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Oblique anticausatives : a morphosyntactic isogloss in Indo-European

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The goal of this article is to introduce to the field a particular subtype of valency-reducing strategies, referred to as oblique anticausativization below. This subtype differs from more common and better known dependent-marking types, such as, for instance, the canonical anticausative. Instead, oblique anticausatives are characterized by the preservation of the object case of the transitive-causative alternant, hence the term oblique. This object case marker shows up with the subject of the corresponding intransitive construction. We document the existence of this alternation in seven branches of Indo-European, particularly in the North-Central region, but also sporadically in the South-Eastern parts of the Indo-European area. Ruling out alternative accounts of the relevant geographical distribution, such as borrowing and shared innovation, we argue for a morphosyntactic isogloss common for Germanic, Baltic, Slavic and Italic. This is paralleled by isolated enclaves found in other branches of Indo-European, such as Ancient Greek, Anatolian and Indo-Aryan. Altogether, the evidence speaks for the existence of oblique anticausativization in the proto-language, thus motivating a reconstruction of this alternation for the grammar of Proto-Indo-European.
ISSN: 1897-7499
Issue: 3
Volume: 56
Pages: 413 - 449
Publication year:2020