Argument Composition and the Lexicon:

Lexical and Periphrastic Causatives in Korean

Elizabeth Owen Bratt, Stanford University Linguistics, December 1996

This thesis explores the properties of Korean lexical and periphrastic causatives as a key to issues of constituent structure, case marking, complementation, and the organization of the grammar into the lexicon and syntactic structure. The analysis, set within the framework of Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar , treats both forms of causative as syntactically monoclausal and semantically biclausal. Argument composition resolves the challenge that monoclausal periphrastic causatives present to a monotonic syntax by lexically specifying how the causative auxiliary can inherit arguments from the causativized verb.

Constituent structure properties demonstrate the relation of the inherited arguments to the inheriting head, with original and inherited arguments occurring linearly intermixed, and alternating case forms on the inherited arguments reflecting the agentivity of their inheriting head, rather than their lexical, semantic head. Constituent structure also shapes grammatical possibilities, with subject honorification, plural copy, and negation possibilities all differing between lexical and periphrastic causatives simply because the lexical causatives do not provide a separate lower verb for suffixes or particles to attach to, while the periphrastic causative verbal complex does allow the causative auxiliary and the lower causativized verb to be singled out individually.

Causatives, by separating semantic heads from constituent structure heads, tease apart the often coincident characteristics of case marked elements. This separation demonstrates that items lexically marked with underspecified grammatical case receive full specification as nominative or accusative when the Case Principles apply to their constituent structure realizations. Semantically case-marked items generally only require semantic compatibility with the verb they modify, but locatives inherited through argument composition additionally require the appropriate alternating form for the verb which heads their phrase in syntax.

The syntactic and semantic representations intermediate between fully biclausal and fully monoclausal can be seen as steps in a grammaticalization process over time. The lexical causatives re-order the obliqueness of their arguments to fit the most normal obliqueness for verbs; lexical causatives share a delimiter and spatial and temporal location between causation and caused relation; and periphrastic causatives occur in verbal complexes functioning as single verbs, thereby directly reflecting their complex predicatehood.