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Modality and causation in Serbian dative anticausatives : a crosslinguistic perspective

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Item Summary

Title: Modality and causation in Serbian dative anticausatives : a crosslinguistic perspective
Authors: Ilic, Tatjana
Keywords: causative and modal meanings
morphosyntactic environments
lexical semantics
Issue Date: Dec 2013
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2013]
Abstract: In this dissertation I provide a principled, unified account of modality and causation in Serbian dative anticausatives using a typological, cognitive approach. This analysis is set within a larger claim that the causative and modal meanings crosslinguistically arise in the same morphosyntactic environments, indicating a shared conceptual base (i.e., CAUSE and ENABLE) and a close semantic relationship between these meanings (cf. Talmy, 1988, 2000). I present three kinds of evidence for this claim. First, modal meanings are shown to arise as presuppositions along with the asserted causative meaning, both in a single reading of a construction (Italian FI causatives). Second, when a causative assertion fails to obtain modal meanings are shown to arise as the new asserted meaning (Finnish desiderative causatives). Third, causative and modal assertions are shown to arise as two interpretations of the same construction, as determined by the lexical semantics of the predicate (Serbian dative anticausatives).
I further propose that causative and modal meanings indicate a split in the semantically unified notion of agency, which prototypically also involves the notion of control. This split results in allocation of control to another controller which is either physically separate from the agent, or perceived as distinguishable from it (cf. Klaiman, 1988). The controller is related to the event through a causal relation CAUSE or ENABLE via a mediating agent who lacks control over the predicated event (Claim 2). Morphosyntactic environments which express this type of causal relation are therefore crosslinguistically found to give rise to causative and modal meanings. As demonstrated by the Italian and Finnish causatives, as well as the dative anticausatives in Serbian, both causative and anticausative constructions constitute this kind of morphosyntactic environment and consequently give rise to causative and modal meanings.
Finally, I argue that the presence of an overtly expressed controller yields a causative assertion, while the absence of an overtly expressed controller yields a modal assertion (Claim 3). This situation is evidenced by the distinction between the canonical causatives and the desiderative causatives in Finnish.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/100711
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Linguistics



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