On the emergence of argument encoding in causative constructions in Romance



Causative constructions in Romance show complex variation regarding the case of the subject of the non-finite clause (causee) and to its position with respect to the main causative verb and the embedded non-finite verb. It has been argued that the variation reflects the diachronic evolution of the causative construction in Romance and also documents an ongoing process of further development. We present original empirical data from a comparative corpus of Bible translations that provide new insights into diachronic evolution as well as to the synchronic variation. Our comparative approach allows us to generalize over additional semantic and pragmatic parameters for the choice of a particular construction. Our data support the assumption of the extension of ECM from clitic to nominal causee constructions in French, but they do not support this for Italian. For Spanish we see some ECM constructions in the most recent translation only.


Romance, causative construction, diachronic evolution, Exceptional Case Marking (ECM), FAIRE-infinitive


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