Veu i cas en la sintaxi de la causació i la reflexivització

Student thesis: Doctoral thesis


The central theme of this thesis is causation, both direct and indirect. In Catalan, direct causation is expressed with lexical causative verbs, while indirect causation is realized by means of the periphrasis formed with the causative verb fer 'make' (causative construction). I also study the behavior of the reflexive clitic in causative alternation, reflexivization and passivization, and the dative case, necessary to understand the distribution of case in the causative construction. I argue that causative alternation corresponds to two different phenomena: decausativization, which affects verbs of external causation, and causativization, which affects verbs of internal causation. I propose that decausativization is governed by the Prototypical Cause Condition, which establishes that a verb can be decausativized when it is possible to identify a prototypical non agentive cause. I also propose that an internal causation verb is a verb that denotes a change of state which is activated by a set of causes, not a specific one. To explain the behavior of the reflexive clitic in reflexive, inchoative and passive structures, I propose to break down the Voice/v head into two different heads, Voice and v, each specialized with a specific function: v is the head that denotes transitivity, and Voice is the head that introduces the external argument. I propose that the reflexive clitic is the exponent of Voice in all cases: decausativization, reflexivization and pronominal passivization. Dative is the case that marks the causee external argument when the embedded verb is transitive. I argue that this dative case is structural (dependent case). This case is assigned to the c-commanding argument when in the domain of the matrix v there are two arguments without case (internal theme argument and causee external argument). I also show that this case has a direct relationship with the applicative dative case that receives the goal, source or beneficiary argument in the double object construction. Both structural dative case and applicative dative case are triggered by the presence of an internal theme argument. I also distinguish these two types of dative case from a third type, the prepositional dative case, which is introduced directly as a complement to the verb and headed by a semantic preposition. This case is not triggered by the presence of a theme argument. I also study dative case in alternating causative psych-verbs. I assume that there is only one case domain in the causative construction, and this case domain is fixed by the matrix clause. However, clitics can be found in both the matrix and the embedded clause. I propose to account for the distribution of clitics from properties of the embedded Tense. When the embedded Tense is defective, clitics cannot be retained in the embedded clause. Clitics can be retained in the embedded clause when Tense is semi-active. Semi-active Tense contains the EPP feature but does not contain phi features and therefore it cannot assign nominative case. It also does not render the embedded Voice capable of assigning accusative case to the internal theme argument. I propose that in matrix reflexivization (the antecedent of the anaphoric relation is the causer argument), the embedded Tense must be defective, whereas in embedded reflexivization (the antecedent of the anaphoric relation is the causee argument), the embedded Tense must be semi-active. Likewise, when the causative construction is passivized, the embedded Tense must be defective. Finally, I address the referentiality constraint that affects the causee argument in the causative construction. I argue that the causee argument must be higher on a referentiality scale than the internal theme argument, when the latter is animate.
Date of Award7 Jul 2021
Original languageCatalan
SupervisorJaume Mateu Fontanals (Tutor)


  • Syntax

Cite this