Mbyá resultatives and the structure of causation

Abstract: In Mbyá, target state resultative predicates can only be derived from inchoative verbs. This is in contrast with target state adjectival passives in better studied languages such as English, German and Greek, which can be derived from transitive causatives. I argue that the limited distribution of Mbyá resultatives reveals a point of variation in the association between roots and external-argument introducing Voice heads: while roots of non-agentive transitive causatives need not be lexically associated to agent or causer Voice in English and similar languages, they do in Mbyá. Together with the well documented incompatibility of target state resultatives with agent/causer Voice, this difference explains the restricted distribution of Mbyá resultatives. The proposed analysis stresses the importance of the distinction between target states and resultant states in the structure of adjectival passives and related resultative predicates cross-linguistically.

Guillaume Thomas. Accepted for publication in Glossa.