Experiencers and Causation

Part of the Jerusalem Studies in Philosophy and History of Science book series (JSPS)


In this paper, we use the domain of object experiencer verbs in Greek to discuss the behavior of non-agentive causative construals of this verb class with clear implications for the syntax of causative predicates in general. We argue that eventive causative object experiencer verbs are best analyzed as instances of transitive internally caused change of state verbs. We then explore the consequences of this analysis for a group of verbs that have been labeled in the literature defeasible causative verbs. We substantiate the proposal that the layer introducing agents as external arguments is distinct from the layer introducing causers as external arguments. As a result, causers are conceived of as being part of the same event structural component that contains the resultant state, while agents are separated from it, being introduced in VoiceP.


Object experiencer Causer Agent Internally caused change of state verbs Defeasible causatives Dependent case 



We are grateful to three anonymous reviewers and the editors of this volume for their comments. Special thanks to Fabienne Martin and Malka Rappaport Hovav. AL 554/8-1 (Alexiadou) is hereby acknowledged.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Humboldt Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine SprachwissenschaftBerlinGermany
  3. 3.University of CreteRethymnoGreece

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