Decausatives in Polish: A non-reflexive analysis

Anna Malicka-Kleparska


One of the key operations in valency rearrangement is the formation of mono-argumental predicates from phonologically corresponding/identical bi-argumental predicates. It has been most recently revisited by Junghanns, Fermann and Lenertová (2011), who analyze decausatives in Slavic languages as cases of reflexivization of verbs with non-agentive causers, in the spirit of Koontz-Garboden (2009).We review these formations in Polish and find out that an alysis which is set against more extensive data gives no grounds for a reflexive analysis. We find the data in favor of decausatives showing the presence of the external argument through the appearance of the subject ‘by itself ’ anaphor misjudged as to their grammaticality. This claim is supported with examples from the National Corpus of the Polish Language contending against Jabłońska’s (2007) analysis. The overall picture of the morphological system and language behavior speak against setting apart decausatives with reflexive marking from other unaccusatives in Polish. We disregard the reflexive analysis and adopt the anticausative solution, where the formation of decausatives is not seen as identification of arguments. We see it as a subtraction of VoiceP. This solution assumes one of the structures for decausatives from Alexiadou (2010). The operation is seen as lexical, not syntactic, and in defiance of Koontz-Garboden’s Monotonicity Hypothesis.

Słowa kluczowe

morpho-syntax, Polish, reflexives, decausatives, unaccusatives, corpus studies

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