Transitivization, causative constructions, and the thematic-licensing of external arguments

Authors

  • Hazel Mitchley Rutgers University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v7i1.5244

Keywords:

argument structure, external argument introduction, transitivization, causativization

Abstract

I argue that the head responsible for thematically licensing the external argument is neither Voice nor v, but instead a distinct θ-licensing head, L, which intervenes between Voice and v. Evidence comes from Kinande, where I show that the 'lexical causative' is not v, Voice, or a Cause head which introduces an event -- it is purely a θ-licensor. I then turn to Kinande's productive causative constructions, and show that in causatives of transitive verbs the Cause head embeds a complement which includes agentive semantics (i.e. it embeds the head which θ-licenses the external argument of the caused event), but the complement nonetheless  does not include the VoiceP phase.  I ultimately argue for a bifurcation of what is traditionally understood as VoiceP into two distinct phrases: a θ-Licensing Phrase (LP), where the θ-role for the external argument is introduced, and VoiceP, which is the locus of the phase boundary, and is where the external argument merges.

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Published

2022-05-05

How to Cite

Mitchley, Hazel. 2022. “Transitivization, Causative Constructions, and the Thematic-Licensing of External Arguments”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 7 (1): 5244. https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v7i1.5244.