Causal vs. causative constructions: A tentative analysis

2021. №5, 7-25

Victor S. Xrakovskij
Institute for Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia;


The paper proposes a contrastive functional and semantic analysis of causal and causative constructions. To our knowledge, this is the fi rst probe of this kind, although both types of constructions describe identical composite causative situations wherein a situation of cause interacts with a situation of consequence determined by the cause. The two construction types diff er in their syntactic structure. Causal constructions consist of two clauses — the main clause describing the consequence, and the dependent clause describing the cause. Causatives are single-clause constructions where verbal predicate’s arguments denote the participants in both the cause and the consequence, while a description of the cause itself is mostly optional. Correspondingly, the focus of a causal construction is the cause, while the focus of a causative construction is the consequence. Another notable diff erence is that causative constructions can function as either of a causal construction’s clauses.

For citation:

Xrakovskij V. S. Causal vs causative constructions: A tentative analysis. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2021, 5: 7–25.


This research has been supported by the Russian Science Foundation Grant No. 18-18-00472 “Causal Constructions in Languages of the World: Semantics and Typology”.