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Causatives (was: Preventatives)

From:Tim May <butsuri@...>
Date:Tuesday, June 8, 2004, 20:57
John Cowan wrote at 2004-06-08 10:43:21 (-0400)
 > David G. Durand scripsit:
 > > I'm not sure I agree with Fodor (or whoever) as I find the second
 > > sentence perfectly normal.
 > Yes, that wasn't very well worded.  Try these:
 > 	I shot him on Thursday; he died on Friday.
 > 	a) Therefore, I caused him to die on Friday. [true]
 > 	b) Therefore, I killed him on Friday. [false]
 > IOW, "kill" is not *simply* the causative of "die".

I'm really not sure I agree with your phrasing; I don't think it's
part of the difinition of "causative" that you can replace "cause to
VERB" with "VERB.CAUS." in _any_ sentence and have it mean the same

The event expressed by a causative is necessarily complex, consisting
of the event of causation and the event caused.  For at least some
types of effect these may be seperated in time and space, as above.
Any lexical causative, like "kill" (probably any morphological
causative, too) has to conceptualize these things as a single event,
at least for purposes of syntax - if you apply a sufficiently
fine-grained locative or temporal phrase, it's necessarily going to be
ambiguous.  It's not possible to pick out the two events and modify
them individually.

My point being, a) this is a common property of lexical causatives (at
least) and b) it's more of a syntactic difference than a semantic one.
This being the case, I find it peculiar to say that "kill" is not
simply the causative of "die" (on the stated grounds).