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Events, arguments, and causative psych predicates in Finnish


By: Diane Nelson

In this paper the syntactic and semantic properties of psych predicates in Finnish are examined. Causative morphology in Finnish is shown not to trigger frighten-class (Object Experiencer) argument linking as expected. Instead, causative affixation derives two distinct classes of verb, one stative and one inchoative. Stative (non-delimited) causatives in Finnish turn out to show properties of unaccusatives similar to the Italian piacere-class, while delimited causatives pattern as transitive Object Experiencers.

The data are discussed in light of theories of argument linking, particularly those which attribute fear-frighten alternations to thematic and aspectual differences between the two classes. The mapping of arguments to the syntax in these predicates is argued to be predictable not by lexical thematic role assignment, but from the interaction of causative morphosyntax with event structure and structurally-assigned aspectual roles.

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