LINGUIST List 3.986

Mon 14 Dec 1992

Disc: Correction/additions to causative/passive summary

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Message 1: correction/additions to causative/passive summary

Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1992 14:58 PDTcorrection/additions to causative/passive summary
Subject: correction/additions to causative/passive summary

Since posting the summary on causative-passive overlap, I received a
correction from Miao-ling Hsieh. The correct author of the article in
the Journal of East Asian Linguistics (2.1) is Ryuichi Washio. Here is the
corrected reference:

Ryuichi Washio. When causatives mean passive: a cross-linguistic
perspective. To appear in JEAL 2:1. 1993.

I also received the following additional data, from Kevin Donnelly
(Sabhal Mor Ostaig (Scottish Gaelic College), Skye, Scotland):

Scottish Gaelic also has the feature you are talking about, I think.

Constructions like the following are very common:

 Gabhaidh sin a dheanamh.
 Literally: That will give/take its doing
 Means: It is possible to do that

 Gabhaidh coinneanan am marbhadh le saighead.
 Literally: Rabbits will give/take their killing with an arrow.
 Means: You/one can kill rabbits with arrows.

And I received the following two comments, one from Tapani Salminen:

Dear colleagues,
 I would like to comment the material provided by Richard Ogden. His
statement about the sameness of the Finnish passive and causative
"morphemes" is not uncontroversial. Firstly, if there is a relationship
between them, it is only historical, and even then, it is question of
one of the many hypotheses concerning the origin of the Finnish "passive"
(Ogden is right about its 'impersonal' nature). Synchronically, they have
no special connection whatsoever (causative verbs have "passives" like
any other verbs, e.g. sy|- 'eat' : caus. sy|tt{- 'feed' : present pass.
sy|tet{{n 'feeding takes place'. Secondly, consonant gradation is not
responsible of the different shape of the suffixes (a gross misunder-
standing by Ogden), cf. sy|- 'eat' : past pass. sy|tiin : present pass.
sy|d{{n vs. caus. 3sg sy|tt{{ '(s)he feeds' : 1sg sy|t{n 'I feed'. Thus,
the passive suffix has gradation t:d and the causative tt:t, which means
that they are different indeed. It is true that the passive suffix has
also a variant with tt:t (used in other stem types), but doesn't help
making it morphologically same with the causative suffix.
 I hope that your software recognizes { and | as a and o with dots.
We should have taken the verb juo- 'drink' as an example!
 Yours sincerely, Tapani Salminen, Dept. of Finno-Ugrian Studies,
Univ. of Helsinki, Fabianinkatu 33, SF-00170 Helsinki, Finland.

And the other from Leo Connolly:

For completeness' sake, you you should know that the Dutch _laten_ con-
struction is (surprise!) paralled exactly in German, and I wouldn't even
guess which had priority. Examples:

 Der Artikel laesst sich nicht uebersetzen.
 'The article cannot be translated.'

 Ich lasse den Artikel uebersetzen.
 'I'm having the article translated.'

 Ich lasse ihn den Artikel uebersetzen.
 'I'll let/have him translate the article.'

 Ich lasse den Artijel von ihm uebersetzen.
 'I'll have the article translated by him.'

Does this show passive-causative convergence in German? I don't believe
so. Rather, it's pure causative, as nearly as I can tell. I've always
analyzed it (though never in print) as involving only a difference in
the treatment of the subject. The three illustrate the following:

 - deletion of the grammatical subject of the infinitival clause

 - Nominative ==> Accusative in the infinitival clause

 - subject ==> agent phrase in the infinitival clause

If we translate the first and third into English, the English is undoubtedly
passive, but I can't see any reason for thinking that the German is, or, for
that matter, the Dutch, for the facts are the same there.

(I realize the syntax of the above is badly mangled. Sorry. I'm using
the default editor on our system which is atrocious and won't let me
fix the junk. But I think the sense is pretty clear.)

I don't understand what the English examples with _get_ are supposed to
show, but maybe I'm just missing something there.

--Leo Connolly

Randy LaPolla
Inst. of History & Philology
Academia Sinica
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