Brian Nolan


In this paper we provide a brief account of patterns of causation in modern Irish that occur with lexically causative verbs. Three types of causation are found in modern Irish: lexical, periphrastic and morphological. In terms of the relative weightings of each type, the morphological causative is the least productive. Its use appears to be highly constrained to two very specific domains and it is signalled by particular morphological affixes. Lexical causatives are more productive than the morphological causative. By contrast, periphrastic or analytical causatives are highly productive and wide-ranging in their deployment. A claim of this paper is that an important class of causative constructions are modelled on an underlying schema of caused motion. Within this schema we find that different types of NPs occur to code the end state of the clause, thereby licensing different types of clause structures. We will demonstrate that there are a number of significant generalisations in the causative constructions that would otherwise be missed, or difficult to find, without the insights inherent in Role and Reference Grammar (RRG) and its logical structure formalism. In particular, we deploy a decompositional representation influenced by RRG to represent the underlying situation types, states of affairs, and events to bring out various uses of the verb cuir ’put’ and in so doing we uncover significant evidence to support our contention that motion is a factor in causation along with the eventive primitives of CAUSE, BECOME, INGR and BE. We provide evidence relating to lexically causative verbs in modern Irish whereby they are shown to co-occur with certain prepositional phrases to create periphrastic causative constructions whose semantics is beyond that recorded lexically on the verb. Our view is that periphrastic causation in modern Irish is concerned with causative motion within an event frame, is sensitive to interpretation as a prototypicality structure and the underlying schemata represent the extensions over this prototype.