Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11049-008-9058-9

Cite this article as:
Koontz-Garboden, A. Nat Lang Linguist Theory (2009) 27: 77. doi:10.1007/s11049-008-9058-9


This paper provides a comprehensive review and analysis of the facts of anticausativization, the phenomenon whereby an inchoative verb is morphologically derived from its causative counterpart (e.g., Spanish romper ‘break (trans)’ versus romperse ‘break (intrans)’). It treats the phenomenon as reflexivization (Chierchia 2004), providing a number of new arguments for this kind of treatment, and showing how it, as opposed to alternatives in the literature, accounts for the wide range of data reviewed. In addition, the facts laid out show that inchoatives derived from causatives retain the CAUSE operator present in the lexical semantic representation of the causative verb from which they are derived, contrary to the widely held view of anticausativization as a process that deletes a CAUSE operator. In this way, it is shown that anticausativization does not provide an argument against the Monotonicity Hypothesis, the idea that word formation operations do not delete operators from lexical semantic representations.


Lexical semantics Word formation Anticausatives Reflexives Causative alternation Monotonicity Hypothesis Spanish Ulwa 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics and English LanguageThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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