LINGUIST List 13.417

Fri Feb 15 2002

Qs: L2 Common European Framework, Passivisation

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Directory

  1. Cornelia Gerhardt, Common European framework of reference for languages
  2. Willem Hollmann, Passivisation of periphrastic causatives across languages

Message 1: Common European framework of reference for languages

Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 16:02:52 +0100
From: Cornelia Gerhardt <c.gerhardtmx.uni-saarland.de>
Subject: Common European framework of reference for languages

Has anyone who teaches L2 students used the 'Common European framework
of reference for languages' to "officially" state the level of
attainment which they expect their students to reach? Officially here
stands for e.g. in university or departmental regulations. If so, do
you expect C1, C2 or simply C? I am also interested in any other uses
of this framework at university
level.
Thank you, I will post a summary to the list.

Cornelia Gerhardt
Anglistik
Universitat des Saarlandes
Saarbrecken

c.gerhardtmx.uni-saarland.de

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Message 2: Passivisation of periphrastic causatives across languages

Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 15:42:33 BST
From: Willem Hollmann <mfcxjwbhfs1.art.man.ac.uk>
Subject: Passivisation of periphrastic causatives across languages

I am working on the passivisation of English periphrastic
causatives. One of the central questions is why it should be that some
of them (CAUSE, FORCE, MAKE) freely passivise, while others do not
(HAVE), or only very marginally (GET):

(i) To most people, a receptionist is an obstacle to be
negotiated, and that was unfortunately how I was made to
feel for much of the time. (BNC) 
(ii) *... how I was had to feel

English LET can also occur in the passive construction, at least in
combination with certain verbs:

(iii) Blaine says he was let go because he had found Vial in error
on anatomical matters. (BNC)

I am aware of some other European languages that allow 
passivisation of causatives; interestingly, the predicates 
involved tend to be of the semantically rather specific 
'force' or 'oblige' type, see e.g. Dutch and Spanish: 

(iv) Hij werd gedwongen (om) de papieren te tekenen.
'He was forced to sign the papers'
(v) ´┐Żl fue forzado a firmar los papeles.
'He was forced to sign the papers'

(The Dutch example is fully grammatical, but the Spanish 
one is apparently a little awkward.)

Semantically more "neutral" causatives comparable to 
English CAUSE or MAKE do not occur in the passive (at least 
not with an infinitival complement). As for permission / 
enablement predicates, Dutch allows the following:

(vi) Hij werd vrijgelaten om te gaan.
'He was let-free to go'

However, this is not implicative causation, i.e. it is not 
entailed that the referent of 'hij' actually went. 

I would be very grateful for information on the types 
of causative predicates that can occur in the passive 
construction in other languages. E.g. are there 
restrictions similar to Dutch or Spanish, or are "neutral" 
predicates allowed as well? If so, is this the case for 
only a restricted set of neutral causatives (like in 
English), or does the entire class allow it? And if there 
is only a restricted set, is it possible to identify any 
(subtle) semantic differences between the predicates that 
allow passivisation and those that do not (perhaps related 
to the source concepts of the verbs)? Also, how 
"grammatical" are the various passive causatives (see the 
remarks about Eng. GET and Sp. FORZAR, above)? Finally, 
what about passivisation of permissive / enabling causation 
predicates? 

Apart from specific data, I would also welcome references 
to relevant literature. Please reply to my e-mail address 
directly: W.B.Hollmannstud.man.ac.uk

Many thanks

Willem


Willem Hollmann
University of Manchester
Linguistics Dept / English Dept
Arts Building
Oxford Rd
Manchester M13 9PL
UK
http://lings.ln.man.ac.uk/Html/RStuds/WBH/default.htm
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