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Folia Linguistica

Acta Societatis Linguisticae Europaeae

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Volume 50, Issue 2


Why we need a token-based typology: A case study of analytic and lexical causatives in fifteen European languages

Natalia Levshina
Published Online: 2016-11-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/flin-2016-0019


This paper investigates variation of lexical and analytic causatives in 15 European languages from the Germanic, Romance, and Slavic genera based on a multilingual parallel corpus of film subtitles. Using typological parameters of variation of causatives from the literature, this study tests which parameters are relevant for the choice between analytic and lexical causatives in the sample of languages. The main research question is whether the variation is constrained by one semantic dimension, namely, the conceptual integration of the causing and caused events, as suggested by previous research on iconicity in language, or whether several different semantic and syntactic factors are at play. To answer this question, I use an exploratory multivariate technique for categorical data (Multiple Correspondence Analysis with supplementary points) and conditional random forests, a nonparametric regression and classification method. The study demonstrates the importance of corpus data in testing typological hypotheses.

Keywords: parallel corpus; analytic causative; lexical causative; Multiple Correspondence Analysis; random forests


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About the article

Received: 2015-05-25

Revised: 2015-11-17

Revised: 2016-02-09

Accepted: 2016-05-31

Published Online: 2016-11-08

Published in Print: 2016-11-01

Citation Information: Folia Linguistica, Volume 50, Issue 2, Pages 507–542, ISSN (Online) 1614-7308, ISSN (Print) 0165-4004, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/flin-2016-0019.

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