Peter Arkadiev

From transitivity to aspect: the causative-inchoative alternation and its extensions in Lithuanian

This paper proposes a unified treatment of two important types of morphosemantic correlations involving Lithuanian verbs forming their present stem with nasal infix or suffix -st: the causative/inchoative correlation of the type kilti ‘rise’ (intransitive) vs. kelti ‘raise’ (transitive) and the purely aspectual (actional) correlation of the type verkti ‘weep’ (atelic process) vs. pravirkti ‘start weeping’ (telic achievement), involving mostly intransitive verbs differing as process/state vs. event and not affecting their argument structure. It is argued that the latter correlation, despite having been largely neglected in the literature, is even more widespread in Lithuanian than the former. It is argued that the aspectual correlation has undergone extension in the more recent history of Lithuanian, and a diachronic scenario is outlined accounting for the semantic and morphological links between the older transitivity alternation and the newer actional alternation.

Keywords: transitivity, aspect, ablaut, verb classes, derivation, Construction Morphology