September 28, 2017


LangLing RRS feed just brought forth a notice of an interesting symposium in Paris (see: podium upcoming) for participants bringing theories of 'Grammar of Causative' and 'Grammar of Causation'. 

In addition to the Wikipedia article 'Unaccusative verb' about the underlying principle in patientive ambitransitivity (reflexive PATRR) versus patientive ambi-intransitivity (PAITR) markers in some languages, a further question arises from this post (see: GrammarGirl/posts.) is whether a grammar choice is nevertheless important. The Question forwarded in this was as you could see:

"Grammar Girl, help! Have you covered disoriented vs disorientated? These days, I don't know who is disoriented and who is disorientated. All my life, I've felt disoriented in certain situations. Other people in the same situation, however, say they are disorientated. I can understand how the disorientation occurs for everyone, but please explain which I should be: disoriented or disorientated."

And i argued at that time:

"Whether there is a mobility within its pecking order for offering matches for contestants or not, i prefer to say something like ‘I go to the best hair salon in town twice a month, and that i don’t feel disoriented’ as the match here in order to give the implicit middle voice of the deep structure to be understood as ‘patientive’ (rather than as 'agentive'), regardless of my aesthetic activities to which my hairdresser is the agent. ‘I am sick so am very disoriented now.’ is another example that should be read as ‘patientive’. Some languages appear to be showing the ‘patientive nature’ of the base structure level transformation with their morphological affixations, something like ‘er’ in ‘erkrankt‘ in German."

As such, my comment in the facebook link attached above here is not true for showing as if it were my comment. My comment was spelled with 'disoriented' rather than 'disorientated'. Somehow the change happened without my knowledge but not an issue. 

To come back to the 'grammar of causative', furthermore, you could define the nucleus of the causative in sentences like: 

1) "Clouds have moved to cause thunder" as: unaccusative, +control, + telic

2) "Leaves have fallen to cover grass" as: unaccusative, +control, +telic

3) "He has danced to succeed" as: unergatve, +control, +telic) 

No doubt our unaccsative verbs are closely related to our causative verbs, or in anti-causative alternative but within the same discipline. But the doubt is that a literature confusion arising from this theory is virtually the questions what it is then with the example 3) if it isn't one of those unaccsative as in the examples 1) and 2) and why it is unergative. 

"He has danced to succeeddoes not necessarily mean to be a pragmatic assumption as if he isn't well educated, or worked like the rest, or belongs to the social cast. Of course well educated people could also dance. But that the success to be understood as the issue in question and the dance to be understood as the cause is the issue here, even if it was an act of anger or hesitation. In literature, however, such an act is considered, in good faith, as "unergative" and not "causative".

English descriptivists and prescriptivists seem however not in the opinion of validating these tests of unaccusativity and causative hypotheses underlying principles and connections. And as such, what one could read and understand is, i would argue, literature written by others which are overly misguided and complicated to this issue.        

To linguists and PhD students:

As you know  this is an interesting but related to a restricted and not usually available topic in most university libraries for research, and as good readers could better see errors than writers would, i am interested in also to a check and in inputs for free, as a hobbyist, to those who  are interested in research and writing 'unaccsative and unergative hypotheses' related to English language.