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Query Details

Query Subject:   Assisted Causation in Marathi and Malayalam
Author:   Gavin Austin
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Syntax
Subject Language(s):  Chamorro

Query:   Dear all,

I recently posed a query about Hindi causatives (#19.1789, see below) and
received many helpful replies. It turned out that, when a causative is
formed on an ingestive verb (e.g. 'eat', 'drink') in Hindi, there is no
obligatory implication that the causee cannot perform the action without
assistance. (In Sinhala, there is.)

What I ought to have done at the same time was pose the same question about
Marathi, (1), and Malayalam, (2). (Both sentences are taken from Alsina &
Joshi 1991. I alone am to blame for the crude glossing.)

(1) sumaa-ni raam-laa paani paadzle
Suma-ERG Ram-ACC water drink-CAUS
'Suma made Ram drink water.'

Scenario A: Ram is incapable of carrying out the action by himself; e.g. he
is a very young child or an invalid.

Scenario B: Ram is capable of carrying out the action by himself; e.g. he
is an able-bodied adult.

My question is this: Is sentence (1) compatible with A only; B only; or
either A or B?

(2) amma kuttiye maanna tiittum
mother child-ACC mango eat-CAUS-FUT
'The mother will feed the child mango.'

Scenario A: The child is incapable of carrying out the action by himself.

Scenario B: The child is capable of carrying out the action by himself.

My question is this: Is sentence (2) compatible with A only; B only; or
either A or B?

I'd also like to pose the same question about causees formed on ingestive
verbs in Chichewa and Chamorro. It's highly unlikely that ingestive
causatives in either of these two languages behave any differently from
non-ingestive causatives, but I'd like to be certain if possible.

Thanks very much in advance for any input.


Gavin Austin
U of New England


Alsina, A. and S. Joshi (1991) Parameters in causative constructions. In L.
M. Dobrin, L. Nichols and R. M. Rodriguez (eds.) Papers from the 27th
Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. Chicago, IL: Chicago
Linguistic Society, pp. 1-15.

To refer to LINGUIST issue 19.1789:
LL Issue: 19.2102
Date posted: 01-Jul-2008


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