The Case of Subjects in the Romance Causative.Report as inadecuate

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One characteristic of causative verbs in French, Spanish, and Italian is that the subject of the embedded verb appears to the right of its object (if it has one). A second distinguishing property is the Case that appears on the subject embedded under the causative verb. It is always either accusative or dative, depending on the transitivity of the embedded verb. An explanation for these facts need not assume rules of Verb Phrase (VP) preposing, the preposing of any projection of V, rules involving the internalization of an external argument, or that the embedded subject is an argument of the matrix verb. Rather the causative facts can be explained within recent hypotheses that subjects are base-generated within the maximal projection of V. Specifically, it is argued that the subject appears inside the embedded VP complement of the causative, and is Case-marked by the embedded verb. It is suggested that the embedded verb is endowed with an extra Case-marking ability, transmitted from the causative verb. This account explains the distinct patterns of Case-marking that appear on the embedded subject for transitive, unergative, and lexical dative verbs in both the "faire"-infinitive and the "faire par" constructions. (JL)

Descriptors: Case (Grammar), Phrase Structure, Romance Languages, Structural Analysis (Linguistics), Verbs

Author: Rosen, Sara Thomas


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