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Agentivity and Causation in Romance

International Workshop



DateNovember 24, 2015

Klosterstraße 79b
50931 Köln


Marta Donazzan &
Marco García García




The aim of this workshop is to make a step forward in probing the link between causation and agentivity by investigating structures related to causative alternations across Romance languages. The focus will be both theoretical (probing the notion of causal responsibility itself via semantic and cognitive notions such as volition and control) and empirical (relating different types of causation to their surface realisations across Romance languages).


Among other questions, the workshop will address the following issues:

  1. Realization means for "Involuntary act constructions":
  2. a. Some unergative verbs are not volitional (to sleep, to sweat), while some unaccusative verbs may be volitional (to enter, to fall). Do we find different realisations for these cases?

    b. SI/SE cliticisation in analytic causative constructions (fr. il s'est fait écraser le chat par une voiture)

    c. SI/SE cliticisation with so-called ethical datives (sp. Se me ha roto la cuerda de la persiana): How can we analyse the dative in these cases? What is the relation to (non-)volitionality?

  3. Difference between direct and indirect causation: How can we express this distinction? What is the relation between (in)direct causation and volitionality? Which structures map this distinction at the interface?
  4. Difference between internal/external causation: What is the relation between non-volitionality and internal/external causation? Which structures map this distinction at the interface?
  5. The relation of causation and agentivity to aspect. Is it necessary to postulate a modal component for non-culminating construals where agentivity is at stake?





9:30-10:15Welcome and Introduction: Agentivity and Causation in Romance
Marta Donazzan & Marco García García (University of Cologne)
10:15-11:00O Uli (se) machucou: Causativity in Brazilian cool linking
Uli Reich (Freie Universität Berlin)
11:00-11:30Coffee break
11:30-12:15Agents, causers, and non-culminating construals
Fabienne Martin (University of Stuttgart)
14:00-14:45An irreverent philosophy of the syntax-semantics interface
Bridget Copley (CNRS, University of Paris 8)
14:45-15:30Agentivity and the external argument of event nouns
Marta Donazzan (University of Cologne) & Lucia Tovena (University of Paris 7)