The case of an enlightening, provoking and admirable Basque derivational suffix with implications for the theory of argument structure



Argitaratua ots 15, 2003
Xabier Artiagoitia


This article analyzes morphological evidence from Basque to support one basic claim: that subjects of the object-experiencer (i.e. frighten-type) psych verbs are internal arguments. The derivational suffix -garri provides the relevant evidence. This suffix is traditionally characterized as forming adjectives from verbs and, disputably, from nouns or adjectives and as having both an active and a passive meaning. I first establish on several grounds that -garri is basically a deverbal suffix which forms adjectives productively. Secondly, I show that the so-called passive value of the suffix is restricted to diadic transitive verbs: the internal argument of the verb becomes the external one of the adjective. The so-called active value of the suffix is restricted to psych verbs with experiencer objects: the surface subject of the verb becomes the external argument of the adjective. Thirdly, a unified characterization of the -garri suffixation is proposed along the lines of Grimshaw (1990): if subjects of the frighten class are internal arguments, there is one single rule of -garri suffixation which adds an R(eferential) argument to bind the first internal argument of a diadic verb; the original external argument, if there is one, is supressed. Verbs whose surface subject bear an instrumental θ-role also admit the suffix -garri (the subject becomes the external argument of the adjective); this fact suggests that instrumental subjects count as internal arguments in Basque. The mere existence of -garri supports the claim that the frighten verb class lacks an external argument; its existence can be also taken as a fair prediction of Belleti and Rizzi's unaccusative analysis of the frighten class, but runs counter to both Pesetsky's analysis
(1995) and a purely transitive-causative analysis of object experiencer verbs (cf. Arad 1999a-b).

How to Cite

Artiagoitia, Xabier. 2003. «The Case of an Enlightening, Provoking and Admirable Basque Derivational Suffix With Implications for the Theory of Argument Structure». Anuario Del Seminario De Filología Vasca "Julio De Urquijo", otsailak, 147-83.
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