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Causality and causation: A functional approach to causative constructions in Modern Swedish

Gudrun Rawoens EMAIL logo
From the journal

This study claims that analytical causative constructions in Modern Swedish realized by the causal predicates ‘get’, komma ‘come’, ha ‘have’, förmå ‘induce’ and låta ‘let’ express different types of causation. The constructions are analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively with respect to the central verbs (the causal and effected predicates) and their arguments (the Causer, Causee and Affectee). The quantitative analysis reveals that the verbs and låta are the most frequent causal predicates, whereas the verbs komma, ha and förmå are relatively marginal. Constructions with låta are distinct from the other constructions, both syntactically and semantically. In the qualitative part of the study, the construction type is examined within the general theoretical framework of Functional Grammar (Dik, The theory of Functional Grammar. Vol. 1: The structure of the clause, Mouton de Gruyter, 1997a, The theory of Functional Grammar. Vol. 2: Complex and derived constructions, Mouton de Gruyter, 1997b), which is used to describe the semantic properties of the main participants and the aktionsart of the verbs involved. It transpires that a number of syntactic, semantic and pragmatic differences are responsible for the actual choice of one causal predicate over another in a particular context. The different causal predicates are also shown to express different types of causation, namely, direct causation, indirect causation, involuntary causation and causation according to the billiard ball model.

Received: 2010-02-16
Revised: 2010-07-06
Accepted: 2010-09-27
Published Online: 2011-03-14
Published in Print: 2011-May

© Mouton de Gruyter – Societas Linguistica Europaea

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