Internally Caused Change as Change by Inner Predisposition: Comparative Evidence from Romance

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This article investigates the morphosyntax of verbs of internally caused scalar change and the main facets of their meaning. Availing ourselves of primary evidence from Italian, French and Spanish corpora, we argue that the verbs under scrutiny divide into three subclasses whose common denominator is that they encode ‘change by inner predisposition’ or change that is possible because of inherent propensities of specific entities. We understand inner predisposition as a feature of the content of the verbs investigated, which has relevance to the choice of the undergoer, alongside the cause of two of the subclasses. Apart from this feature verbs of change by inner predisposition are indistinguishable from other verbs of change. We argue against an agentive or generalized causative analysis, and we advance a proposal for the lexical semantics of representatives of each of the three subclasses and for the alternations in which they participate.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Linguistics
Early online date30 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 May 2023


  • Change of state
  • internal causation
  • external causation
  • inner predisposition
  • anticausativization
  • Romance


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