Atypical Argument Structure in French: from Metaphorical uses to atypical ones

Abstract : The article analyses some atypical constructions of French intransitive verbs, such as" ils ont suicidé le ministre" (they suicided the minister), "la crème a explosé les poux" (the cream exploded the lice), and tries to account for their existence, as the construction is not always possible, and differs semantically from "ils l’ont fait se suicider" (they made him commit suicide), "il a fait exploser la bombe" (he triggered the bomb), where the FAIRE faire construction is compulsory. The hypothesis is that the atypical constructions can be explained within the domain of causative constructions, and more particularly with regard to the distinction between internal and external causation (Guéron, Talmy, Levin, McKoon and Macfarland). The atypical constructions are only possible when no internal causation is available, namely when the causee does not possess the internal characteristics enabling the change of state to occur: the minister was not the suicidal type and the interpretation is then that he was murdered. A change of state did occur, but not the one denoted by the lexical verb.
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Contributor : Geneviève Girard-Gillet <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - 3:02:28 PM
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Geneviève Girard-Gillet. Atypical Argument Structure in French: from Metaphorical uses to atypical ones. Atypical Predicate-Argument Relations, 33, John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp.181-201, 2016, Lingvisticae Investigationes Supplementa, 9789027266255. ⟨10.1075/lis.33⟩. ⟨halshs-01459872⟩



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