English psych verbs and the causative alternation: A case study in the history of English

Artemis Alexiadou 1
  • 1 Humboldt Universität zu Berlin Institute of English and American Studies, English Linguistics Unter den Linden 6 10099 Berlin, Germany


This paper discusses the absence of the causative alternation with psych predicates in English from a comparative perspective. It argues that English lacks the psych causative alternation due to a combination of factors that have been pointed out independently in the literature, but not discussed in the context of the literature on the causative alternation in the non-psych domain: i) several object experiencer predicates got reanalyzed as subject experiencer verbs, ii) English borrowed new object experiencer predicates from verb classes that do not participate in the causative alternation, and ii) the v as well as the Voice layer of English that participated in the building of these verbs were also affected by changes in their properties.

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