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      Applied arguments in Spanish inchoative middle constructions

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          Abstract

          Despite displaying identical exponents (a reflexive clitic, imperfective tenses and agreement between the verb and the preverbal definite DP theme), change-of-state predicates in generic/middle contexts (inchoative middles, henceforth), can in fact have two different underlying representations: (i) a generic inchoative and (ii) a generic se-passive, this being the only one projecting a Voice head passivized by the reflexive clitic, which denotes an implicit generic external argument. Spanish allows the insertion of an affected applicative head in inchoative configurations ( Cuervo 2003), which introduces an unselected dative argument interpreted either as an unintentional causer of the event if merged above the verbalizing head, or as affectee if merged below it. Crucially, this paper shows that the generic passive configuration disallows the applicative’s unintentional causer interpretation, since the position above vP is already filled by Voice; therefore, the only available merging position for the applicative is below vP. However, the unintentional causer interpretation is possible in generic inchoative constructions, which lack a VoiceP. The data and analysis presented here support Wood and Marantz’s ( 2017) proposal of a single argument-introducing head whose category and interpretation vary in terms of the syntactic context it is merged in. Finally, this study stresses the need to establish a more detailed classification of Spanish se-constructions as a whole and middles in particular with respect to their interaction with applied arguments.

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          Most cited references55

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              The verbal domain

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2397-1835
                Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
                Ubiquity Press
                2397-1835
                10 February 2020
                2020
                : 5
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, US
                Article
                10.5334/gjgl.827
                ea4de324-f794-44fc-8fe1-8e379743b067
                Copyright: © 2020 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Categories
                Research

                General linguistics,Linguistics & Semiotics
                se-constructions,datives,Voice,middle-passives,inchoatives,causative alternation,applicatives

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