Categorization of Causation: Directness or Animacy?

Sami Chatti


The categorization of English causative constructions turns commonly around the notion of directness, with little consensus among linguists on the exact definition of this concept. The use of directness as a clustering parameter results in a twofold categorization of English periphrastic causative constructions, namely direct and indirect causatives. This paper reveals the inaccuracy of this distinction and advocates the relevance of frequency and correlational information in the categorizing process. The clustering of English periphrastic causative constructions with regard to the animacy feature offers a better understanding of causal relations and results in a fourfold categorization of causative constructions into physical, volitional, affective and inductive causatives.

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