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ven. 27/04/2018 Séminaire DTT - Atelier Morphosyntaxe - Extension de la transitivité
ISH, salle Frossard

Frank Seifart (DDL) : "(Anti-)Causative marking and verb frequencies in corpora from nine languages" In this talk I will report on work-in-progress from an ongoing project carried out in collaboration with Stefan Schnell, Anna Margetts, Katja Hannß, Katharina Haude, Claudia Wegener, Sonja Riesberg, Sonja Gipper. In this project we investigate /form-frequency correspondenes /in (anti-)causative marking in verb pairs like laugh – amuse or break (intr.) – break (trans.). Haspelmath et al. (2014)predict that overt (anti-)causative marking should occur on the less frequent verb of such pairs. Such relative frequencies are used to motivate hierarchies of verb meanings, according to which, e.g., verbs like cook are expected to carry overt causative marking (e.g. Spanish /hervir /‘boil ([ntrans.]’ vs. /hacer hervir /‘boil [trans.]’) and verbs like break should most likely carry anticausative marking (e.g. Spanish /romper-se /‘break [intrans.]’ vs. /romper /‘break [trans.]’ (Haspelmath et al. 2014). We test this hypothesis using data from eight language documentation corpora of about 20,000 words each (Bora, Chipaya, Movima, Savosavo, Sudest, Totoli, Vera’a, and Yurakaré). First results suggest that for individual verb pairs, there is indeed an overwhelming tendency of overt marking on the less frequent verb form, e.g. Bora /gooco/ ‘laugh’ (frequency: 46) vs. /gooco-tso/ (laugh-causative) ‘amuse’ (frequency: 5). On the other hand, we don’t find support for previously proposed hierarchies (Haspelmath 1993, Nichols et al. 2004)of verb meanings according to the probability of taking overt (anti-)causative marking,. According to these, verbs for dry should be much more likely to carry overt causative marking than verbs for open, while in our data, it is the other way around. Haspelmath M. 1993. More on the typology of inchoative/causative verb alternations. In /Causatives and Transitivity/, eds. B Comrie, M Polinsky, 87–120. Amsterdam: Benjamins Haspelmath M, Calude A, Spagnol M, Narrog H, Bamyaci E. 2014. Coding causal–noncausal verb alternations: A form–frequency correspondence explanation. /Journal of Linguistics/. 50(3):587–625 Nichols J, Peterson DA, Barnes J. 2004. Transitivizing and detransitivizing languages. /Linguistic Typology/. 8(2):149–211

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