accept the donation to.the priest
‘John made the priest accept the donation’
In Treviño’s analysis, preinfinitival causees (55a) are treated as NPs that are base
generated as the specifiers of V. According to Treviño, this is the canonical position of
causees in Spanish causatives and their corresponding clitics appear in accusative (ie., lo
and la for 3rd person singular).165 Treviño treats postinfinitival causees as PPs, base
generated as adjunt VPs. Their corresponding clitics are datives (ie., le for 3rd person
According to Treviño, the pre- and postinfinitival positions of the causees derive
Torrego (2009) also associates the non-doubled preinfinitival position of the causee with the realization
of accusative morphology on their corresponding clitics.
two causative configurations, one that expresses direct causation (ie., the preinfinitival
configuration that gives way to accusative clitics), one that expresses indirect causation
(ie., the postinfinitival configuration that corresponds to dative clitics). She compares the
two constructions with the direct and indirect affected readings that are typical of some
Spanish psychological verbs like molestar ‘disturb’, as in (56).
(56) a. El perro lo molesta (a Pedro)
The dog 3sg.acc disturbs (to Pete)
‘The dog is disturbing Pete’
b. El perro le molesta (a Pedro)
The dog 3sg.dat disturbs (to Pete)
‘Pete is disturbed by the dog’
Treviño (1994: 91[39])
In (56), the sentence with the accusative clitic (56a) implies that the dog (ie. el perro) is
causing some disturbance to Pete by doing something to him (e.g., the dog is licking
Pete). The sentence with the dative clitic (56b) implies that Pete is disturbed by the dog,
irrespective of what the dog is doing. This reading implies that Pete dislikes dogs in
general so its mere presence disturbs him. This distinction, however, is irrelevant to
causatives in the dialect treated here, because, in this dialect, structural dative is the result
of the valuation of [uT] on a position that is not the complement of roots, as discussed in
section 3.1. For this reason, only the accusative on (56a) would be analyzed as structural
case. The dative on (56b), in contrast, would be analyzed as inherent case, assigned by an
applicative head, as I show in (57).
(57) (inherent) dat  [ApplP ___ [ Applº]]
Treviño argues against the existence of TP in the complement of hacer, despite the fact
that the Spanish causative, unlike causatives in other Romance languages, allows
negation as part of its complement.
(58) a. Spanish allows negation
Le han hecho a María no comprar el vestido
3sg.dat have(3pl) made to Mary neg buy the dress
‘They made Mary not to buy the dress’
b. Italian doesn’t allow negation
*Ciò fa non leggere mai molti fumetti a Gianni
this makes neg read never many comic strips to Gianni
‘This makes Gianni never to read many comic strips’
Guasti (1997:133[30])
Treviño argues that the appearance of Neg in (58a) does not necessarily suggest the
existence of a Functional Phrase (ie., TP) as part of the complement of hacer. She
explains the occurrence of negation in the complement of hacer by adopting the proposal
on negation made in Zanuttini (1990) in which negation is base generated as a head that
projects into a NegP.
She adapts Zanuttini’s proposal to Spanish as this language appears to behave
differently than other Romance languages in terms of negation. Treviño proposes that
while Neg takes a Functional Phrase as a complement in other Romance languages like
Italian, Neg in Spanish may take a VP as a complement. Thus, in infinitival complements
Neg occupies a position in which it takes scope over the embedded VP, as in (59).
(59) … V [NegP no [VP …]]
Treviño (1994: 159[29])
Treviño also claims that the NegP that takes the VP as a complement acts as a barrier for
other Xº elements, such as clitics. This seems to be the case, as restructuring or climbing
of the accusative clitic corresponding to the embedded object is prohibited if the
complement of hacer is negative.
(60) Affirmative complement allows restructuring
a. Me lo hizo escribir
1sg.dat 3sg.acc made(3sg) write
‘He made me write it’
Negative complement: *restructuring
b. *Me lo hizo no escribir
1sg.dat 3sg.acc made(3sg) neg write
‘He made me not write it’
c. Me hizo no escribirlo
1sg.dat made(3sg) neg write=3sg.acc
‘He made me not write it’
Treviño (1994)
Were TP included in the complement of hacer, restructuring would be disallowed
irrespective of negation, as clitics would climb no further than the embedded TP. This is
compatible with my account in which TP is not part of the structure embedded by hacer
‘make’ and the featural information that triggers the pronunciation of valued nominal
features as clitics may stay in vº or be raised all the way to Tº.166,167 In this chapter, I will
assume then, with Treviño, that the complement of hacer in FI does not embed a CP (or a
Treviño’s account, however, cannot be fully applied to the dialect studied here.
First, the analysis of postinfinitival causees as PPs does not apply to this dialect. As
Ordóñez (2008) points out, dative causees must be DPs since they can be doubled by a
Although present accounts such as Torrego (2009) suggest that negation in the complement of hacer-inf
is evidence that this complement is a defective CP, and defective phases do not act as barriers.
I have to assume, however, that constituent negation also prevents the features on vº from being raised
to Voiceº.
(61) dative causees can be doubled by a clitic
Le hice a Juan enviar una carta a Barcelona
3sg.dat made(3sg) to John send a letter to Barcelona
‘I made John send a letter to Barcelona’
Goal PPs, in contrast, are never doubled, as discussed by Cuervo (2003)
(62) a. Datives can be doubled
Le envié una carta a Juan
b. Goal phrases cannot be doubled
(*le) envié una carta a Barcelona
3sg.dat sent(1sg) a letter to J.
(*3sg.dat) sent(1sg) a letter to Barcelona
‘I sent John a letter’
‘I sent a letter to Barcelona’
The contrast between the datives in (61) and (62a) and the goal phrase in (62b) is
evidence that the dative causee that appears in Spanish causatives is a DP rather than a
All in all, I do assume Treviño’s account regarding the lack of a TP under causative
hacer ‘make’, although I do not assume Treviño’s analysis of postinfinitival causees as
PPs, at least, in the dialect treated here, since these causees are consistently doubled by
dative clitics, which is not typical of other Spanish PPs. Next, I review recent proposals
on the syntax of Spanish hacer ‘make’, that mostly concentrate on the nature of the dative
3.2.2. Recent proposals: The syntax of the causee and the functional nature of hacer
Recent proposals on causatives (Villalba (1992), Ippolito (2000), Folli & Harley (2003,
2007), Ordóñez (2008), Torrego (1998, 2009)) have been mostly concerned with (i) the
syntactic status of the causee argument, and (ii) the functional versus lexical nature of the
causative verb (hacer).
Not much controversy surrounds the functional nature of hacer in FI
constructions.168 Regarding the syntax of the causee argument, they are are divided into
two fronts. One front (ie., Villalba, Folli & Harley) analyzes the causee as an embedded
external argument. The other front (ie., Ippolito, Ordóñez, Torrego) argues that the
causee in FI is in fact an applicative. In this chapter, I will offer evidence in favor of an
analysis of the causee as an embedded external argument. In the next section, I review
some important ideas argued for in Folli & Harley (2003, 2007) that I will adopt for the
analysis of FI in Spanish.
3.3. FI in Italian: Folli & Harley (2003, 2007)
3.3.1. Basic analysis
For Folli & Harley (2003, 2007), fare in FI is a functional vPCAUSE that selects a
complement headed by an agentive vP. The complement vP contains an external
argument, base generated in its specifier position. This is the causee argument. I show the
structure in (63).
Although Torrego (2009) proposes for one class of FI in Spanish an account in which hacer is lexical
rather than functional.
(63) Folli & Harley’s analysis of FI
Gianni ha fatto riparare la macchina a Mario
Gianni has made repair the car to Mario
‘Gianni made Mario repair the car’
a Mario
la macchina
Folli & Harley (2007: 207[16a])
In their analysis, the causee a Mario appears to the right of the vP head that selects it as a
specifier, which accounts for the surface position of embedded subjects in Italian and
other Romance languages (this is reminiscent of Guasti).
In Folli & Harley’s analysis, because functional fare contains agentive vP as part of
its complement, the causee argument can be licensed. In their paper this is contrasted
with lexical fare in FP that is lacking a causee, simply because its complement lacks
agentive vP.169
One of the contrasts explained by this analysis is the presence of a causee DP in the
case of FI (63) as opposed to its absence in the case of FP (See section 2). Whereas the
vP structure embedded by functional fare (63) contains an external argument (the causee
a Mario), the nominalized VP embedded by lexical fare (section 2) lacks a real causee.
The contrasted structures involving the two types of fare in Italian naturally predict
numerous contrasts long observed between the two constructions. For instance, they
This picture gets complicated in Torrego’s (2009) analysis, as she proposes a structure for lexical hacer
that contains a dative complement. I do not address this here as it is offered as the analysis of hacer in a
dialect not studied in this dissertation. Nonetheless, I will show later a structure involving lexical hacer
that selects a complement CP containing its own external argument.
predict that the ‘obligation effect’, exhibited by FI only, is a direct consequence of the
fact that functional vºCAUSE necessarily selects a configuration that includes an agentive
vP. For this reason, all causees of FI need to be intentional agents and, as they put it, “the
only way to cause an agent to intentionally do something is to oblige it to” (p. 212).
The requirement that the complement of vºCAUSE in FI contain intentional agents is
not always met in Spanish, as this language does allow derived subjects as causees.
Nonetheless, the derived subject must be animate, as (64) shows.
(64) a. La mala suerte le hizo a Juan ser arrestado tJuan
The bad luck 3sg.dat made(3sg) to John be arrested
‘Bad luck made John be arrested’
b. *Juan hizo ser devueltos los cuadros al museo
John made be returned the paintings to.the museum
‘John had the paintings returned to the museum’
In (64) there is no ‘obligation’ per se imposed on the actions of the causee. Nonetheless,
the obligation requirement discussed in Folli & Harley (2003, 2007) still bans inanimate
causees from appearing in the structure (64b) and entails the inevitability entailed in
‘John being arrested’. I suggest that the ‘obligation effect’ is still a consequence of the
fact that VoiceP (i.e., an external argument) is included in the complement of FI, even if
the real agent is syntactically implicit, as it is in the case of passives. In cases in which
this occurs, the events will be understood as ‘inevitable’, normally caused by nature or
providence, rather than by an agent.
(65) ?Juan le hizo a Pepe ser arrestado
John 3sg.dat made to Joe be arrested
‘John made Joe be arrested’
Next, I discuss the nature of the dative causee.
3.3.2. The dative causee
Folli & Harley (2003, 2007) argue against accounts like Ippolito’s (2000) in which the
complement of the causative head fare ‘make’ contains an Applicative projection that
introduces the causee plus a VP lacking an external argument altogether.
In Ippolito’s analysis, the causee introduced by the Applicative head receives
inherent dative case, typical of applied arguments. Folli & Harley argue that Ippolito’s
account cannot be right for Italian, as causatives in this language exhibit a contrast
involving the case marking of their causees: they are in effect dative, but only if the
embedded verb is transitive (66a). If the verb embedded by the causative head is
intransitive, causees are case-marked accusative in Italian (66b).
(66) Italian causee is dative when the embedded verb is transitive
a. Gianni ha fatto riparare la macchina a Mario
John has made repair the car to Mario(dat)
‘John made Mario repair the car’
b. Gianni ha fatto correre Maria
John has made run Mary(acc)
‘John made Mary run’
Folli & Harley (2007:221[37])
In Spanish, the picture is not as clear as it is in Italian. As Treviño (1994) and Torrego
(2009) argue, and as seen throughout this chapter, the case of the causee in the Spanish
dialect treated here is not dictated by the transitivity of the complement of hacer in all
dialects. The dialect analyzed here invariably exhibits dative causees, that normally
appear doubled with a clitic, le:
(67) a. Juan le hizo leer un libro a Pepe
b. Juan le hizo reir a Pepe
John 3sg.dat made read a book to Joe
John 3sg.dat made laugh to Joe
‘John made Joe read a book’
‘John made Joe laugh’
This leads authors like Ordóñez (2008) and Torrego (2009) to suggest an applicative
analysis, along the lines of Ippolito (2000) for causees in Spanish. I will show, however,
that regardless of their dative case, causees syntactically and semantically behave like
external arguments. First, I will explain the syntax of applicatives in Spanish.
3.4. Spanish applicatives
3.4.1. Cuervo’s (2003) affected applicative
Applicatives, as discussed by Pylkkänen (2002, 2008) and Cuervo (2003), have different
semantics than external arguments. Among their possible meanings are possession,
benefactive/malefactive, affected, ethical, etc. Dative causees are arguments affected by
the causative event but their role in the caused event is that of external arguments.
Observe the sentence in (68), offered by Cuervo to illustrate an affected applicative in a
Spanish lexical causative.
(68) Juan le abrió la puerta a María
John 3sg.dat opened the door to Mary
‘John opened the door for Mary’
In this sentence, the dative a María ‘to Mary’, doubled by the clitic le, is affected by the
causing event, whereas the dative itself does not exhibit the behavior of an external
argument in the caused event. This is due to the fact that the caused event lacks an
external argument. In (69) I show the semantics of affected applicatives as given by
(69) λx.λes.Affected (es,x)
Cuervo (2003: 98[37])
According to Cuervo, the dative is “indirectly related to the external argument and the
causing event; the external argument indirectly affects the applied argument by causing
the radio to be broken (in, for instance, Pablo le rompió la radio a Valeria ‘Paul broke
the radio on Valeria’)” (p. 98). Cuervo adds that it is the position between two
eventualities that derives the meaning of affectedness. So affected applicatives are
‘affected’ by the causing event in causatives. In lexical causatives (68) they receive the
result of the caused event.
3.4.2. Productive hacer and applicative causees
Ippolito (2000), Ordóñez (2008) and Torrego (2009) suggest that Spanish productive
causatives with hacer involve an applicative. This applicative is analogous to the one
proposed by Cuervo as affected, given its position in the tree, between the causing and
caused events.
(70) Torrego’s analysis of functional ‘hacer’
Torrego (2009:37[39])
Now compare with the analysis of affected applicatives proposed by Cuervo (2003).
(71) Cuervo’s affected applicatives
Cuervo (2003:94[28b])
The diagram in (71) shows the structure proposed by Cuervo (2003) for affected
applicatives of lexical causatives. In Cuervo’s analysis, lexical causatives involve vºDO
(the causative part) that takes a stative vºBE as a complement.170 Affected applicatives are
base generated as complements of the causative vºDO and take the stative vºBE as their
complement. In the case of productive causatives, vºDO would correspond to our vºCAUSE,
since it has been demonstrated that this causative type allows both agents and causers in
its external argument position.
In the proposals on productive causatives in which the causee is analyzed as an
applied argument (70) the causee is selected by vºCAUSE. The difference with (71) is in the
complement of ApplP, since it would be an event of the type vºDO (agentive activities) or
vºGO (non-agentive change of states) in Cuervo’s terminology. Suppose the applicative
In Cuervo’s analysis, causatives are always obtained from the conjunction of two verbal heads, the
higher one always involving vºDO and the lower one varying depending on the type of causative (ie., lexical
or productive). The vºDO as opposed to vºCAUSE distinction proposed by Folli & Harley (2003, 2007) and
adopted in Torrego (2009) is absent in Cuervo’s work.
embeds agentive vºDO. The applied argument (the dative) may be interpreted as ‘affected’
by the causing event. Something that is not clear is what is responsible for the agentive
interpretation of this applicative if it selects vºDO as a complement.
The interpretation of the dative causee is that of the external argument (i.e., the
doer) of the embedded event. It is possible, in some cases, to add an intermediary (i.e., a
‘helper’) via a prepositional phrase just like in the FP construction, but only the FP
construction allows for this phrase to be a by-phrase.
(72) a. FI
Juan le hizo a Pepe mandarle una carta a Pedro (por *(medio de) María)
John 3sg.dat made to Joe send=3sg.dat a letter to Pete (by *(means of) Mary)
‘John made Joe send a letter to Pete (by means of Mary)’ (i.e., M. delivers the letter)
b. FP
Juan hizo mandar una carta (por (medio de) María)
John made send a letter (by (means of) Mary)
‘John had a letter sent (by (means of) Mary)’
If the dative causee in (72a) is an applied argument, it seems to also receive an external
argument interpretation, perhaps by virtue of directly embedding the agentive head vºDO,
which necessarily requires an agent.
The contrast with FP constructions that allow the addition of an external argument
only semantically (by the addition of a by-phrase) may be the consequence of the fact that
the complements of hacer, in these cases, are lacking the little vºDO, and hence do not
require the structural presence of an external argument.
The problem with an approach in which the applied argument receives an external
argument interpretation is the fact that external arguments and applied arguments are
introduced by their own functional heads, VoiceP and ApplP respectively, as proven by
Pylkkänen, and it is the functional heads themselves that are responsible for their
semantics. Thus, Voiceº assigns external argument semantics to the arguments it
introduces. Applicative heads, in contrast, assign different kinds of semantics to the
arguments they introduce, as already discussed.
If Pylkkänen, Kratzer (1994), and the rest of the proponents of Voiceº as the head
responsible for external argument semantics are right, a proposal in which Voiceº is
absent and in which ApplP introduces an applied argument, whose interpretation is both
that of an affected argument and that of an external argument is problematic. A tentative
solution would be to propose that the vP embedded by ApplP does introduce an external
argument, but that this external argument is null and correferent with the applicative.
This structure would be similar to, for instance, permitir ‘to allow’ or prohibir ‘to forbid’,
which are dative object control verbs.
(74) a. Le permití correr a Juan
3sg.dat allowed(1sg) run to John
‘I allowed John to run’
b. Le prohibí correr a Juan
3sg.dat prohibited(1sg) run to John
‘I forbade John to run’
There is a contrast, however, between these structures and hacer. For instance, as shown
in section 2 above, both permitir ‘allow’ and prohibir ‘forbid’ are lexical verbs, as they
can be used in the absence of the embedded event. Functional hacer cannot be used in
(75) a. Se lo {permití/prohibí} (hacer)
b. Se lo hice *(hacer)
3sg.dat 3sg.acc {allowed/forbade(1sg)} (do)
3sg.dat 3sg.acc made(1sg) *(do)
‘I {allowed/forbade} him to (do it)’
‘I made him *(do it)’
In section 2, I already discussed the fact that whereas the matrix subject of permitir
‘allow’ and prohibir ‘forbid’ may bind into a reflexive embedded dative, functional
hacer cannot.
(76) a. Juan se {permitió/prohibió} suspender
b. *Juan se hizo suspender
John 3sg.refl made fail
‘John {allowed/forbade} himself to fail’
‘John made himself fail’
John 3sg.refl {allowed/forbade} fail
The difference in (76) is evident: whereas the dative (ie. se) in (76a) are licensed in an
ApplP in the matrix clause, hence are in the same binding domain as the subject Juan, the
dative in (76b) is in a different binding domain as the matrix subject (ie., it is base
generated in embedded [Spec, VoiceP], and binding is not possible.
This clearly suggests that the structure involved by verbs such as prohibir ‘forbid’
and permitir ‘allow’ is different from the one involved in FI: whereas permitir ‘allow’
and prohibir ‘forbid’ do involve high applicatives, hacer does not.
Further evidence of this is offered by the sentences in (77). Although the dialect
studied here generally exhibits dative causees, it still allows accusative causees. This is
contrasted with permitir ‘allow’ and prohibir ‘forbid’ as none of these verbs license
accusative complements.171,172
In case accusative causees are licensed, I will assume Folli & Harley’s (2003, 2007) case checking
analysis in which the dative case of the causee is dependent on the presence of an additional accusative
argument in the structure.
In so-called loísta dialects, the sentence in (77a) is grammatical.
(77) a. *Juan la {permitió/prohibió} suspender
John 3sg.acc {allowed/forbade} fail
‘John {allowed/forbade} her to fail’
b. Juan la hizo suspender
John 3sg.acc made fail
‘John made her fail’
While not very commonly used, sentences like (77b) are accepted in non-loísta dialects,
whereas this is not possible in the case of (77a). I take this to be an indication that
whereas permitir ‘allow’ and prohibir ‘forbid’ do involve ApplP, hacer in FI does not,
because only the datives that appear in (77a) would be assigned their case inherently, as
seen in section 3.2.1. above. The fact that (77b) is acceptable suggests that datives in FI
causatives are assigned case structurally.
The facts so far indicate that Spanish dative causees are base generated as external
arguments of the vP complement of functional hacer. Next I argue that the datives that
may appear in FQ are inherent datives, introduced by ApplP.
3.4.3. Datives with FQ
One argument in favor of an applicative analysis of dative causees comes from data
involving functional hacer with CP complements. Some varieties of Spanish (including
the variety treated here) allow dative arguments in the matrix domain (78).
(78) a. Hice que viniera Juan
b. Le hice a Juan que viniera
made(1sg) that come(past.sub) J.(nom)
3sg.dat made(1sg) to J. that come(1sg.sub)
‘I had John come’
‘I had John come’
Since FQ constructions already contain an external argument as part of the CP
complement, the dative that appears in (78b) would necessarily need to be analyzed as an
applicative independent from the CP complement.
If hacer can select applicatives in FQ constructions, it should be able to also select
applicatives in the FI construction. After all, both are functional hacer. This was shown
for FQ in section 2, as it does not impose any restrictions on its causer (e.g., it may be a
causer or an agent).
(79) El viento hizo que se volaran mis papeles
The wind made that inch fly(3pl.sub) my papers
‘The wind caused my papers to be blown away’
There is an important difference, however, between the datives in the FQ construction,
and the datives in FI. FQ-datives cannot be inanimate:
(80) a. *El viento les hizo a los papeles que se volaran
The wind 3pl.dat made to the papers that inch fly(3pl)
‘The wind caused the papers to be blown away’
b. Le he hecho dar un portazo a la puerta
3sg.dat have(1sg) give a bang to the door
‘lit. I made the door give a bang’
This behavior is consistent with an analysis in which the datives receive a different
analysis: whereas the dative in (80a) is base-generated as an applicative, the dative in
(80b) is not.
Although the referent of the dative in FQ-dative constructions tends to be
correferent with the external argument of the complement CP, this is not strictly required:
(81) a. Mei has hecho que me expulsenj
1sg.dat have(2sg) made that 1sg.acc expel(3pl) (from school)
‘You made me be expelled (from school)’
b. Soy capaz de hacertei que un sueño se vuelvaj realidad
be(1sg) able of make=2sg.dat that a dream inch turn(3sg) reality
‘I can make your dream come true’
In (81) the datives that appear associated with hacer (me (1sg) and te (2sg)) are not
correferent with the embedded external argument ((3pl) and (3sg) respectively).
The dative that appears in structures with FQ seems to be an affected applicative,
base generated as the complement of hacer, since the CP already contains its own
external argument.
Torrego (1998) discusses some examples involving FI that exhibit overt nominative
subjects of the embedded clause in addition to the dative element. In this case, however,
dative and nominative need to be correferent, which suggests that (i) the nominative is an
extra-argumental emphatic element whereas the dative is the real external argument and
(ii) that the dative in these structures is different than the dative in FQ-dative.
(82) a. Mei ha hecho pedir yoi
1sg.dati have(3sg) made sing Ii
‘He made me order myself’
b. *Me ha hecho pedir ellos
1sg.dati has made order themk
‘He made me for them to order’
The contrasts shown so far suggest that, despite appearances, FQ-dative involves an
affected applicative that may be correferent with the embedded external argument or not.
The kind of dative that appears in FI seems to be different than the applicative present in
FQ. I showed that FQ-dative does not require correference between the dative and the
embedded external argument, whereas FI does. In addition, I showed that the dative that
appears in FQ needs to be animate, unlike the dative that appears in FI. Let us next
review other (related) arguments suggested in the past as evidence in favor of an
applicative analysis of the causee.
3.5. The animacy of the causee
One of the arguments offered by Torrego (2009) in favor of the applicative analysis of
the datives in FI constructions is the fact that it excludes inanimates.
(83) *Hizo (a) la radio funcionar a base de golpes
made(3sg) (to) the radio work on base of hits
‘He made the radio work by hitting it’
Torrego (2009: 14[14b])
I claim that the ungrammaticality of (83) is due to the absence of the dative clitic. That is,
in the absence of a dative clitic, this sentence cannot have preverbal causees, simply
because they have a different structure, similar to FP (84).
(84) Hizo funcionar la radio a base de golpes
Had(3sg) made work the radio on base of hits
‘He had the radio work by hitting it’
In the presence of a dative clitic, inanimate causees are grammatical (86).
(85) a. Le he hecho a la mesa dar un buen porrazo
3sg.dat have(1sg) to the table give a good bang
‘I made the table bang strongly’
b. Le he hecho a la radio emitir programas día y noche
3sg.dat have(1sg) to the radio broadcast shows day and night
‘I made the radio broadcast shows day and night’
c. Le hace correr muchísimo al coche
3sg.dat makes speed very.much to.the car
‘He really makes the car speed’
All of the sentences in (85), exhibit inanimate dative causees. As I mentioned above,
inanimate causees tend to favor a postverbal position (??le hace al coche correr
muchísimo (cf. 85c)). However, this must be due to pragmatic reasons: given the right
context, preverbal inanimate causees are possible (e.g., 85a-b), and these sentences are
not FP, given that, as discussed in Folli & Harley (2007), unergatives are disallowed in
the FP construction since they do not involve embedded objects (86).
(86) *Juan hace correr mucho el coche
John makes run much the car
‘John makes the car speed a lot’
It seems then that, at least in some dialects, inanimates are not excluded as causees in FI
constructions in which the embedded verb requires an external argument. Of course,
inanimates that appear as causees are interpreted as ‘more animate’.
This is a consequence of their dative marking (ie, le and a), as well as (problaby)
the ‘obligation’ requirement on the causee, discussed by Folli & Harley, in which the
semantics of hacer ‘require’ that the external argument actively brings about the event
described by the embedded verb.
In any case, if inanimates are banned from FIs in Spanish (and we have seen that
they are not), this restriction is not sheer evidence that the argument has been licensed by
an applicative, as applied arguments may also be inanimates (87).
(87) No le he podido abrir la puerta al coche
neg 3sg.dat have(1sg) open the door to.the car
‘I couldn’t open the car’s door’
The difference between inanimate applied arguments al coche (87) and inanimate causees
(85) is the fact that, whereas inanimate applied arguments are always interpreted as
possessors, inanimate causees are not. This suggests that they are, in fact, introduced by
different functional heads, and the one responsible for introducing causees is VoiceP.
3.6. The clitic doubling of the dative causee
As mentioned above, Ordóñez (2008) argues that dative causees in Spanish are true
datives (as opposed to goal phrases) because they tend to appear doubled by a dative
(88) a. No le ha hecho reir a nadie
b. A las chicas les he hecho reir
neg 3sg.dat has made laugh to
to the girls 3sg.dat have(1sg) made laugh
‘He made no one laugh’
‘I made the girls laugh’
Ordóñez (2008: 3[18a, 19a])
Ordóñez compares the clitic doubling of these sentences with the impossibility of
doubling the dative in non-causative contexts for a negative polarity item (88a, 89a) and
for a feminine plural (88b, 89b).
(89) a. *No le ha visto a nadie
neg 3sg.dat has seen to
‘He saw no one’
b. *A las chicas les vi
to the girls 3sg.dat saw
‘I saw the girls’
Ordóñez (2008: 3[18b, 19b])
The examples above illustrate impossible cases of leísmo, which is observed in some
Spanish dialects when structural accusative arguments are realized with dative clitics.
(90) a. leísta dialect
A Juan le vi ayer
To J. 3sg.dat saw(1sg) yesterday
‘I saw John yesterday’
b. non-leísta dialect
A Juan lo vi ayer
To J. 3sg.acc saw(1sg) yesterday
‘I saw John yesterday’
The sentences offered by Ordóñez in (88) and (89) show that if the examples in (88) were
cases of leísmo, they would be ungrammatical, just like (89) are. I agree with this
analysis. The datives that appear in causative structures are not ‘masked’ accusatives, but
they are real datives.
I argue, however, that this does not necessarily make them applicatives, as
suggested by Torrego (2009). In Spanish, structural dative or accusative is assigned to
arguments as a default mechanism, as proposed by Villalba (1992), and as described in
section 3.1. This is also argued by Folli & Harley for Italian causatives.
Some Spanish dialects assign dative when accusative has been already assigned
(the Rio de la Plata dialect discussed in Bordelois (1974), see section 1), some other
dialects structurally assign dative or accusative depending on semantic matters (e.g., the
Mexican Spanish discussed in Treviño (1994)), and other dialects (e.g., the dialect
studied here) structurally assign dative as default, to arguments other than structural
subjects (which are assigned nominative by T) and structural objects (that are assigned
accusative as complements of roots).
The external arguments that form part of the complement of vºCAUSE are not
assigned nominative by Tº nor selected as the complements of lexical roots. For this
reason, they are assigned ‘default’ structural dative. The clitic appears in this dialect
simply because this is a dialect in which all datives are clitic doubled (ie., see Correa
(2002) for a technical account in favor of the obligatory nature of the doubling clitic with
datives in this dialect).
Next, I show some further arguments in favor of the external-argument analysis of
the causee in Spanish FI construction.
3.7. Agent-oriented verbal modifiers
Pylkkänen shows that phase-selecting causatives embedding Voice allow agent-oriented
verbal modifiers. The Spanish productive causative hacer in FI allows agentive
modification. This is shown in (91) in which the agent-oriented modifier a propósito ‘on
purpose’ allows ambiguous scope.
(91) Verbal modification (agentive)
El director de la obra le hizo al actor llorar a propósito
The director of the play 3sg.dat made to.the actor cry on purpose
a. The director of the play, on purpose, made the actor cry (high attachment)
b. the director of the play made the actor [cry on purpose] (low attachment)
High or affected applicatives, in turn resist agentive modification in Spanish.
(92) a. High applicative
Su mejor corredor le corrió fatal a Juan a propósito
His best runner 3sg.dat ran(3sg) very.bad to John on purpose
i. ‘His best runner, on purpose, ran very badly on John’ (on purpose modifies the
external argument)
ii. #’His best runner ran very badly on John (i.e., and John did this on purpose)’
b. Affected applicative
Juan le cerró la puerta a Manuel a propósito
John 3sg.dat closed the door to Manuel on purpose
i. John, on purpose, closed the door on Manuel (high attachment)
ii. #John closed the door on Manuel, who did it on purpose (low attachment)
In (92), none of the applied arguments can be modified by agentive modification. This is
contrasted with the dative causee in (91) that clearly accepts it. Next I show another test
in favor of the dative causee as an external argument.
3.8. External arguments and depictives
Pylkkänen shows that only high applicatives and external arguments can be modified by
a depictive. Dative causees easily allow depictive modification:
(93) Juan le hizo a Maríai conducir borrachai
John 3sg.dat made to Mary drive drunk
‘John made Mary drive while drunk’
The kind of applicative proposed by Ippolito (and adopted in Torrego (2009)) for dative
causees is affected, not high. That is, this applicative is not embedded by VoiceP, like
high applicatives, but it is rather embedded by vºCAUSE. I repeat the structure here:
Torrego (2009:37[39])
Recall that this is the same applicative proposed by Cuervo for affected applicatives.
Affected applicatives, however, cannot be modified by a depictive:
(95) *Juan le cerró la puerta a María borracha
John dat closed the door to Mary drunk
‘John closed the door for Mary when she was drunk’
Spanish high applicatives (96) have a tendency to resist depictives. The high applicative
that appears with parecer ‘seem’ marginally accepts them but the high ‘ethical’
applicative rejects it.
(96) ethical
*Su mejor corredora le corrió fatal borracho
his best runner(fem) 3sg.dat ran(3sg) bad drunk(masc)
‘His best female runner ran very bad on him when he was drunk’
Once again, dative causees pattern with external arguments, but not with Spanish
3.9. FI does not allow agentless complements
Further evidence that the complement of FI contains external arguments is illustrated by
the following contrasts:
(97) a. *Los vecinos hicieron cerrársele el prostíbulo
The neighbors made(3pl) close=se(impers/pass)=3sg.dat the brothel
b. Los vecinos han hecho que se le cierre el prostíbulo
The neighbors have(3pl) made that se(impers/pass) 3sg.dat close(3sg) the brothel
c. Los vecinos le han hecho que se le cierre el prostíbulo
The neighbors 3sg.dat have(3pl) made that se(imper/pass) 3sg.dat close the brothel
‘The neighbors had the brothel close on him’
In (97a) the FI sentence is ungramatical as it lacks an intentional agentive causee. The FQ
sentence in (97b) is grammatical as vºCAUSE now selects a CP with no ‘obligation’
restriction applying on the embedded external argument. In the case of the FQ-dative in
(97c), the applicative dative le is in both matrix and embedded clause but, crucially, this
applicative is not the external argument. In (97c), the datives are affected applicatives.
The embedded clause, is still agentless. Once again, the only restriction on the
agentiveness of the structure embedded by vºCAUSE exists in the FI construction, which
supports an analysis in which vºCAUSE selects VoiceP.
Finally, some typically unaccusative verbs pattern with unergatives in Spanish in
that they seem to be compatible with FI but not with FP. Their subjects are interpreted as
(98) a. El tráfico le ha hecho llegar tarde a Juan
The traffic 3sg.dat has made arrive late to John
‘The traffic made John arrive late’
b. La piedra le ha hecho caer(se) a Juan
The stone 3sg.dat has made fall(se) to John
‘The stone made John fall (down)’
As FI constructions, the sentences in (98) may have a cause as their causer and they may
not be passivized (typical of FP). Compare with the FP sentence in (99a):
(99) a. Juan fue hecho {venir/pasar} por Pedro (FP)
John was made {come/} by Pete
b. *Juan fue hecho {llegar tarde/caer(se)} por Pedro (FI)
John was made {arrive late/fall(down} by Pete
This suggests that some Spanish unaccusatives (99a) form FP causatives, whereas other
Spanish unaccusatives (99b) pattern with unergatives in that they form FI causatives. The
datives that appear in these sentences are not applicatives, but causees.
3.10. The dative causee may be a derived subject
Applicatives can never become derived subjects, as seen in (100).
(100) a. Applicatives: Active
María le envió una carta a Juan
Mary 3sg.dat sent a letter to John
‘Mary sent a letter to John’
b. Applicatives: Passive
*Juan fue enviado una carta
John was sent a letter
‘John was sent a letter’
Dative causees, in contrast, may become derive subjects, which, once again, suggests that
they are structural rather than inherent datives.173
(101) Causees may become derived subjects
a. El desprestigio de su gobierno le hizo ser fuertemente cuestionado
The bad.reputation of his government 3sg.dat made(3sg) be severely questioned
‘His government’s bad reputation made him be severely questioned’
b. Este poema le hizo ser admirado y estudiado
This poem 3sg.dat made(3sg) be admired and studied
‘This poem made him be both admired and studied’
The case differences of the derived subject between ((100), nominative) and ((101, dative) are the result
of the contrasted positions of the passive subjects with respect with the matrix verbs. Whereas the derived
subject in (100b) is nominative because it establishes an agreement relation with the matrix verb, the
derived subject in (101b) is dative because it is in the complement position of hacer ‘make’.
Once again, the differences between applicatives and dative causees have been proven.
Dative causees (101) may become passive subjects because they are structural arguments.
Applicatives (100), in turn, cannot because they are not structural arguments. Before
moving on, I provide a summary of the section.
3.11. Summary
In this section, I have argued that, a) FI causatives in Spanish involve causative vºCAUSE
with a VoiceP phase as a complement, and b) the dative causee is introduced in the
specifier position of embedded VoiceP, not in the specifier of an ApplP.
Different tests have supported my claims. For instance, I have shown that dative
causees are unlike other applicatives in structures such as prohibir ‘forbid’ and permitir
‘allow’ because, for example, causees cannot be reflexives correfering with the causer.
This restriction is not observed in the context of prohibir or permitir.
I showed that dative causees are different from datives appearing in FQ because, for
instance, datives in FQ cannot be inanimate. This restriction is not observed in dative
causees. Agent-oriented verbal modifiers (ie., a propósito ‘on purpose’) cannot be
predicated of applicatives but they can be predicated of dative causees. Similar results
were obtained with depictives (ie., borracha ‘drunk’) that may be predicated of dative
causees but not of Spanish applicatives, even if these are considered high applicatives.
Finally, I showed that whereas applicatives cannot become passive subjects in Spanish,
dative causees can.
All these tests then support the proposal here that vºCAUSE in Spanish selects
complements with external arguments and that dative causees are the external arguments
within the complement of Spanish causative hacer ‘make’. In the next section, I discuss
non-verbal complements of hacer.
4. FN: hacer with non-verbal complements
The Spanish productive causative hacer may embed adjectival (102a) and nominal (102b,
102c) complements.
(102) a. adjectival complement
Las vacaciones no {lo/le} hacen [feliz]
The( holidays neg {3sg.acc/3sg.dat} make(3pl) [happy(sg)]
‘Holidays don’t make him happy’
b. DP complement
La experiencia {lo/le} hizo [un buen maestro]
The( experience {3sg.acc/3sg.dat} made(3sg) [a good teacher]
‘Experience made him a good teacher’
c. Nominal complement
La universidad {lo/le} hizo [doctor]
The( {3sg.acc/3sg.dat} university made(3sg) [doctor]
‘The university made him a doctor’
The sentences in (102) illustrate two cases in which hacer takes non-verbal
complementation. In all cases in (102), the combination of hacer with the non-verbal
predicates results in the meaning ‘make (causee) become + predicate’. Notice that the
causers, las vacaciones ‘vacation’ (102a), la experiencia ‘experience’ (88b) and la
universidad ‘the university’ (102c), are all causes rather than agents, which patterns with
In all cases, the embedded argument appears as an accusative clitic, lo, or as a
dative clitic, le. This patterns with the FI construction, since causees are normally datives,
yet they may be accusative, when the embedded verb is intransitive.
(103) El tren le/lo hizo tener que correr
The train 3sg.dat/3sg.acc made have to run
‘The train made him have to run’
I suggest that the FN structure is then equivalent to FI, whereby hacer is vºCAUSE that
takes a Small Clause (SC) as a complement. The SC contains two members, a subject, a
Juan, and a predicate, feliz ‘happy’. I follow Folli & Harley (2003, 2007) in the position
of the subject of the SC as right branching.
I show the structure of FN in (104):
La música
‘the music’
La música hace feliz a Juan
The music makes happy to John
‘Music makes John happy’
‘makes’ AdjP
a Juan
‘happy’ ‘to John’
As the causee in FI causatives, the subject of the SC in FN causatives receives structural
accusative or dative case, depending on the availability of these cases, by the main
configuration of the structures in which they appear.
The following sentence shows an interesting piece of data regarding this issue. In
(102), both accusative and dative are available possibilities for the case of the subject of
the SC. If the sentences in (102) are passivized via se, the only clitic allowed is the
dative, never the accusative. This is probably due to the fact that clitic causees
obligatorily appear in the matrix clause and the matrix passivization of the sentence
excludes accusative from being structurally assigned in the matrix clause, hence only
dative clitics are a possibility.
(105) Se le/*lo ha hecho {muy feliz/doctor/comer espinacas/tener que correr}
3sg.dat/*3sg.acc has made {very happy/a doctor/eat spinach/have to run}
‘He has been made {very happy/a doctor/eat spinach/have to run}’
Related to the sentences just seen exists a construction in Spanish in which hacer receives
the idiomatic meaning ‘to pretend’. Recall that this meaning is also available in Hiaki
causatives (chapter 5) with a specific configuration in which the direct causative –tua
‘make’ participates. In Spanish, the construction involves the combination
hacer + definite DP in which the noun is a nominalized adjective. As in Hiaki, this type
of causative configuration with hacer in Spanish is frequently reflexive. The
interpretation of these structures may be more or less idiomatic.
(106) a. less idiomatic
Juan se ha hecho el dormido
John 3sg.refl has made the( asleep
‘John is pretending to be asleep’
b. more idiomatic
Juan me vio y se hizo el loco
John 3sg.acc saw(3sg) and 3sg.refl made(3sg) the( nuts(
‘John saw me and pretended he didn’t see me (lit. pretended he was nuts)’
I show the structure of these sentences in (107).
Juan se hace el dormido
John 3sg.refl make(3sg) the asleep
‘John pretends he’s asleep’
Juan i
The structure of the sentence in (107) is parallel to the one in (105). It is interesting to
note that FI constructions are contrasted with FN (106) in that the causer cannot
reflexively bind the causee in the former construction (e.g., *Juan se hizo estudiar ‘John
refl made(3sg) study’) but it can in the latter (106). In this sense, FN patterns with FP
(e.g., Juan se hizo enviar un paquete ‘John refl made(3sg) send a package’).
This suggests, once again, that the restriction against the reflexive binding of the
causee by the causer in FI is related to the fact that FI embeds a VoiceP phase that creates
a binding domain. If the embedded subject in FN may be reflexively bound by the matrix
subject, it is because matrix and embedded subjects are in the same binding domain,
perhaps because of the absence of VoiceP. This is exactly what happens in the case of FP,
as seen in section 2.
As for the source of the idiomatic reading of hacer, it could be the reflexive nature
of the sentence itself, as well as (perhaps) the specific nature of the predicate DP in the
small clause (i.e., a definite DP combined with a nominalized adjective/past participle).
In this short section I have argued that causative hacer ‘make’ may take non-verbal
complements. In some instances (e.g., when the embedded subject is reflexively bound
by the matrix subject), idiomatic readings may surface. Nonetheless, it is interesting that
this same contruction (i.e., reflexive (Sp) hacer / (Hk) -tua ‘make’ with non-verbal
complements) in two unrelated languages (e.g., Hiaki and Spanish) derive the same
idiomatic interpretation ‘to pretend’. In the next section, I discuss unaccusative hacer
‘make’, that derives a seemingly idiomatic (desiderative) interpretation, just like
unaccusative causatives do in Finnish, as seen in sections 1 and 2.
5. Unaccusative hacer
Pylkkänen shows that languages/structures that form unaccusative causatives are
indication that the causative head involved is non Voice-bundling. For instance, the
Finnish causative –tta is of this type. For this reason, it can form sentences like (108)
containing the causative head in the absence of an external argument.
(108) Maija-a laula-tta-a
Maija-part sing-cause-3sg
‘Maija feels like singing’
Pylkkänen (2008: 95[32a])
Because the external argument of the causative is lacking in (108), the structure receives
a desiderative interpretation (i.e., something causes on Maija the desire to sing).
Pylkkänen claims that structures such as (108) are possible thanks to the split between the
head that introduces a causative event, vºCAUSE, and the functional head that introduces
external arguments, Voice. According to her, structures such as (108) illustrate a
configuration whereby vºCAUSE is present to the absence of Voice.
In this section I show that Spanish hacer is also non Voice-bundling, precisely
because it allows structures lacking an external argument that also have a desiderative
(109) unaccusative ‘hacer’
Hoy no me hace mucho salir
Today neg 1sg.dat make(3sg) much go.out
‘I feel like going out too much’
The sentence in (109) shows an instance of a Spanish FI in which the external argument
is an expletive. This is shown by the fact that the verb hacer is in 3rd person singular,
typical of Spanish sentences with expletives. I will argue, however, that this structure is
unlike the FI seen in section 3. The dative argument is rather an applicative, whereas the
embedded structure is always a CP phase that may be finite (i.e., subjunctive) or nonfinite (i.e., infinitive). I show the structure in (110).
The adverbial hoy ‘today’ is not obligatory in this sentence (i) but it is sometimes better, perhaps due to
pragmatic reasons. Other elements may occupy the preverbal position, for instace, a speaker-oriented
adverb por desgracia ‘unfortunately’
Por desgracia, no me hace mucho salir
For disgrace, neg 1sg.dat make(3sg) much go.out
‘Unfortunately, I don’t feel like going out very much’
(110) unaccusative causative with hacer
(hoy) Me hace bailar
(today) 1sg.dat makes dance
(today) ‘I feel like dancing’
In (110), vºCAUSE appears in the absence of an external argument (ie., matrix VoiceP). The
complement of vºCAUSE includes (i) an affected applicative, and (ii) a CP complement. The
affected applicative gives reference to the null DP (pro) in [Spec, VoiceP], via
coindexing. This structure is reminiscent of Cuervo’s (2003) analysis for affected
applicatives and Torrego’s (2009) treatment of FI causatives.
My account of the desiderative causative construction in Spanish differs from
Pylkkänen’s analysis for its Finnish counterpart since, in Finnish, the only arguments of
desiderative causatives (e.g., Maija-a ‘Maija-part’ (108)) are derived subjects.
She opposes these subjects to external arguments as, she argues, prototypical
external arguments in Finnish are nominative. Both desiderative causative objects and
passive subjects, in contrast, are partitive, which stresses the parallel between them.
The dative arguments of Spanish desiderative causatives, however, are
applicatives, base-generated as such, although they could be interpreted as behaving like
external arguments. I will argue next that this is because the dative applicatives are
correferent with the embedded external argument. The consequence is that, even though
they are affected applied arguments, they will also pass external argument tests, unlike
other Spanish applicatives.
Recall, from section 3, that Spanish applicatives cannot be predicated by a
depictive (111a), but only subjects or external arguments can. Unlike other affected
applicatives, the datives in Spanish unaccusative causatives pass this test (111b). This
could (misleadingly) lead to the conclusion that they are embedded external arguments.
(111) a. El corredori lej corrió borrachoi/*j b. No mei hace salir borrachai
The runner 3sg.dat ran drunk
Neg 1sg.dat make(3sg) go.out drunk
‘The runner ran while drunk’
‘I don’t feel like going out while drunk’
Nonetheless, I suggest that the depictive test in (111) is passed by the applicative in the
desiderative causative construction in (111b) because of its correference with the
embedded external argument. I show evidence for this next.
5.1. The complement of the unaccusative causative may be a finite CP
The complement of unaccusative causatives may be a finite CP (112).
(112) ¿Te hace [que salgamos]?
2sg.dat make(3sg) [that go.out(1pl)]
Do you feel like we should go out?’
If we apply the depictive test here, we can see clearly that it does not work with the
dative, but just the embedded subject (113).
(113) ¿Te hace que salgamos {borrachas / *borracha}?
2sg.dat make(3SG) that go.out(1PL) {drunk(fem.PL) / *drunk(fem.SG)
‘Do you feel like we should go out drunk?’
In (113), the dative te (2sg) is singular, whereas embedded subject agreement is plural. A
depictive, borrachas ‘drunk(pl)’, may be predicated of the construction, but only if it is
plural, which clearly suggests that only external arguments may be predicated of
depictives in Spanish. The facts in (113) also show that, if the applicative in (111b) can
be modified by a depictive, it is only because it is correferent with the embedded external
argument, which supports the analysis in (110).
Notice that, even though the 1st person agreement on salgamos ‘go.out’ is
inclusive (ie., it includes the dative te ‘2sg’ in its reference), the referent of the dative is
just a subset of the entities denoted by subject agreement (i.e., it also refers to somebody
else, such as the addressee). One interesting thing to note here is that, unlike FQ
causatives ((114b), also seen in section 2), the applicative in desiderative causatives with
finite complements (114a) cannot be correferent with the entity that triggers agreement
with the embedded verb, but the embedded external argument does. The
ungrammaticality of (114a) demonstrates this.
(114) a. *¿Tei hace [que salgasi]?
b. ¿Tei han hecho que vengasi? (FQ-dat)
2sg make(3sg) [that go.out:2sg]
2sg have(3pl) made [that come(2sg)]
‘Do you feel like going out?’
‘Did they make you come?’
The contrast in (114) is evident: the dative in FQ-dat is also an applicative. However, the
reference of the embedded external argument in FQ-dat is totally independent from the
dative (114b). In unaccusative causatives, in contrast, the reference of the embedded
external argument is dependent on the applicative. That is, the finite or non-finite nature
of the structure embedded by make depends on whether the dative is correferent or not
with the embedded external argument. If it is correferent, the embedded structure is nonfinite. If it is not correferent, the embedded structure is finite (115).
(115) a. ¿Tei hace saliri?
b. ¿Tei hace que salgamos*i?
2sg.dat make(3sg) go.out
2sg.dat make(3sg) that go.out(1pl)
‘Do you feel like going out?’
‘Do you feel like we should go out?’
This phenomenon is also found in other controlled structures in Spanish, such as querer
‘want’, as seen in (116).
(116) a. ¿Quieres [salir]?
Want(2sg) go.out
‘Do you want to go out?’
b. ¿Quieres [que {salgamos/*salgas}]?
Want(2sg) [that {go.out(1pl) / *go.out(2sg)}
‘Do you want for us to go out?’
The contrast in (116) regarding finite and non-finite complementation is identical to the
contrast exhibited by unaccusative hacer in this section. In (116) it is the correference
between the main and embedded subjects that ‘controls’ the finite/non-finite nature of the
embedded clause. In unaccusative hacer constructions, the applicative does the
controlling. Everything else is identical.
For the reasons just described, I suggest that the structure of unaccusative hacer
differs from that of FI causatives in that only the former structures take an applicative
dative. Next, I discuss further properties of this construction.
5.2. The matrix verb exhibits default (3sg) agreement
A piece of evidence in favor of the unaccusative nature of causative hacer ‘make’ (i.e.,
the absence of matrix VoiceP) in the constructions discussed in this section is the fact that
the desiderative causative construction in Spanish obligatorily exhibits default (3sg)
agreement. If the verb hacer shows non default agreement, then the desiderative
construction becomes ungrammatical (117).
(117) *Hoy no me hacen mucho salir
Today neg 1sg.dat hacer(3pl) much go.out
intended: ’I don’t feel like going out today’
The sentence in (117) exhibits the verb hacer in 3rd person plural. Expletives exhibit
default person and number (3rd person singular) only. What makes the sentence
ungrammatical is the fact that, because 3rd person plural cannot be interpreted as an
expletive, the desiderative interpretation is unavailable.
5.3. Only datives are allowed in this construction
A further piece of evidence in support of the applicative nature of the dative in these
constructions is the fact that, unlike other causatives with hacer such as FI, these only
allow dative arguments.
(118) *No lo hace salir
Neg 3sg.acc make(3sg) go.out
‘He doesn’t feel like going out’
Thus, the unaccusative hacer construction shown here exhibits an affected applicative
embedded by hacer that is correferent with the external argument of the infinitive
complement; if the complement is finite, then the applicative cannot be correferent with
the embedded subject. Proof that these datives are applicatives is the fact that, unlike
dative causees in FI, they can never be used as accusatives. The absence of the external
argument in these constructions comes from the invariable default agreement exhibited
by verb hacer. Next, I discuss other constructions in which hacer is used unaccusatively.
5.4. Hacer in weather / time constructions
Serratos (2008) offers further evidence that external-argument-less causatives are not an
isolated phenomenon of just a few languages, such as Finnish or Japanese (e.g.,
Pylkkänen (2002, 2008)) or Spanish (this section)). She shows data from the Uto-Aztecan
language Chemehuevi in which vºCAUSE may exist in the absence of a causer.
(119) Chemehuevi causatives
a. Iva asi-huvi-tu-wa
Here salt-song-cause-pres
‘Salt song is going on’
b. tüvi-pü-a tügü-tu’i-kwa’i-kya
Earth-noun.marker-obl hungry-cause-away-perf
‘When it was hungry times on earth’
Serratos (2008:239[1,2])
In the Chemehuevi sentences in (119), the causer is interpreted as expletives would in
English. This is because the causative head vºCAUSE, tu (119a) and tu’i (119b) is part of the
structure, but an external argument (Voiceº) is not. Spanish also exhibits sentences that
include the presence of hacer ‘make’ in the absence of an external argument. This time,
the embedded element tends to be a noun and, unlike desiderative causatives, no
embedded dative is present. The external argument in these sentences is interpreted as an
expletive. They are typically weather or temporal expressions (120).
(120) a. Hace mucho frío hoy
b. Hace mucho (tiempo) que no te veo
make(3sg) much cold today
make(3sg) much (time) that neg 2sg.acc see(1sg)
‘It’s very cold today’
‘It’s been ages since I last saw you’
I show the structure in (121).
Hace frío
makes cold
‘It’s cold’
The sentences in (120) exhibit instances of hacer that are (i) lacking an external argument
and (ii) take nominals (e.g., frío ‘cold’) as complements. Because of this, despite the
presence of vºCAUSE, the interpretation of the sentences does not appear to have any
resemblance with other conventional causatives that both contain external arguments and
compose with events.
When a vºCAUSE lacking an external argument is combined with a phrase
containing Voiceº, as in (110), the interpretation is stative and desiderative. When an
unaccusative vºCAUSE composes with nominals, as in (120), the interpretation of the
construction is stative and denotes natural phenomena, such as time or weather. The
stative interpretation of these sentences has to do with the configuration in which the
causative appears: no external argument. Literally, the sentence in (120a) means that
‘it(expletive) makes the weather cold’ and the one in (120b) means that ‘it(expletive)
makes the time go by without me not seeing you’. Next, I discuss other instances in
which hacer ‘make’ appears with no external argument.
5.5. Other instances of hacer with no external argument
Inchoative counterparts of Spanish causative verbs that participate in the causativeinchoative alternation typically exhibit the inchoative clitic se. Their meaning frequently
involves ‘become’. Causative hacer also has an inchoative counterpart that exhibits the
inchoative clitic se. The meaning of the structure is ‘become’, as (122) shows.
(122) Este hombre se está haciendo rico
This man se is making rich
‘This man is becoming rich’
Once again, the inchoative hacerse ‘become’ involves the type of hacer that lacks an
external argument. The clitic se is not interpreted as a reflexive (i.e., the man is not
making himself rich), but it is rather interpreted as inchoative se, frequently seen in other
inchoative sentences such as El barco se hundió ‘the ship se(inch) sank(3sg)’. The
complement of hacer in these sentences is either a DP, este niño se ha hecho un hombre
‘this kid has become a man’ or an adjective, (ie,. rico ‘rich’).
The latter examples may be viewed as periphrastic forms of lexical causatives in
which the verbalizing head is null ø, as seen in chapter 3. More precisely, the form
hacerse rico ‘to become older’ is a periphrastic deadjectival verb, equivalent to
enriquecerse ‘become rich’. That is, it is an adjective that composes with a causative
verbal head, hacer in the absence of an external argument.175 The structure here is lacking
an external argument as a result of an operation of ‘anticausativization’, along the lines of
Lexical counterparts of periphrastic deadjectivals with hacer are enrojecer ‘redden’, engordar ‘fatten’,
alargar ‘lengthen’, derived from the adjectives rojo ‘red’, gordo ‘fat’ and largo ‘long’. It could be argued
that these are equivalent to deadjectivals with hacer except for the morphophonological realization of the
causative verbs, hacer in this case, null (ø) in the case of the lexical deadjectivals. I won’t discuss this type
here, as it is reserved for structures in spanish with hacer. For discussion on lexical causatives see chapter
Levin & Rappaport-Hovav (1995).
ese hombre
√RICO ‘that man’
Ese hombre se ha hecho rico
that man se has made rich
‘That man has become rich’
Notice that the sentence in (123) has a causative counterpart. Incidentally, the only
surface addition to this sentence is an external argument (causer). The argument affected
by the causing event becomes accusative or dative.
(124) La herencia {le/lo} hizo rico
The inheritance {3sg.dat/3sg.acc} makes(3sg) rich
‘The inheritance made him rich’
Once again, only a dative clitic is possible if the matrix sentence is passivized:
(125) Se {le/*lo} ha hecho rico
SE(pass) {3sg.dat/*3sg.acc} has made rich
‘He was turn into a rich man’
I propose the following analysis for the sentence in (124). Basically, it is the same
analysis offered in (123) with the addition of an external argument.
la herencia Voice’
‘the inheritance’
Voiceº vPCAUSE
a Juan
La herencia hizo rico a Juan
The inheritence made rich to John
‘The inheritance made John rich’
The analysis in (126) is identical to the one offered for FN in section 4, which in turn
patterns with FI. The similar syntactic behavior of all these constructions supports an
analysis in which the FN and the FI shown here involve the same type of (functional)
hacer, the type of causative head that also allows other operations such as unaccusative
hacer (ie., hacer lacking VoiceP), anticausative and passive hacer (ie., hacer in which
Voice is realized by different flavors of se), and causative hacer (ie., hacer that appears
along with an active VoiceP).
6. Conclusion
In this chapter, I have discussed the syntax of causatives with hacer in Spanish. I have
shown that, despite the differences, the basic structure of FI sentences is fairly similar in
Spanish, Hiaki and English. Basically, the causative in all three languages is generally
non Voice-bundling and phase selecting. In all three cases, the kind of phase selected by
vºCAUSE is VoiceP. In the case of Spanish hacer, its non Voice-bundling potential has been
demonstrated by the fact that the FI construction allows unaccusative causatives that
derive a desiderative interpretation. These constructions, never analyzed before in
Spanish, are parallel to the ones described by Pylkkänen for Finnish, with certain
structural differences. As a consequence of this analysis, other parallels have been
established between causatives in Hiaki and Spanish, as both languages exhibit a
reflexive productive causative construction with the meaning ‘to pretend’. This should
not be seen as a coincidence, but as a natural outcome in the search for the natural ways
of language. In the next chapter, I offer general concluding remarks to this dissertation.
This project started with a series of research questions, which I repeat here.
(1) Research questions
(a) What are the ‘pieces’ of causation?
(b) Are the ‘pieces’ of causation the same in all languages?
(c) How are different types of causatives (ie., lexical vs. productive) syntactically
encoded? Do they involve the same ‘pieces’?
(d) How does the general internal architecture of languages contribute to the linguistic
expression of causation?
(e) What determines crosslinguistic variation in the expression of causation? Are the
‘pieces’ of causation encoded differently across languages or are they constant while
variation is contributed by elements external to causation itself?
I will discuss next how these questions can be answered, taking into account the results
presented in the body of this dissertation.
According to the investigation reported in this dissertation, the real ‘piece’ of
causation seems to be one, and it involves a predicate: the causative light verb (vCAUSE)
that comes to form part of a given syntactic configuration. This was already reported by
Pylkkänen (2002, 2008). Of course, because the concept of causation denoted by this
predicate is semantically ‘picked up’ by the external argument that composes on top of
the causative phrase, the presence of a Causer reinforces the causation semantics.
Nonetheless, this dissertation has provided additional data supporting Pylkkänen’s
proposal that causation may exist in the absence of an external argument.
The basic piece of causation (the causative predicate) does exist in all languages
studied (and probably in all languages), since it represents a basic human concept.
However, as Pylkkänen already noted, the causative predicate does not behave identically
in all languages, and this is a main source of syntactic variation. For instance, the ability
of the causative predicate to appear in syntactic structures in the absence of an external
argument seems to be a property of some languages, but not all languages (e.g., English).
The results of this investigation, however, are not clear in whether the reason behind this
lack of linguistic parallelism is the syntactic bundling of the Voiceº and Causeº heads, as
suggested by Pylkkänen. The languages studied here do not seem to follow the
predictions made by Pylkkänen regarding the ability of non Voice-bundling Causeº to
embed transitives and unergatives. In Hiaki, for instance, this is not the case. Further
investigation remains to be done regarding this topic.
Pylkkänen originally placed the lexical/productive distinction on the different
properties of Causeº heads. Her research was originally oriented to predict crosslinguistic
differences. However, the different selection properties of Causeº within the same
languages can also be derived from this distinction. This investigation has shown that one
same language may contain a range of contrasted causative heads, sometimes
phonetically contrasted, sometimes identical in form, that nonetheless exhibit a whole
range of possibilities regarding the kind of complementation they select. Lexical
causatives have been identified here with causative heads that select verbal roots and
their complements. Because roots do not contain external arguments, unergatives and
transitives have been excluded here. Only unergatives that exhibit unaccusative syntax
may be causativized, even in non Voice-bundling languages.
This dissertation has shown, in addition, that main differences exhibited by
causative constructions across languages are not a direct consequence of the internal
properties of the causative predicate. For the sake of argument-referent identification,
argument identification with respect to the predicate, and other language-internal
requirements, languages impose different limitations on the syntactic realization of
causative structures. Particularly, languages such as English and, especially, Spanish
heavily rely on Agreement relations among their constituents. The consequence of this is
that it is difficult in these languages to discern what elements really are part of causation
and what elements are not. In the case of Spanish, because its functional heads (e.g., Tº,
Applº, Voiceº) tend to be null, it is hard to see whether they are part of causatives or not.
The structure I proposed for Spanish productive causatives was based on comparative
tests (e.g., to see, for instance, the behavior of applicatives versus external arguments in
Spanish). Morphologically, however, the Spanish sentence structure is quite obscure,
making the process probably my hardest task in this investigation.
The study of more morphologically transparent languages like Hiaki is not an
easy task, either. All languages have their own intricacies. Nonetheless, they are good
sources to see how differently, at times, and how similarly, at other times, a same
cognitive concept such as causation may be conveyed. It would be interesting, in the
future, to extend the results of this investigation to other languages typologically similar
to the languages studied here but, especially, to languages typologically different. This
way, we will probably still miss pieces here and there, but we will gain much more
knowledge on the linguistic expression of causation.
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