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Causation, Obligation, and Argument Structure: On the Nature of Little v

Raffaella Folli and Heidi Harley
Linguistic Inquiry
Vol. 38, No. 2 (Spring, 2007), pp. 197-238
Published by: The MIT Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4179405
Page Count: 42
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Causation, Obligation, and Argument Structure: On the Nature of Little v
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Abstract

As shown by Kayne (1975), Romance causatives with faire fall into two classes, faire infinitif (FI) and faire par (FP). We argue from Italian data that the properties of the two classes depend on the nature of the complement of fare: FI embeds a vP, FP a nominalized VP. The syntactic and semantic characteristics of these complements account straightforwardly for well-known differences between FI and FP, including the previously untreated "obligation" requirement in FI, absent in FP. Our analysis also accounts for another subtle restriction on the formation of FP: the existence of an animacy requirement on the subject of fare, absent in FI. Finally, we argue that only FP can undergo passivization; this accounts for a previously unobserved asymmetry in passivizability of causatives of unergative and unaccusative intransitive verbs.

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