Synthetic causativization strategies in Latin

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Synthetic causativization strategies in LatinLuisa Brucale University of PalermoEgle Mocciaro University of Palermo.Latin has diverse verbal strategies of causativization, which have been described in Lehmann (forth.) as ranking along an increasing degree of formal reduction: 1) complex sentences, in which a verb meaning “to cause” (e.g. facio “to do, make”, iubeo “to give an order” etc.) governs a subordinate finite clause (e.g. ut + subjunctive); 2) analytic constructions, which include a non-finite subordinate clause (e.g. accusative + infinitive). This type is the forerunner of the Romance type (cf. Simone and Cerbasi 2001; Chamberlain 1986); 3) derivational (synthetic) constructions, i.e. causative verbs including -facio and -fico compounds and -ē- derivatives < PIE *-éye/o-, e.g. moneo “to admonish”, torreo “to parch; to roast”; 4) lexical alternations, e.g. fio/facio “to become/to make”, i.e. verbal pairs involved in a causative relation, but not in a derivational one.In general terms, Lehmann’s description is consistent with the Dixon’s (2000) scale of compactness (see also Comrie 1985), summarized in the table below: Leaving aside the poles of the continuum (i.e. complex sentences and lexical alternations), this paper will focus on the synthetic strategies. These strategies manifest different degrees of compactness, as well as different degrees of productivity: 1) Causative -ē- verbs: ancient causative forms, whose causative meaning is no more accessible. They may be re-causativized by means of –facio (e.g. perterrefacio “to frighten thoroughly”).2) –fico compounds: factitive verbs based on adjectives. They are more compact than –facio compounds (reduction of the formative -fic-; linking vowel -i- between the two members of the compound, e.g. amplifico “to widen”). This strategy seems to be quite productive, as suggested by the persistence in Romance languages.3) –facio compounds: factitive verbs which can be further described depending on the nature of the first constituent. In particular, the calefacio type (Hahn 1947), based on stative intransitive -eo verbs (e.g. caleo “to be hot”), represents the most ancient nucleus of the -facio type and shows high productivity throughout the history of Latin, although it does not persist in Romance languages.In quantitative terms, compounding strategies mainly involve states. Causativization determines an increase of valency, so that the intransitive subject (S) of the base is reinterpreted as an object (O), and an additional agent (A) is included in the representation of the event. On the other hand, non- stative intransitive bases as well as transitive bases are sporadic. In the latter case the functional value of compounding is not fully clear, as causativization does not modify the argumental structure of the base and both the base and the compound seem to convey the same meaning.On the basis of this description, this paper will focus on the following points: 1) –facio and –fico compounds seem to express the same meaning “to make something –ed”. The seemingly functional equivalence of the two types needs to be explained in the light of Dixon’s observation that if a language has several causative strategies they express different causative values; 2) both –facio and –fico form factitive verbs, based on stative verbs and adjectives respectively. We are dealing with a radical constraint on the selection of the bases which suggests to verify to what extent active intransitive and transitive bases play a role in other causativization strategies. This will also allows to verify Simon
Lingua originaleEnglish
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2014


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