1 Introduction

Lexical causative verbs such as the verb in (1a) and their anticausative counterparts such as the verb in (1b) are standardly assumed to have semantics along the lines of (2a, b) (e.g. Parsons 1990). Under this view (henceforth: ‘the standard theory’), a causative verb denotes a causal relation between an event and a change of state, the latter being denoted by the corresponding anticausative verb. Consequently, the truth of a clause headed by a causative verb entails the truth of the clause headed by its anticausative counterpart, that is if (1a) is true then (1b) is necessarily true, too:1

    1. (1)
    1. a.
    1. John opened the door.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. The door opened.
    1. (2)
    1. a.
    1. λxλy[(y) CAUSE [BECOME [(x) open]]]
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. λx[BECOME [(x) open]]

Most English causative-anticausative verb pairs are morphologically identical, constituting a so-called labile alternation (with very few exceptions such as lay vs. lie or raise vs. rise, which show stem allomorphy). Other languages, however, often differentiate one of the alternates morphologically (e.g. Haspelmath 1993). Many Indo-European languages also have, besides a set of labile or unmarked anticausative verbs, a set of morphologically marked anticausative verbs. The Spanish examples in (3) and (4) illustrate this. While the anticausative verb in (3b) is morphologically identical to its causative counterpart in (3a), the anticausative verb in (4b) differs from its causative counterpart in (4a) in that it obligatorily co-occurs with a SE-reflexive clitic (other Indo-European languages use a free SE-reflexive pronoun or a reflexive verbal affix to mark (a subset of) their anticausatives.)2 Without going into any theoretical details, many accounts build on the pre-theoretical intuition depicted in (5a, b) that the presence of the SE-morpheme in marked anticausatives reflects the absence of the external causer argument and the eventuality introducing this external causer argument (the CAUSE predicate and its argument y) in the semantic representation of anticausatives (e.g. Grimshaw 1981; Reinhart 2000; 2002; Doron 2003; Reinhart & Siloni 2005; Schäfer 2008; Alexiadou et al. 2015, though the theoretical assumptions and semantic details differ a lot). Consequently, marked anticausatives denote simple inchoative events, too, as shown in (5b).

    1. (3)
    1. a.
    1. Juan
    2. Juan
    1. aumentó
    2. increased
    1. los
    2. the
    1. precios.
    2. prices
    1. ‘Juan increased the prices.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Los
    2. the
    1. precios
    2. prices
    1. aumentaron.
    2. increased
    1. ‘The prices increased.’
    1. (4)
    1. a.
    1. Juan
    2. Juan
    1. rompió
    2. broke
    1. el
    2. the
    1. vaso.
    2. glass
    1. ‘Juan broke the glass.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. El
    2. the
    1. vaso
    2. glass
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. rompió.
    2. broke
    1. ‘The glass broke.’
    1. (5)
    1. a.
    1. λx
    1. λy[(y) CAUSE
    1. [BECOME [(x) broken]]]
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. λx
    1. <SE–>Ø>
    1. [BECOME [(x) broken]] = λx[BECOME [(x) broken]]

Under the standard account then, SE-marked and unmarked anticausatives do not differ semantically (cf. (5b) and (2b)); both denote simple inchoative events undergone by their sole DP argument. Consequently, both should be entailed by their causative counterparts because the latter denotes the causation of the event denoted by the former.

This standard view on anticausatives in general, and on reflexively marked anticausatives in particular, leaves open, however, an important puzzle. Why are (across languages and far beyond the Indo-European language family; cf. Haspelmath 1993) markers of anticausatives often syncretic with markers of reflexivity, that is, why do we find so often the same morphological marker with anticausative verbs that normally produces canonically reflexive verbs? The Spanish canonically reflexive verb in (6b) illustrates the point again; (6a) shows what we call the ‘transitive-disjoint use’ of the very same verb.3

    1. (6)
    1. a.
    1. La
    2. the
    1. madre
    2. mother
    1. lavó
    2. washed
    1. al
    2. to.the
    1. niño.
    2. boy
    1. ‘The mother washed the boy.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. El
    2. the
    1. niño
    2. boy
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. lavó.
    2. washed
    1. ‘The boy washed.’

In (6b), the SE-morpheme arguably acts as a reflexivizer with the meaning in (7) (or as a locally bound variable, i.e. an anaphor)4 in that it takes a transitive relation ℜ such as the transitive verb lavar (wash) in (6a) with the semantics in (8a) as its argument and identifies the two arguments of the relation, thereby producing the reflexive verbal meaning in (8b). The sentence in (6b) then means that the boy was the agent as well as the patient of a washing event:

    1. (7)
    1. [se] = λℜλx [ℜ(x,x)]
    1. (8)
    1. a.
    1. [lavar]
    1. =
    1. λxλyλe[wash(e) ∧ AGENT(e, y) ∧ PATIENT(e, x)]
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. [se]([lavar])
    1. =
    1. λxλe[wash(e) ∧ AGENT(e, x) ∧ PATIENT(e, x)]

A number of scholars, in particular Chierchia (2004) and Koontz-Garboden (2009), suggested that the puzzling syncretism between SE-marked anticausatives and SE-marked canonically reflexive verbs follows from an identical semantic content or function of the SE-morpheme in the two verb classes; SE acts as a reflexivizer in anticausatives just as it does in canonical reflexive verbs. We call this proposal the ‘reflexivization analysis of anticausatives’ (henceforth RAoAC). Under this proposal, a SE-marked anticausative verb is derived from a transitive lexical entry simply by adding the SE-reflexivizer in (7). The only difference between verbs undergoing canonical reflexivization and verbs forming marked anticausatives lies in the nature of the external argument role. As discussed in more detail in the next section, the external argument role of a causative verb with an anticausative alternate is not a human agent but it is an underspecified effector (see 9a), which can also be realized as a non-human causer entity. Adding the reflexivizer in (7) to the transitive causative verb in (9a) sets identical the external argument effector with the internal argument theme as in (9b). Then, according to (9b) the anticausative clause in (4b) says that ‘the glass’ was the effector as well as the theme of a breaking event. Since break is a causative verb, this means that ‘the glass caused its own breaking’.

    1. (9)
    1. a.
    1. [romper]
    1. =
    1. λxλyλsλe[∃v[CAUSE(v,e)∧EFFECTOR(v,y)∧BECOME(e,s)∧THEME(s,x)∧broken(s)]]
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. [se]([romper])
    1. =
    1. λxλsλe[∃v[CAUSE(v,e)∧EFFECTOR(v,x)∧BECOME(e,s)∧THEME(s,x)∧broken(s)]]

Note that the reflexivization analysis of anticausatives in (9a, b) crucially differs from the standard analysis in (2a, b/4a, b) in that it predicts that a causative clause does not entail its corresponding anticausative clause, i.e. (4a) should not entail (4b). This is the same as with the canonically reflexive sentence (6b), which is, of course, not entailed by its transitive-disjoint counterpart in (6a).

The reflexivization analysis of anticausatives (RAoAC) was proposed most prominently in the work by Chierchia (2004) for Italian and Koontz-Garboden (2009) for Spanish (see also Beavers & Koontz-Garboden 2013a; b) and we will concentrate on their proposals because they provide explicit semantics that allow for falsification (in particular (9a, b) which is taken from Koontz-Garboden 2009). However, other authors have made (sometimes only in passing) similar suggestions for different languages, for example Manzini & Savoia (2001; 2011) for Italian, Medová (2012) for Czech, Beavers & Zubair (2013) for Sinhala, Fehrmann et al. (2014) for Russian or Lundquist et al. (ms.) for Norwegian.

We will discuss a number of conceptual and empirical arguments that suggest that the RAoAC cannot be upheld.5 In fact, a number of authors have argued against the RAoAC before, in particular Horvath & Siloni (2011; 2013) (with rejoinders in Beavers & Koontz-Garboden 2013a; b) and Alexiadou et al. (2015). In section 2, we will take up from these preceding publications some basically conceptual aspects in the discussion of the RAoAC in order to set some background. In section 3, we will add new semantic arguments that are complementary to those given in the above-mentioned earlier work. We, thereby, hope to add further support to the conclusion reached by these authors and to further clarify aspects in the argumentation that seemed to remain undecided. In particular, we will apply in section 3 tests that show that marked and unmarked anticausatives are entailed by their causative counterparts, while the same does, of course, not hold for canonically reflexive verbs and their transitive-disjoint counterparts. As we will also discuss, the arguments presented in the literature in favor of the RAoAC turn out to be conceptually and/or empirically misguided; under closer scrutiny they do not point to a reflexive relationship between causatives and anticausatives but to a scalar relationship. Such a scalar relationship follows from the standard semantics in (2a, b)/(4a, b) which state that a causative clause entails its anticausative counterpart. As is well known, scalar predicates can trigger implicatures; and in fact, the use of an anticausative often triggers the implicature that its causative counterpart does not hold true, an effect that derives a number of observations in the context of the causative alternation in general, and in the discussion of the RAoAC in particular (see Rappaport Hovav 2014 for related observations about contextual restrictions on the use of (anti-)causatives).

More far-reaching, our results support the conclusion that SE-marked anticausatives form a semantically uniform class with unmarked anticausatives (e.g. Schäfer 2008; Horvath & Siloni 2011; 2013; Alexiadou et al. 2015) as well as with other clearly inchoative structures such as non-alternating unaccusative verbs and eventive copula+adjective constructions (Schäfer 2008; Alexiadou et al. 2015). This means that the SE-morpheme does not always act as a reflexivizer (or a bound anaphor; cf. fn. 4) and that the identical morphological marking found in anticausatives and canonically reflexive verbs across languages is a real syncretism (same form, different function). However, as we will discuss, nothing (except world knowledge) blocks semantic reflexivization of causative verbs. Therefore, a surface string such as (4b) can, in principle, receive the reading in (8b), but only under very specific circumstances. The RAoAC, on the other hand, wrongly predicts meaning (2b) to be generally unavailable for SE-marked anticausatives.

For practical reasons, we restrict our discussion to Indo-European languages with a SE-morpheme/SE-reflexive element. In fact, we will mainly use examples from German and Spanish, but in order to reach some cross-linguistic significance, we will set out at least some of our empirical tests in two Romance languages (Spanish, Italian), two Germanic languages (German, Norwegian) and two Slavic languages (Russian and Czech). The semantic and pragmatic tests presented below should, however, be applicable to languages from other language families using different morphological devices, too.6

Before we turn to a discussion of the semantic predictions of the RAoAC, we will first look in the next section at some conceptual arguments that might speak in favor of the RAoAC as this allows us to characterize a bit more this proposal as well as some linguistic issues against which this proposal should be evaluated.

2 Conceptual evaluation of the RAoAC

In this section, we survey three conceptual arguments brought forward in favor of the RAoAC.

One main argument concerns the puzzle about the multifunctionality of reflexive morphology. If SE acts as a reflexivizer both in canonical reflexive verbs and in marked anticausatives, then the puzzle why SE shows up with anticausatives is solved. It applies to causative verbs to derive, in a well-defined and fully compositional way, what received the descriptive term ‘marked anticausative’ in the literature. Under the standard analysis, the semantic impact of the SE-morpheme in anticausatives remains unclear; in any case, it cannot be reduced to the canonical use of the SE-morpheme.

As is well known, SE-reflexive morphemes can be used for a wider range of constructions than just canonically reflexive verbs and marked anticausatives; in many languages, they are also used in generic middles, passives or even in impersonal constructions (cf. Spanish (10a-c)) (see also Koontz-Garboden 2009: 92 fn. 11; Horvath & Siloni 2013: 218). We agree with Horvath & Siloni (2013) that it is impossible to account for the semantics of these constructions in terms of reflexivization. If true, morphological identity does not necessarily reflect semantic identity and this particular conceptual advantage of the RAoAC vanishes. However, the data in (10a-c) do by no means invalidate the RAoAC. In any case, the question remains significant: how do we correctly divide the space marked with SE-morphemes into a semantically reflexive part and one with different semantics.7

    1. (10)
    1. a.
    1. Estas
    2. these
    1. patatas
    2. potatoes
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. cortan
    2. cut
    1. fácilmente.
    2. easily
    1. ‘These potatoes cut easily.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Se
    2. SE
    1. venden
    2. sell
    1. pisos.
    2. flats
    1. ‘Flats are sold’, i.e. ‘flats for sale.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Se
    2. SE
    1. vive
    2. live
    1. bien
    2. well
    1. en
    2. in
    1. Madrid.
    2. Madrid
    1. ‘One lives well in Madrid.’

Second, Koontz-Garboden (2007; 2009) points out that the RAoAC avoids the violation of the monotonicity hypothesis in (11):

    1. (11)
    1. Monotonicity Hypothesis (Koontz-Garboden 2007; 2009; 2012; cf. Kiparsky 1982):
    2. Word formation operations add, but do not remove, meaning.

Many accounts that assume the standard semantics of (marked) anticausatives in (5b), on the other hand, violate monotonicity. This is so if they assume that verbs forming marked anticausatives are basically stored with their transitive lexical entry (i.e. 5a) and the SE-marked anticausative use of the verb with the semantics in (5b) is derived from the transitive entry. Under such a view, adding the SE-morpheme to the entry in (5a) leads to a deletion of the CAUSE predicate (cf. (5b)), and this clearly violates monotonicity. However, the problem arises only if SE-marked anticausatives are literally derived from their transitive counterpart. There are, however, theories of word formation that technically do not derive marked anticausatives from their causative variants (e.g. Piñón 2001; Doron 2003; Schäfer 2008; Alexiadou et al. 2015); these do not violate monotonicity (as already pointed out by Horvath & Siloni 2013: 218). The latter authors argue that the lexical derivation of anticausatives from causatives as it is executed in the Theta System (Reinhart 2000; 2002; Reinhart & Siloni 2005 et seq.) should not be seen as a violation of monotonicity. In this framework, decausativization applies at a lexical level that is assumed to lack event decomposition; consequently, it does not delete a causative event but only the thematic information about a verb’s external argument/causer (see Horvath & Siloni 2013: 218 for details).

We conclude that the above conceptual arguments in favor of the RAoAC are not decisive. Whether SE-marked anticausatives should be subsumed under the semantics of canonically reflexive verbs seems to remain then a purely empirical question. When we turn to a third conceptual argument, however, brought forward in favor of the RAoAC, we will see that under closer scrutiny, this argument not only turns against the RAoAC under conceptual reasoning, but it also brings about a first set of empirical problems for the RAoAC.

Koontz-Garboden (2009) argues that only the RAoAC can derive the so-called ‘underspecified external argument generalization’ on anticausative formation given in (12), which was first discussed in the work by Levin & Rappaport Hovav (1995) and Reinhart (2000). Other theories, he argues, in particular those building on detransitivization, must stipulate the existence of (12).8

    1. (12)
    1. Underspecified External Argument Generalization:
    2. Only transitive verbs that do not restrict the θ-role of their external argument to agents enter the (anti-)causative alternation.

The Spanish examples in (13) and (14) illustrate the generalization in (12). A verb like desmontar (‘dismantle’) selects a human agent as its external argument; non-human causers and instruments are not allowed (13a). (12) correctly predicts that this verb does not form an anticausative (13b). The verb romper (‘break’), on the other hand, selects an underspecified effector as its external argument since agents, non-human causers as well as instruments can appear (14a), and in accordance with (12) the verb allows an anticausative use (14b).

    1. (13)
    1. a.
    1. Juan /
    2. John /
    1. *el
    2. the
    1. accidente /
    2. accident /
    1. *el
    2. the
    1. destornillador
    2. screwdriver
    1. desmontó
    2. dismantled
    1. el
    2. the
    1. coche.
    2. car
    1. ‘John/*the accident/*the screwdriver dismantled the car.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *El
    2. the
    1. coche
    2. car
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. desmontó
    2. dismantled
    1. (por
    2. by
    1. SE
    1. solo).
    2. self
    1. ‘The car got dismantled.’
    1. (14)
    1. a.
    1. El
    2. the
    1. vándalo /
    2. vandal /
    1. la
    2. the
    1. tormenta /
    2. storm /
    1. la
    2. the
    1. piedra
    2. rock
    1. rompió
    2. broke
    1. la
    2. the
    1. ventana.
    2. window
    1. ‘The vandal/the storm/the rock broke the window.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. La
    2. the
    1. ventana
    2. window
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. rompió
    2. broke
    1. (por
    2. by
    1. SE
    1. sola).
    2. self
    1. ‘The window broke (by itself).’

Recall that the thematic underspecification of the external argument of verbs like romper is at the core of the RAoAC. Since romper selects an underspecified effector lacking any agent entailments, the non-human theme the window can also be assigned this external effector role in (14b) under reflexivization. The ungrammaticality of (13b) on the other hand follows because the verb involved selects for an agent external argument and since the theme is non-human and lacks agentive properties, this selectional restriction is not fulfilled if (13b) involves reflexivization.

Explaining the generalization in (12) via the RAoAC raises, however, a problem. To see this, note that Koontz-Garboden (2009) assumes that only SE-marked anticausatives are semantically reflexive (cf. (9b)). Unmarked anticausatives such as (3b) on the other hand are assumed to have the standard semantics in (2b/4b) expressing simple one-place inchoative events. Unmarked anticausatives must then be lexically stored and the causative version must be derived by causativization.9 However, the generalization in (12) holds for marked as well as unmarked anticausatives. While the RAoAC seems to account for the fact that marked anticausatives are subject to (12), it has nothing to say as to why all verbs forming unmarked anticausatives also allow non-agentive external arguments in their transitive use, i.e. why they are subject to (12), too. Assuming that SE-marked and unmarked anticausatives have fundamentally different semantics forces to come up with two different explanations of what seems to be a unitary phenomenon.

It should be noted that this problem does not exist under a version of the RAoAC as Chierchia (2004) suggests it (cf. also Lundquist et al. to appear for Norwegian). He proposes that both marked and unmarked anticausatives are derived by reflexivization from a transitive lexical entry; reflexivization is just not always reflected by surface morphology. The idea is that unmarked anticausatives such as (3b) are similar to English John washed which is arguably semantically reflexive (John washed himself) even though no reflexivizing morphology is present. This idea is not as innocent as suggested, however. While English John washed receives a reflexive interpretation, this option seems to crucially depend on the fact that English lacks a SE-reflexive morpheme. All other Indo-European languages that have a SE-reflexive morpheme lack zero-derived reflexive verbs of the English type with human subjects (see Alexiadou et al. 2014). That is, in all these languages, strings similar to English John washed, John dressed or John and Mary kissed can only get an interpretation involving object drop (John washed something) but not a reflexive or reciprocal interpretation.10

Turning back to (12), note that this generalization is strong but not perfect. Basically all languages have individual transitive, causative verbs with an underspecified external argument that do actually not form an anticausative. This is illustrated in (15) with a German example (see Rappaport Hovav 2014 for English verbs of destruction and killing showing the same behavior, see Alexiadou et al. 2015 for further discussion and further German examples).

    1. (15)
    1. a.
    1. Hans /
    2. John /
    1. der
    2. the
    1. Sturm
    2. storm
    1. zerstörte
    2. destroyed
    1. das
    2. the
    1. Gemälde.
    2. painting
    1. ‘John/the storm destroyed the painting.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Das
    2. the
    1. Gemälde
    2. painting
    1. zerstörte
    2. destroyed
    1. (sich)
    2. SE
    1. plötzlich.
    2. suddenly
    1. ‘The painting got (suddenly) destroyed.’

In the worst case, every theory has to stipulate something (e.g. in a lexical entry) to capture the ungrammaticality of (15b) and similar cases. The problem for the RAoAC is that it would have to stipulate that reflexivization is blocked. However, this move seems too strong as reflexivization is arguably not blocked with such a verb whether the external argument is a human or a non-human entity (cf. 16a, b):

    1. (16)
    1. a.
    1. Hans
    2. John
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. durch
    2. through
    1. seine
    2. his
    1. Sauferei
    2. drinking
    1. (selbst)
    2. (self)
    1. zerstört.
    2. destroyed
    1. ‘John destroyed himself with his drinking.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Die
    2. the
    1. Rakete
    2. missile
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. (selbst)
    2. (self)
    1. zerstört
    2. destroyed
    1. als
    2. when
    1. sie
    2. she
    1. vom
    2. from.the
    1. korrekten
    2. right
    1. Kurs
    2. course
    1. abkam.
    2. off.came
    1. ‘The missile destroyed itself when it got off from the right course.’

Since reflexivization of transitive predicates cannot be blocked in any reasonable way, the proposal makes the even worse prediction that all unmarked anticausatives, e.g. (17a), should optionally allow SE-marking as in (17d). This is so as these verbs allow non-human subjects (17b) and they allow reflexivization (17c). In order to avoid (17d), the RAoAC would have to stipulate that such verbs reflexivize only if the subject is a human agent.11

    1. (17)
    1. a.
    1. Die
    2. the
    1. Oberfläche
    2. surface
    1. verdreckte.
    2. dirtied
    1. ‘The surface got dirty.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Das
    2. the
    1. Kind /
    2. child /
    1. Der
    2. the
    1. Regen
    2. rain
    1. verdreckte
    2. dirtied
    1. die
    2. the
    1. Oberfläche.
    2. surface
    1. ‘The child/the rain dirtied the surface.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Der
    2. the
    1. Junge
    2. boy
    1. verdreckte
    2. dirtied
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. (beim
    2. (at.the
    1. Spielen
    2. playing
    1. mit
    2. with
    1. Schlamm).
    2. mud)
    1. ‘The boy dirtied himself while playing with mud.’
    1.  
    1. d.
    1. *Die
    2. the
    1. Oberfläche
    2. surface
    1. verdreckte
    2. dirtied
    1. sich.
    2. SE
    1. ‘The surface got dirty.’

Finally, it remains unclear why we find reflexively marked anticausatives only in languages with a SE-reflexive element. English is a case in point. As the example in (18a) shows, the English SELF-reflexive pronoun is not restricted to human (or anthropomorphic) antecedents (pace Beavers & Koontz-Garboden 2013a: 214; see also many examples in Stevens 2006); but then, why can’t English use its SELF-reflexive pronoun to derive anticausatives (18b-e)?

    1. (18)
    1. a.
    1. This electronic door can open/opens (itself)
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. His mouth/eye opened (#itself)
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. A gap opened (#itself)
    1.  
    1. d.
    1. The glass broke (#itself)
    1.  
    1. e.
    1. His heart broke (#itself)

Note that (18b-e) are not formally ungrammatical. Arguably, speakers reject these examples because their semantics are incompatible with the way they conceive the world. For example, (18c) without the reflexive pronoun expresses that a gap came into existence, but with reflexive pronoun, it expresses that a gap caused itself to come into existence. But gaps cannot open themselves for conceptual reasons (cf. fn. 11) because this would amount to a world where a causer causes its own existence (see Doron 2003; Alexiadou et al. 2015 for similar examples). Note next that the RAoAC proposes exactly such fallacious semantics for similar examples in languages with SE-reflexives. In German, for example, the anticausative version of open is obligatorily expressed with the SE-reflexive pronoun (Ein Spalt öffnete sich (‘a gap opened SE’)). To conclude, while it is well known that only SE-reflexives but never SELF-reflexives are used across languages to form marked anticausatives (e.g. Faltz 1985; Kemmer 1993), the RAoAC has no way to integrate this fact, because the semantic outcome of the two reflexivization strategies is identical.12

3 Entailment in the causative alternation

Recall that the semantic relation between a SE-marked anticausative and its causative alternate is fundamentally different under the RAoAC and under the standard account. As discussed in detail in Koontz-Garboden (2009), the standard account in (4a, b) predicts a clause headed by a causative verb to entail a clause headed by its anticausative counterpart, while under the RAoAC in (9a, b) no such entailment relation should hold. Koontz-Garboden (2009: 103) sees the prediction of the RAoAC confirmed by examples such as the Spanish one in (19), where a clause headed by a SE-marked anticausative is negated while its transitive counterpart is asserted. Examples corresponding to (19) are acceptable in many, if not all languages.

    1. (19)
    1. El
    2. the
    1. vaso
    2. glass
    1. no
    2. no
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. rompió,
    2. broke,
    1. lo
    2. it
    1. rompiste
    2. broke
    1. tú.
    2. you
    1. ‘The vase didn’t break, you broke it.’

Negation is a downward entailing operator licensing inferences from supersets to subsets. Informally speaking, if an expression A is entailed by B, while the reverse does not hold, then A is semantically weaker than B. And if a weaker semantic expression is not satisfied (or false), any corresponding stronger expression is thereby not satisfied (or false), too. Since the standard theory of the causative alternation repeated in (20) characterizes the meaning of a causative verb and its anticausative alternate as strong and weak expressions, it predicts that the negation of an anticausative event should necessarily make the corresponding causative event false, too. And the example in (19) seems to prove this to be empirically wrong.

    1. (20)
    1. a.
    1. λxλy[(y) CAUSE [BECOME [(x) broken]]]
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. λx[BECOME [(x) broken]]

The argument goes through, however, only if the negation in (19) is a truth-functional statement about the proposition expressed by the first clause, i.e. if it is a ‘logical’ (or ‘descriptive’) use of negation. Alternatively, (19) might involve the so-called ‘metalinguistic’ use of negation, which does not negate the truth-value of a proposition but objects to a pragmatic aspect of the utterance (Horn 1985, and many others before and since). The different uses of negation are illustrated in (21a-c) and (22a-c) respectively:

    1. (21)
    1. a.
    1. John does not have four children. He has three dogs.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. The soup was not cold. The main dish was salty.
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Mary does not hate spiders. She simply doesn’t care about spiders.
    1. (22)
    1. a.
    1. John does not have four children. He has five children.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. The soup is not warm. It is hot.
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Mary does not hate spiders. She loathes spiders.

The propositions in the first clauses of (21a-c) are logically negated, and the following clauses express that, in fact, something different holds true. In (22a-c), however, the negation does not apply to the propositions expressed by the first clauses. If John has five children, as asserted in the second clause of (22a), it is logically true that he has four children, and if the soup is hot, as asserted in the second clause of (22b), it is also warm. Instead, here the negation objects to a scalar implicature that puts an upper bound to the scalar expressions used in the first clauses, the numeral four with its scalar implicature ‘not more than four’, the adjective warm with its scalar implicature ‘not more than warm, i.e. not hot’ and the verb hate with its scalar implicature ‘not more than hate, i.e. not loathe’. In general, scalar implicatures may arise if a speaker uses a weak scalar expression instead of a stronger alternative. In such a context, the hearer may compute that the stronger alternative does not hold true, because otherwise the speaker would have used this stronger alternative (Maxim of quantity: “make your contribution as informative as required (for the current purposes of exchange)”; Horn 1985; Grice 1989: 26).13/14 Since the standard analysis in (20a, b) assigns a stronger meaning to the causative verb than to the anticausative counterpart, the causative-anticausative pair makes up a scale under such an account. The negation in (19) might then simply express that the use of the weaker scale member as in the first clause is not appropriate and should, instead be replaced by the stronger scale member, as in the second clause.

We chose the term ‘appropriate’ instead of ‘true’ for the following reason (see e.g. Higginbotham 1997). Arguably, every inchoative change-of-state event has some cause in the actual world. However, a speaker that utters a clause headed by an anticausative either does not want to or cannot identify the cause of this event. Under such a speaker’s perspective, the use of an anticausative is appropriate, while the use of the corresponding causative verb (be it in the active or in the passive Voice) would not be (cf. also Rappaport Hovav 2014). Whether it is appropriate or not is, however, a question of perspective and context; if one disagrees with the speaker in considering the use of the causative verb appropriate, ‘metalinguistic’ negation can be applied to the clause headed by the anticausative verb in order to object to and remove the upper bounding scalar implicature associated with this verb.

3.1 Spanish ningún

The decision between the RAoAC and the standard account boils down then to the question whether examples such as (19) involve a logical or a ‘metalinguistic’ use of negation (though actually every downward entailing context would be decisive; see section 3.6). Koontz-Garboden (2009) argues that (19) involves the logical (descriptive) use of negation. His argument builds on the well-known fact illustrated in (23a, b) that ‘metalinguistic’ negation does not license negative polarity items (NPIs) such as English any; instead, the positive polarity item some must be used (Fauconnier 1975; Ladusaw 1979; Horn 1985).

    1. (23)
    1. a.
    1. John didn’t manage to solve some of the problems, he solved them all.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *John didn’t manage to solve any of the problems, he solved them all.

Koontz-Garboden suggests on the basis of the examples in (24) that the Spanish quantifier ningún is the counterpart of English any. And since ningún is licensed in contexts such as (19), as shown by his example in (25) (cf. Koontz-Garboden 2009: 116; example (82a, b)), he concludes that the RAoAC is empirically correct; (25), and in turn (19), should involve the logical use of negation, and this is possible only if the causative clause does not entail its anticausative counterpart, as predicted by the RAoAC.15

    1. (24)
    1. a.
    1. ¡No
    2. no
    1. consiguió
    2. managed
    1. resolver
    2. to.solve
    1. algún
    2. some
    1. problema,
    2. problem,
    1. consiguió
    2. managed
    1. resolverlos
    2. to.solve.them
    1. todos!
    2. all
    1. ‘(S)he didn’t manage to solve some problem, (s)he managed to solve them all!’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *No
    2. no
    1. consiguió
    2. managed
    1. resolver
    2. to.solve
    1. ningún
    2. any
    1. problema,
    2. problem,
    1. consiguió
    2. managed
    1. resolverlos
    2. to.solve.them
    1. todos.
    2. all
    1. (25)
    1. No
    2. no
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. rompió
    2. broke
    1. ningún
    2. any
    1. vaso,
    2. glass,
    1. los
    2. them
    1. rompiste
    2. broke
    1. todos
    2. all
    1. tú.
    2. you
    1. ‘There didn’t break any glass, you broke them all.’

However, the ungrammaticality of (24b) cannot be derived along the lines of English (23b). Unlike English any, Spanish ningún is not an NPI. While the sentence pair in (24b) is indeed plainly unacceptable, other examples involving clear cases of ‘metalinguistic’ negation such as (26a) are fully compatible with ningún as shown in (26b):16

    1. (26)
    1. a.
    1. Luisa
    2. Luisa
    1. no
    2. no
    1. odia
    2. hates
    1. a
    2. toACC
    1. los
    2. the
    1. niños,
    2. children,
    1. los
    2. them
    1. aborrece.
    2. loathe
    1. ‘Luisa doesn’t hate children, she loathes them.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Luisa
    2. Luisa
    1. no
    2. no
    1. odia
    2. hates
    1. a
    2. toACC
    1. ningún
    2. no
    1. niño,
    2. child,
    1. los
    2. them
    1. aborrece
    2. loathes
    1. a
    2. toACC
    1. todos.
    2. all
    1. ‘Luisa doesn’t hate any child, she loathes them all.’

(26b) shows that ningún is not an NPI. Rather, it is a negative quantifier denoting the empty set (as English no), which, in addition, triggers negative concord in its clause (e.g. Bosque 1980; Penka 2007; de Swart 2010). This assumption can account both for the unacceptability of (24b) as well as for the acceptability of (26b). To see how, consider the source of ‘metalinguistic’ negation in (23a) and in (26a, b). In (23a), the indefinite quantifier some triggers the scalar implicature ‘not all’. This implicature is negated ‘metalinguistically’ in the first clause and corrected in the second clause. The scalar expression in (26a, b) is the verb odiar (‘hate’), which triggers the implicature ‘Luisa does not loathe children’, and this implicature is first overtly negated and then corrected. But in (24b) there is simply no scalar expression available that could trigger any implicature. Exactly the same predicate is used in both clauses (manage to solve); there is therefore no scalar relation between the two occurences of this predicate. Besides, ningún, being a negative quantifier denoting the empty set, does not form a scale with todos (‘all’) either. As a consequence, the negation in (24b) must be interpreted as ‘logical’ negation. But then, the second clause in (24b) amounts to a plain contradiction of the first clause, hence the unacceptability.

The effect can roughly be replicated in English. The clausal pair in (27a) involving the negative quantifier no in the first clause and the universal quantifier all in the second clause amounts to a contradiction; since no and all are in an exclusive relation rather than in a scalar relation and since there are also no other elements involved which license ‘metalinguistic’ negation, the negation has to be interpreted ‘logically’; this explains the contradiction. The indefinite quantifier some in (27b), on the other hand, is in a (weak) scalar relation with the quantifier all, and this allows for a ‘metalinguistic’ use of negation. In (27c), finally, the two verbs are in a scalar relation. ‘Metalinguistic’ negation is licensed, and the quantifiers no and all can now be used in the first and the second clause, respectively.

    1. (27)
    1. a.
    1. For no problem is it the case that John managed to solve it.
    2. #John actually managed to solve all of them.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. For some problems, it is the case that John managed to solve them.
    2. John actually managed to solve all of them.
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. For no child is it the case that John hates it.
    2. John actually loathes all of them.

(24b) and (25) are then compatible with the standard account of the causative alternation after all. The verbs in the two clauses in (25) are in a scalar relationship. The SE-marked anticausative in the first clause triggers the implicature that the corresponding lexical causative is too strong. This implicature is negated ‘metalinguistically’ so that the second clause can correct the first clause without leading to a contradiction.17

However, we have not yet seen empirical support that examples such as (19) and (25) indeed involve ‘metalinguistic’ negation. Since ningún is not an NPI, we would like to see how real NPIs behave in such examples. (Horvath & Siloni 2011 argue on the bases of real negative polarity items in Spanish and Hebrew as well as the placement of verbal particles in Hungarian negated sentences that examples such as (19) involve ‘metalinguistic’ negation; their arguments were disputed in Beavers and Koontz-Garboden 2013a.) As we will see in the next section, the judgments on NPIs are often not as clear-cut as one would like them to be. Therefore, we will turn to other tests to determine the semantic relation between causative and anticausative pairs.18

3.2 Real NPIs in Spanish and beyond

The Spanish scalar particle siquiera (even) has a use as an NPI (e.g. Alonso-Ovalle 2009). As such, it is not licensed in the context of ‘metalinguistic’ negation as shown in (28).

    1. (28)
    1. #Luisa
    2. Luisa
    1. no
    2. no
    1. odia
    2. hates
    1. siquiera
    2. even
    1. a
    2. toACC
    1. los
    2. the
    1. niños,
    2. children
    1. los
    2. them
    1. aborrece.
    2. loathes
    1. ‘Luisa doesn’t (even) hate children (at all), she loathes them.’

Below, we apply siquiera to our test case example (19), cf. (29). As (29a) shows, this NPI does not combine with the SE-marked anticausative in such a setup. Crucially, exactly the same holds for other inchoative predicates such as unmarked anticausatives in (29b) as well as pure, i.e. non-alternating unaccusatives (29c) and combinations of an eventive copula with an adjective (29d). Since the latter two predicates do not have lexical causative counterparts, we use a periphrastic causative construction in the second clause of (29c) and an alternative causative verb in the second clause of (29d).

    1. (29)
    1. a.
    1. #El
    2. the
    1. vaso
    2. glass
    1. no
    2. no
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. rompió
    2. broke
    1. siquiera,
    2. even
    1. you
    1. lo
    2. it
    1. rompiste.
    2. broke
    1. ‘The glass didn’t (even) break, you broke it.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. #Los
    2. the
    1. precios
    2. prices
    1. no
    2. no
    1. aumentaron
    2. increased
    1. siquiera,
    2. even,
    1. you
    1. los
    2. them
    1. aumentaste.
    2. increased
    1. ‘The prices didn’t (even) increase, you increased them.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. #El
    2. the
    1. rosal
    2. rosebush
    1. no
    2. no
    1. floreció
    2. blossomed
    1. siquiera,
    2. even,
    1. el
    2. the
    1. jardinero
    2. gardener
    1. lo
    2. it
    1. hizo
    2. made
    1. florecer.
    2. blossom
    1. ‘The rosebush didn’t (even) blossom, the gardener made it blossom.’
    1.  
    1. d.
    1. #El
    2. the
    1. niño
    2. child
    1. no
    2. no
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. puso
    2. get
    1. enfermo
    2. sick
    1. siquiera,
    2. even,
    1. you
    1. lo
    2. him
    1. infectaste.
    2. infected
    1. ‘The child didn’t (even) get sick, you infected him.’

(29a–d) suggest that all the predicates in the first clause including SE-marked anticausatives denote one-place change-of-state events that are entailed by their causative counterparts in the second clause. This follows under the standard account of the causative alternation, but not under the RAoAC. The latter predicts that SE-marked anticausatives should behave like canonically reflexive verbs. However, these verbs behave differently, as exemplified in (30) for lavarse (‘wash oneself’); they are compatible with the NPI, as predicted by (8a, b) (and wrongly by (9a, b) for marked anticausatives), since the negation can, and in fact must be interpreted ‘logically’.

    1. (30)
    1. El
    2. the
    1. niño
    2. kid
    1. no
    2. no
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. lavó
    2. washed
    1. siquiera,
    2. even
    1. lo
    2. him
    1. lavó
    2. washed
    1. la
    2. the
    1. niñera.
    2. nanny
    1. ‘The kid didn’t even wash, the nanny washed him.’

The evidence from NPI licensing then argues against the RAoAC and in favor of the standard analysis of the causative alternation. However, we must also mention that, in practice, this test often leads to much less clear results than one would hope. To start with, it turns out to be quite difficult to identify NPIs that actually combine in a meaningful way with change-of-state predicates as well as with canonically reflexive verbs; we failed to identify such NPIs for Russian, Czech and Italian. Further, once such an NPI is identified, speakers often do not give fully consistent judgments. The problem has already popped up in the earlier literature discussing NPIs as a test case for the RAoAC. Horvath & Siloni (2011: 2180) report judgments that suggest that the Spanish NPI en absoluto (‘at all’) and its Hebrew counterpart cannot appear in examples such as (29) but can in examples such as (30), while Beavers & Koontz-Garboden (2013a: 207) report opposite judgments for Spanish examples such as (29). Similarly, Lundquist et al. (ms.) report problems to identify Norwegian NPIs that make a clear difference between SE-marked anticausatives and canonically reflexive verbs.

In order to empirically check how our test environment (cf. 19) behaves in the context of NPIs, we set up two questionnaires. In particular, we tested the German NPI überhaupt (‘at all’) and the Norwegian NPI engang (‘even’) in the context of one SE-marked anticausative and one SE-marked reflexive verb.19 Our questionnaires first presented an instruction for the judgment task including some comments about possible stress patterns, because we recognized that the test dialogues might appear strange without any intonational contour. The instructions were given in English (31a). Then a dialogue with our test sentences appeared in German and Norwegian respectively (31b). After that, the subjects had to judge the acceptability of the answer by speaker B, which involved the NPI (31c). We present the two German verbs and the results in (31) and (32) and the two Norwegian verbs in (33) and (34):

    1. (31)
      1. a.
      1. Consider the following short dialogue between speaker A and speaker B.
      2. Do you find the answer of speaker B acceptable in this context?
      3. (Please try whether you can make it acceptable by manipulating its stress pattern, e.g. by putting stress on ‘DU’.)
    1.  
      1. b.
      1. Speaker A:
      1. Die
      2. the
      1. Tür
      2. door
      1. hat
      2. has
      1. sich
      2. SE
      1. geöffnet.
      2. opened
      1. ‘The door opened.’
    1.  
      1.  
      1. Speaker B:
      1. Die
      2. the
      1. Tür
      2. door
      1. hat
      2. has
      1. sich
      2. SE
      1. überhaupt
      2. at.all
      1. nicht
      2. not
      1. geöffnet.
      2. opened
      1. DU
      2. you
      1. hast
      2. have
      1. die
      2. the
      1. Tür
      2. door
      1. geöffnet!
      2. opened
      1. ‘The door did not open at all. YOU opened the door!’
    1.  
      1. c.
      1. Yes, acceptable in this context:
      2. No, not acceptable in this context:
      1. 19
      2. 9
    1. (32)
      1. a.
      1. (… e.g. by putting stress on ‘TAGESMUTTER’.)
    1.  
      1. b.
      1. Speaker A:
      1. Annegret
      2. Annegret
      1. hat
      2. has
      1. sich
      2. SE
      1. gewaschen.
      2. washed
      1. ‘Annegret washed.’
    1.  
      1.  
      1. Speaker B:
      1. Annegret
      2. Annegret
      1. hat
      2. has
      1. sich
      2. SE
      1. überhaupt
      2. at.all
      1. nicht
      2. not
      1. gewaschen.
      2. washed
      1. Die
      2. the
      1. TAGESMUTTER
      2. nanny
      1. hat
      2. has
      1. sie
      2. her
      1. gewaschen!
      2. washed
      1. ‘Annegret did not wash (herself) at all. The nanny washed her!’
    1.  
      1. c.
      1. Yes, acceptable in this context:
      2. No, not acceptable in this context:
      1. 27
      2. 1
    1. (33)
      1. a.
      1. ([…] e.g. by putting stress on ‘DU’.)
    1.  
      1. b.
      1. Speaker A:
      1. Vinduet
      2. window.DEF
      1. åpna
      2. opened
      1. seg.
      2. SE
      1. ‘The window opened’
    1.  
      1.  
      1. Speaker B:
      1. Vinduet
      2. window.DEF
      1. åpna
      2. opened
      1. seg
      2. SE
      1. ikke
      2. not
      1. engang,
      2. even
      1. DU
      2. you
      1. åpna
      2. opened
      1. det!
      2. it
      1. ‘The window did not open. You opened it!’
    1.  
      1. c.
      1. Yes, acceptable in this context:
      2. No, not acceptable in this context:
      1. 1
      2. 19
    1. (34)
      1. a.
      1. ([…] e.g. by putting stress on ‘FAREN’.)
    1.  
      1. b.
      1. Speaker A:
      1. Jenta
      2. girl.DEF
      1. har
      2. has
      1. vaska
      2. washed
      1. seg.
      2. SE
      1. ‘The girl washed (herself)’
    1.  
      1.  
      1. Speaker B:
      1. Jenta
      2. girl.DEF
      1. har
      2. has
      1. ikke
      2. not
      1. engang
      2. even
      1. vaska
      2. washed
      1. seg,
      2. SE
      1. FAREN
      2. father.DEF
      1. har
      2. has
      1. vaska
      2. washed
      1. henne!
      2. her
      1. ‘The girl did not wash (herself). The father washed her!’
    1.  
      1. c.
      1. Yes, acceptable in this context:
      2. No, not acceptable in this context:
      1. 6
      2. 14

The above results are surprising in so far, as the licensing of NPIs is typically characterized as a categorical phenomenon in the theoretical literature. Furthermore, the differences between the German and the Norwegian NPI are unexpected.20 Nevertheless, there is a clear tendency in the above results: both NPIs are accepted more often with the canonically reflexive verbs than with the SE-marked anticausatives. This runs counter to the predictions made by the RAoAC (the two verb classes should both license the NPI equally) while they go into the direction predicted by the standard analysis of the causative alternation (only canonically reflexive verbs should license the NPI).

However, we would like to see further tests to show that the negation of anticausative clauses followed by the assertion of causative clauses is ‘metalinguistically’ interpreted. We turn to two such tests in the next sections. (For a further test besides the (non-)licensing of NPIs that shows, in our view convincingly, that the negation under consideration is indeed ‘metalinguistic’ negation, see Horvath & Siloni 2013: 223ff).

3.3 ‘Just’

Adverbs like English just or only are compatible with ‘metalinguistic’ negation, as we see in (35a) (e.g. Horn 1985: 142), where they make reference to the upper boundary of the scalar implicature by negating any stronger alternatives to the scalar expression used. Such adverbs are weird in the context of logical negation as in (35b) where no scalar element/upper boundary is available.

    1. (35)
    1. a.
    1. John does not (just) hate dogs. He loathes them.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. John does not (#just) hate dogs. He loves them/He hates cats.

The Spanish counterpart of ‘just’ is solo, the German counterpart is einfach (nur). As predicted by the standard analysis of the causative alternation, these adverbs are possible only in the context of SE-marked anticausatives (and other inchoative one-place predicates of the type already tested in (29b-d) above), but not in the context of canonically reflexive verbs. We illustrate this in (36a, b) for German (see Schäfer & Vivanco 2015 for the corresponding Spanish data). Note that the English translations show the very same effect.

    1. (36)
    1. a.
    1. Die
    2. the
    1. Tür
    2. door
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. (einfach
    2. simply
    1. (nur))
    2. only
    1. geöffnet.
    2. opened.
    1. DU
    2. you
    1. hast
    2. have
    1. sie
    2. her
    1. geöffnet.
    2. opened
    1. ‘The door did not (just) open. You opened it.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Das
    2. the
    1. Kind
    2. child
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. (#einfach
    2. simply
    1. (nur))
    2. only
    1. gewaschen.
    2. washed.
    1. DU
    2. you
    1. hast
    2. have
    1. es
    2. it
    1. gewaschen.
    2. washed
    1. ‘The child didn’t (#just) wash, you washed him.’

In our experience, this test gives very clear results for all Spanish and German speakers. Furthermore, the test can be transferred to other languages, too. Italian semplicemente (‘simply’) or solo (‘only, just’) provide the same results (p.c. Chiara Gianollo), and so does the counterpart of English just in Norwegian (p.c. Terje Lohndal) and Czech (p.c. Ivona Kucerova and Petr Biskup). Russian, on the other hand, lacks a direct counterpart of English just so that the test cannot be applied (p.c. Ljudmila Geist).

3.4 Concessive conjunctions

Conjunctions like English but also allow diagnosing ‘metalinguistic’ negation (e.g. Horn 1985: 166f.; König & Benndorf 1998).

English but or French mais have a concessive use (but1) and a corrective use (but2) (Anscombre & Ducrot 1977; Horn 1985; Merin 1996; König & Benndorf 1998) and these two uses are overtly distinguished in Spanish (pero vs. sino que) and German (aber vs. sondern).21 We present the two uses with German data below (all German examples can be fully replicated in Spanish; see Schäfer & Vivanco 2015).

Corrective but2 adds a correction to a previously negated clause, where the negation either denies an assertion or an implicature (typically introduced by an earlier utterance). If, as in (37), the negation in the first clause denies an assertion (‘logical’ use of negation), but2 introduces an alternative assertion held to be true instead. If, as in (38), the negation in the first clause is ‘metalinguistic’ in that it negates a scalar implicature, but2 introduces this stronger statement. Note finally that but2 can easily be elided without any change in meaning.

    1. (37)
    1. Hans
    2. Hans
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. reich,
    2. rich,
    1. (sondern)
    2. but2
    1. er
    2. he
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. arm.
    2. poor
    1. ‘Pepe is not rich, but he is poor.’
    1. (38)
    1. Das
    2. the
    1. Wasser
    2. water
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. heiß,
    2. hot
    1. (sondern)
    2. but2
    1. es
    2. it
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. kochend
    2. scalding
    1. heiß.
    2. hot
    1. ‘The water is not hot, it is scalding.’

Concessive but1 provides a very different conversational function. It contrasts two opposed arguments and states that the second argument weights stronger than the first (or at least as strong as the first; e.g. Winterstein 2013). More abstractly, the use of concessive but in ‘X but Y’ presupposes a certain question under discussion, such that X is an argument for one way of resolving the question, Y is an argument for an opposite way of resolving the question, and Y has more weight than (or at least equal weight as) X. The question under discussion is contextually determined. In the example in (39), a reasonable question could be whether one should buy the ring or not. The first conjunct provides an argument for a positive answer, the second conjunct provides an argument for a negative answer, and the second argument is considered stronger. In (40) the question under discussion might be whether it is a good decision to marry John, with an argument against and an argument in favor of this decision contrasted in the two conjuncts.

    1. (39)
    1. Der
    2. the
    1. Ring
    2. ring
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. schön,
    2. nice,
    1. aber
    2. but1
    1. (er
    2. it
    1. ist)
    2. is
    1. teuer.
    2. expensive
    1. ‘The ring is nice, but it is expensive.’
    1. (40)
    1. Hans
    2. Hans
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. schön,
    2. beautiful,
    1. aber
    2. but
    1. er
    2. he
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. intelligent.
    2. intelligent
    1. ‘John is not beautiful but he is intelligent.’

While ‘logical’ negation in the first conjunct licenses concessive but1 and corrective but2 (cf. 41), ‘metalinguistic’ negation only licenses corrective but2 (cf. 42).22

    1. (41)
    1. Hans
    2. Hans
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. schön
    2. beautiful,
    1. {aber / sondern}
    2. but1 / but2
    1. er
    2. he
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. intelligent.
    2. intelligent
    1. ‘Hans is not beautiful but1/but2 he is intelligent’.
    1. (42)
    1. a.
    1. Das
    2. the
    1. Wasser
    2. water
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. heiß,
    2. hot
    1. #aber / sondern
    2. but1 / but2
    1. es
    2. it
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. kochend
    2. scalding
    1. heiß.
    2. hot
    1. ‘The water is not hot, it is scalding.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Hans
    2. John
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. einige
    2. some
    1. Probleme
    2. problems
    1. gelöst,
    2. solved
    1. #aber/sondern
    2. but1/but2
    1. er
    2. he
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. alle
    2. all
    1. gelöst
    2. solved
    1. ‘John did not solve some problems, he solved all of them.’

The availability of concessive but1 can then be used as a diagnostic as to whether a sentence involves the ‘logical’ use or the ‘metalinguistic’ use of negation.

This test reconfirms our earlier findings. The examples with SE-marked anticausatives in (43a, b) behave like other inchoative predicates, unmarked anticausatives (44a, b), pure unaccusatives (45a) and combinations of the eventive copula werden (‘become’) with an adjective (45b). They do not license concessive but1, i.e. they involve a ‘metalinguistic’ use of negation. All these verbs differ thereby from canonical reflexive verbs (46a, b), which license concessive but1, as they involve ‘logical’ negation in our test set-up.

    1. (43)
    1. a.
    1. Das
    2. the
    1. Fenster
    2. window
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. geöffnet,
    2. opened
    1. #aber/sondern
    2. but1/but2
    1. du
    2. you
    1. hast
    2. have
    1. es
    2. it
    1. geöffnet.
    2. opened
    1. ‘The window did not open, you opened it.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Das
    2. the
    1. Klima
    2. climate
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. verändert,
    2. change
    1. #aber/sondern
    2. but1/but 2
    1. die
    2. the
    1. Menscheit
    2. mankind
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. es
    2. it
    1. verändert.
    2. changed
    1. ‘The climate did not change, the mankind changed the climate.’
    1. (44)
    1. a.
    1. Die
    2. the
    1. Vase
    2. vase
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. zerbrochen
    2. broken
    1. #aber/sondern
    2. but1/but2
    1. du
    2. you
    1. hast
    2. have
    1. sie
    2. it
    1. zerbrochen.
    2. broken
    1. ‘The vase did not break, you broke it.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Das
    2. the
    1. Seil
    2. rope
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. zerrissen,
    2. torn
    1. #aber/sondern
    2. but1/but2
    1. du
    2. you
    1. hast
    2. have
    1. her
    2. it
    1. zerrissen.
    2. torn
    1. ‘The rope did not tear, you tore it.’
    1. (45)
    1. a.
    1. Das
    2. the
    1. Fenster
    2. window
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. aufgegangen
    2. open-gone
    1. #aber/sondern
    2. but1/but2
    1. du
    2. you
    1. hast
    2. have
    1. es
    2. it
    1. geöffnet.
    2. opened
    1. ‘The window did not open, you opened it.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Ich
    2. I
    1. bin
    2. am
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. krank
    2. sick
    1. geworden,
    2. become
    1. #aber/sondern
    2. but1/but2
    1. du
    2. you
    1. hast
    2. have
    1. mich
    2. me
    1. angesteckt.
    2. infected
    1. ‘I did not get sick, you infected me.’
    1. (46)
    1. a.
    1. Das
    2. the
    1. Kind
    2. child
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. gewaschen,
    2. washed
    1. aber/sondern
    2. but1/but2
    1. die
    2. the
    1. Mutter
    2. mother
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. es
    2. it
    1. gewaschen.
    2. washed
    1. ‘The child did not wash, but the mother washed her.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Der
    2. the
    1. Star
    2. star
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. angezogen,
    2. dressed
    1. aber/sondern
    2. but1/but2
    1. sein
    2. his
    1. Manager
    2. manager
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. ihn
    2. him
    1. angezogen.
    2. dressed
    1. ‘The star did not dress, but his manager dressed him.’

Even though English does not overtly distinguish a corrective and a concessive conjunction (but can convey both uses), the above test can nevertheless be applied in this language (as well as in French, Norwegian or Italian). This is so because (as already shown in (37) and (38)) corrective clauses do not need to be introduced by a conjunction; furthermore, the corrective use of English but is syntactically restricted in that it cannot occur if but combines two full clauses. This is illustrated in (47a–c) from Horn (1985). While the first two examples allow a corrective interpretation where the first conjunct is objected to because its predicate is considered to be too weak, this is not possible in the third example where two full clauses are conjoined. Here only the concessive use of but is possible. The negation must then be interpreted ‘logically’ (cf. fn. 22) and the example is unacceptable; since everything scolding is also (at least) hot, it is contradictory to assert of anything that it is scalding but not hot.

    1. (47)
    1. a.
    1. It isn’t hot, but scalding.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. It isn’t hot, it’s scalding.
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. #It isn’t hot, but it’s scalding.

The test then can be applied to English anticausatives and canonically reflexive verbs; as shown in (48a, b), the two verb classes behave exactly the same as in German (or Spanish). The presence vs. absence of the SE-morpheme makes no difference.

    1. (48)
    1. a.
    1. The vase did not break, (#but) you broke it.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. The child did not wash, (but) the mother washed her.

The same holds in languages with only one conjunction but and SE-marked anticausative and canonically reflexive verbs such as Italian in (49a, b)23 and Norwegian in (50a, b):24

    1. (49)
    1. a.
    1. Il
    2. the
    1. bicchiere
    2. glass
    1. non
    2. not
    1. si
    2. SE
    1. è
    2. is
    1. rotto,
    2. broken,
    1. (#ma)
    2. (but)
    1. l’hai
    2. it-have
    1. rotto
    2. broken
    1. TU!
    2. you
    1. ‘The glass did not break, you broke it!’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Il
    2. the
    1. bambino
    2. child
    1. non
    2. not
    1. si
    2. SE
    1. è
    2. is
    1. lavato,
    2. washed,
    1. (ma)
    2. (but)
    1. l’ha
    2. him-have
    1. lavato
    2. washed
    1. la
    2. the
    1. BAMBINAIA!
    2. baby.sitter
    1. ‘The child did not wash, the baby sitter washed him!’
    1. (50)
    1. a.
    1. Vinduet
    2. window.DEF
    1. åpna
    2. opened
    1. seg
    2. SE
    1. ikke,
    2. not
    1. (#men)
    2. (but)
    1. DU
    2. you
    1. åpna
    2. opened
    1. det!
    2. it
    1. ‘The window did not open, you opened it!’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Jenta
    2. girl.DEF
    1. har
    2. has
    1. ikke
    2. not
    1. vaska
    2. washed
    1. seg,
    2. SE
    1. (men)
    2. but
    1. FAREN
    2. father.DEF
    1. har
    2. has
    1. vaska
    2. washed
    1. henne!
    2. her
    1. ‘The girl did not wash, the father washed her!’

To conclude, the (non-)licensing of concessive but1 clearly differentiates anticausative verbs (whether marked or unmarked) from canonically reflexive verbs in our test environment. The result shows that the negation in the examples involving the former class of verbs is interpreted as ‘metalinguistic’ negation, while it is interpreted logically with the latter class of verbs. In turn, this means that causative verbs entail their SE-marked anticausative counterparts, as predicted by the standard analysis. Under the RAoAC, SE-marked anticausatives are predicted to behave like canonically reflexive verbs, contrary to fact.

We want to add two comments about the test involving concessive but1. First, in our experience, judgments about the licensing of concessive and corrective but are much easier and much more robust than judgments about the licensing of NPIs. Note, however, that context can have a confusing effect. In particular, one has to make sure that subjects do not manipulate the examples in order to make concessive but1 acceptable with anticausatives. An easy way would be to add phrases like by itself. As will be discussed in section 5, an anticausative modified with by itself (and its counterparts in other languages) entails that the event denoted is not caused by any entity. That is, the implicature that normally comes with the use of an anticausative verb (instead of its causative counterpart) is turned into an entailment via the use of by itself. Consequently, negating an anticausative which is marked with by itself can no longer involve ‘metalinguistic’ negation, and concessive but is licensed (‘The door did not open by itself, but you opened the door’ is well formed across languages).25

Second, the test is not applicable in all languages because not all languages lexicalize the concessive and corrective meaning space the same way. So while for example Russian has two conjunctions no and a, which, on the first view, seem to be very similar to German aber/sondern and Spanish pero/sino (que), a closer look shows that they work fundamentally differently. As Jasinskaja & Zeevat (2009) and Jasinskaja (2010; 2012) show, Russian lacks a corrective coordination altogether and the function of English concessive but is partly taken over by no and partly by a, whereby the latter can sometimes also mean ‘and’. Without going into details, these Russian conjunctions, then, cannot be used to diagnose any semantic difference between SE-marked anticausatives and canonically reflexive verbs in our test environment.

3.5 Concessive adverbs

The concessive vs. corrective use of conjunctions like but can be replayed with adverbials as we exemplify below for Spanish, German (and English; see the translations of the examples).

Languages can use specific adverbs to introduce corrective and concessive clauses; these show the same distributional restrictions as concessive but1 and corrective but2 in the previous section. While sentences following logically negated statements allow both adverbs (51a, b), sentences following ‘metalinguistically’ negated statements allow adverbs introducing corrective clauses only (52a, b).

    1. (51)
    1. a.
    1. Pepe
    2. Pepe
    1. no
    2. not
    1. es
    2. is
    1. inteligente.
    2. intelligent
    1. {Más
    2. more
    1. bien/En
    2. well/in
    1. vez
    2. time
    1. de
    2. of
    1. eso}
    2. that
    1. es
    2. is
    1. rico.
    2. rich
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Peter
    2. Peter
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. intelligent.
    2. intelligent
    1. Vielmehr /stattdessen
    2. much.more/instead.this
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. er
    2. he
    1. reich.
    2. rich
    1. ‘Peter is not intelligent. Rather/Instead he is rich.’
    1. (52)
    1. a.
    1. El
    2. the
    1. agua
    2. water
    1. no
    2. no
    1. está
    2. is
    1. templada.
    2. warm
    1. {Más
    2. more
    1. bien/#En
    2. well/in
    1. vez
    2. time
    1. de
    2. of
    1. eso}
    2. that
    1. está
    2. is
    1. caliente.
    2. hot
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Das
    2. the
    1. Wasser
    2. water
    1. ist
    2. no
    1. nicht
    2. is
    1. warm.
    2. warm
    1. Vielmehr /#Stattdessen
    2. much.more/instead.this
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. es
    2. it
    1. heiß.
    2. hot
    1. ‘The water is not warm. Rather/#Instead it is hot.’

Applied to the negated test sentences familiar from the last section, we see that the negation qualifies, once again, as ‘metalinguistic’ negation in the case of SE-marked anticausatives (54a, b), and as ‘logical’ negation in the case of canonically reflexive verbs (55a, b).

    1. (54)
    1. a.
    1. El
    2. the
    1. vaso
    2. glass
    1. no
    2. no
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. rompió.
    2. broke
    1. {Más
    2. more
    1. bien/#En
    2. well/in
    1. vez
    2. time
    1. de
    2. of
    1. eso}
    2. that
    1. you
    1. lo
    2. it
    1. rompiste.
    2. broke
    1. ‘The glass did not break. Rather/#Instead you broke it.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Die
    2. the
    1. Tür
    2. door
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. geöffnet.
    2. opened.
    1. Vielmehr /#Stattdessen
    2. much.more /instead.this
    1. hast
    2. have
    1. du
    2. you
    1. sie
    2. her
    1. geöffnet.
    2. opened
    1. ‘The door did not open. Rather/#Instead you opened it.’
    1. (55)
    1. a.
    1. El
    2. the
    1. niño
    2. child
    1. no
    2. not
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. ha
    2. has
    1. lavado.
    2. washed
    1. {Más
    2. more
    1. bien/En
    2. well/in
    1. vez
    2. time
    1. de
    2. of
    1. eso}
    2. that
    1. lo
    2. him
    1. ha
    2. has
    1. lavado
    2. washed
    1. la
    2. the
    1. niñera.
    2. nanny
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Das
    2. the
    1. Kind
    2. child
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. gewaschen.
    2. washed.
    1. Vielmehr /Stattdessen
    2. much.more /instead.this
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. die
    2. the
    1. Tagesmutter
    2. nanny
    1. es
    2. it
    1. gewaschen.
    2. washed
    1. ‘The child didn’t wash. Rather/Instead the nanny washed him.’

The test provides the same result in other languages. The relevant Italian adverbs are invece (‘instead’) and piuttosto (‘rather’) (p.c. Chiara Gianollo), and the televant Czech adverbs are místo toho (‘instead’) and spíš (‘rather’) (p.c. Ivona Kucerova and Petr Biskup). Norwegian, however, lacks a good translation of English rather (p.c. Terje Lohndal). And similarly to the case of conjunctions, Russian seems to have counterparts of rather and instead which, however, have a different distribution and cannot be used in our test environment (p.c. Ljudmila Geist).

3.6 A further downward entailing context: Conditionals

So far, we have tested the entailment relation between (SE-marked) anticausatives and their causative counterparts via negation. Negation, being a downward entailing operator, licenses inferences from semantically weaker expressions (supersets) to semantically stronger expressions (subsets): From ‘John does not run’ we can infer ‘John does not run fast’. As we have seen, however, the negation test faces a problem, namely the property of natural language negation to allow for a ‘metalinguistic’ use. Weak scalar predicates can be ‘metalinguistically’ negated and, at the same time, their stronger alternatives can be asserted in the subsequent discourse (‘John does not (just) run, he runs fast’). In the previous sections, we spent quite some time to find ways to distinguish between ‘logical’ and ‘metalinguistic’ negation. As we showed, those diagnostics exist and they derive a consistent and clear picture. However, every other downward entailing expression should make our point. In this section, we apply, as a final diagnostic, conditional clauses, whose antecedent clauses are downward entailing: From ‘If I eat a pizza, I get sick’ one can infer ‘If I eat a pizza with anchovies, I get sick’.26

We present the test setup below in Spanish. A test sentence has two parts, cf. (56a, b). The conditional sentence in (56a) states that whenever an event of the type φ-1 denoted by a VP headed by a SE-marked anticausative occurs, then a result of the type ω denoted by the VP in the embedded consequent occurs. This conditional is followed in (56b) by the assertion of an event φ-2 expressed by a VP headed by the causative counterpart of the verb used in the conditional sentence before, and the negation of any episodic event of the type ω. The test question then is whether the episodical clause is logically compatible with the preceding conditional. If yes, there is no entailment relation between the conditional clause headed by the anticausative verb and the expisodic clause headed by the causative verb; if no, there is such an entailment relation. It turns out that (56a) and (56b) are not compatible with each other. (56b) makes sentence (56a) necessarily false (or alternatively, provides a counterexample to the generalization expressed by the conditional). It follows that the sentence headed by the causative verb entails the sentence headed by the corresponding anticausative verb.

    1. (56)
    1. a.
    1. Siempre
    2. always
    1. que
    2. that
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. hunde
    2. sinks
    1. un
    2. a
    1. barco,
    2. boat,
    1. el
    2. the
    1. gobierno
    2. goverment
    1. envía
    2. sends
    1. un
    2. a
    1. helicóptero
    2. helicopter
    1. de
    2. of
    1. rescate.
    2. rescue
    1. ‘Whenever a boat sinks, the goverment sends a recue helicopter.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Hoy,
    2. today,
    1. unos
    2. some
    1. terroristas
    2. terrorists
    1. han
    2. have
    1. hundido
    2. sunk
    1. un
    2. a
    1. barco
    2. ship
    1. y
    2. and
    1. el
    2. the
    1. gobierno
    2. goverment
    1. no
    2. not
    1. ha
    2. has
    1. enviado
    2. sent
    1. helicópteros
    2. helicopters
    1. ‘Today, some terrorists sank a ship and the goverment hasn’t sent any helicopter.’

If we apply the test to canonically reflexive verbs as in (57a) and their transitive-disjoint counterparts as in (57b), we get the opposite result; the episodic sentence in the b-clause and the conditional in the a-clause can both be true in the same context. This shows that there is no entailment relation between the transitive disjoint use and the reflexive use of canonically reflexive verbs.

    1. (57)
    1. a.
    1. Siempre
    2. always
    1. que
    2. that
    1. Juan
    2. Juan
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. afeita,
    2. shaves
    1. María
    2. María
    1. está
    2. is
    1. contenta
    2. happy
    1. ‘Whenever John shaves, Mary is happy.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Hoy
    2. today
    1. el
    2. the
    1. barbero
    2. barber
    1. ha
    2. has
    1. afeitado
    2. shaved
    1. a
    2. to
    1. Juan,
    2. Juan
    1. y
    2. and
    1. María
    2. María
    1. no
    2. not
    1. está
    2. is
    1. contenta
    2. happy
    1. ‘Today the barber shaved John, and Mary is not happy.’

This test should be easily applicable across languages.27 To substantiate our judgments of the Spanish examples above, we applied it to German, Italian and Norwegian via online questionnaires as well as to Russian and Czech via email correspondence with a number of native speakers. We tested two SE-marked anticausative verbs and two canonically reflexive verbs in each language. We present below only one test sentence and its result since the results were basically identical for verbs of the same type.

All sentences were preceded by the instruction in (58), and were followed by the two answers in (59a, b); speakers had to choose one of the given answers.

    1. (58)
    1. Assume that sentence b) is true. Does b) make a) necessarily false or not?
    1. (59)
    1. i)
    1. if b) is true, then a) is necessarily false.
    1.  
    1. ii)
    1. if b) is true, then a) is not necessarily false.

Test sentence pairs are presented in (60) and (61) for German, in (62) and (63) for Norwegian, in (64) and (65) for Italian, in (66) and (67) for Russian and in (68) and (69) for Czech. We illustrate the test in each language first for a SE-maked anticausative verb, and then for a SE-reflexive verb. In the c-lines, we give the number of speakers that answered with (59i) and (59ii), respectively.

    1. (60)
    1. a.
    1. Immer
    2. always
    1. wenn
    2. when
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. der
    2. the
    1. Brotpreis
    2. bead.prices
    1. erhöht,
    2. rise,
    1. demonstrieren
    2. demonstrate
    1. die
    2. the
    1. Leute
    2. people
    1. auf
    2. at
    1. der
    2. the
    1. Strasse.
    2. street
    1. ‘Whenever the price for bread rises, people demonstrate on the streets.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Heute
    2. today
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. die
    2. the
    1. Regierung
    2. government
    1. den
    2. the
    1. Brotpreis
    2. bread.price
    1. erhöht
    2. raised,
    1. und
    2. and
    1. niemand
    2. no.one
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. auf
    2. on
    1. der
    2. the
    1. Strasse
    2. street
    1. demonstriert.
    2. demonstrated
    1. ‘Today the government raised the price for bread and no one demonstrated on the streets.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Results: necessarily false: 20; not necessarily false: 8
    1. (61)
    1. a.
    1. Immer
    2. always
    1. wenn
    2. when
    1. Peter
    2. Peter
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. wäscht,
    2. washes,
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. seine
    2. his
    1. Mutter
    2. mother
    1. glücklich.
    2. happy
    1. ‘Whenever little Peter washes (himself), his mother his happy.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Heute
    2. today
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. die
    2. the
    1. Tagesmutter
    2. nanny
    1. Peter
    2. Peter
    1. gewaschen
    2. washed
    1. und
    2. and
    1. seine
    2. his
    1. Mutter
    2. mother
    1. war
    2. was
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. glücklich.
    2. happy
    1. ‘Today, the nanny washed little Peter, and his mother was not happy.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Results: necessarily false: 0; not necessarily false: 28
    1. (62)
    1. a.
    1. Hver
    2. each
    1. gang
    2. time
    1. døren
    2. the.door
    1. åpner
    2. open
    1. seg,
    2. SE,
    1. går
    2. goes
    1. en
    2. an
    1. alarm
    2. alarm
    1. av.
    2. off
    1. ‘Each time the door opens, an alarm starts.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. I
    2. in
    1. dag
    2. today
    1. åpnet
    2. opened
    1. Peter
    2. Peter
    1. døren,
    2. the.door,
    1. og
    2. and
    1. ingen
    2. no
    1. alarm
    2. alarm
    1. gikk
    2. went
    1. av.
    2. off
    1. ‘Today, Peter opened the door, and no alarm started.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Results: necessarily false: 15; not necessarily false: 5
    1. (63)
    1. a.
    1. Når
    2. when
    1. gutten
    2. the.boy
    1. vasker
    2. washes
    1. seg,
    2. SE,
    1. er
    2. is
    1. moren
    2. the.mother
    1. fornøyd.
    2. happy
    1. ‘When the boy washes, the mother is happy.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. I
    2. in
    1. dag
    2. today
    1. har
    2. has
    1. dagmammaen
    2. the.nanny
    1. vasket
    2. washed
    1. ham,
    2. him
    1. og
    2. and
    1. moren
    2. the.mother
    1. var
    2. was
    1. ikke
    2. not
    1. fornøyd.
    2. happy
    1. ‘Today, the nanny washed him, and the mother was not happy.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Results: necessarily false: 0; not necessarily false: 20
    1. (64)
    1. a.
    1. Tutte
    2. all
    1. le
    2. the
    1. volte
    2. times
    1. che
    2. that
    1. un
    2. a
    1. vetro
    2. glass
    1. si
    2. SE
    1. rompe,
    2. breaks,
    1. si
    2. SE
    1. arrabbia
    2. angry.gets
    1. il
    2. the
    1. boss.
    2. boss
    1. ‘Whenever a glass breaks, the boss gets angry.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Oggi
    2. today
    1. Maria
    2. Maria
    1. ha
    2. has
    1. rotto
    2. broken
    1. un
    2. a
    1. vetro,
    2. glass,
    1. e
    2. and
    1. il
    2. the
    1. boss
    2. boss
    1. non
    2. not
    1. si
    2. SE
    1. è
    2. is
    1. arrabbiato
    2. angry.got
    1. ‘Today, Mary broke a glass, and the boss did not get angry.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Results: necessarily false: 12; not necessarily false: 5
    1. (65)
    1. a.
    1. Tutte
    2. all
    1. le
    2. the
    1. volte
    2. times
    1. che
    2. that
    1. il
    2. the
    1. bambino
    2. child
    1. si
    2. SE
    1. lava,
    2. washes,
    1. la
    2. the
    1. mamma
    2. mother
    1. è
    2. is
    1. soddisfatta.
    2. happy
    1. ‘Whenever the child washes, the mother is happy.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Oggi
    2. today
    1. il
    2. the
    1. bambino
    2. child
    1. l’ha
    2. him-has
    1. lavato
    2. washed
    1. la
    2. the
    1. bambinaia,
    2. baby-sitter
    1. e
    2. and
    1. la
    2. the
    1. mamma
    2. mama
    1. non
    2. not
    1. era
    2. was
    1. soddisfatta.
    2. happy
    1. ‘Today, the babysitter washed the child, and the mother was not happy.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Results: necessarily false: 1; not necessarily false: 16
    1. (66)
    1. a.
    1. Esli
    2. if
    1. tseny
    2. prices
    1. povyšajuts’a,
    2. rise.SE,
    1. ljudi
    2. people
    1. vyxodjat
    2. demonstrate
    1. na
    2. on
    1. ulitsy.
    2. street
    1. ‘If the prices rise, people demonstrate on the street.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Segodnja
    2. today
    1. pravitel’stvo
    2. government
    1. povysilo
    2. raised
    1. tseny,
    2. prices
    1. no
    2. but
    1. ljudi
    2. people
    1. ne
    2. not
    1. vyšli
    2. demonstrated
    1. na
    2. on
    1. ulitsy.
    2. street
    1. Today the government raised the prices, but no one demonstrated on the street.
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Results: necessarily false: 9; not necessarily false: 3
    1. (67)
    1. a.
    1. Esli
    2. if
    1. Ivan
    2. Ivan
    1. breets’a,
    2. shave.SE
    1. Marija
    2. Maria
    1. sčastliva.
    2. happy
    1. ‘If John shaves, Mary is happy.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Segodnja
    2. today
    1. parikmaxer
    2. barber
    1. pobril
    2. shaved
    1. Ivana,
    2. Ivan
    1. no
    2. and
    1. Marija
    2. Maria
    1. ne
    2. not
    1. sčastliva.
    2. happy
    1. ‘Today, the barber shaved John and Mary is not happy’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Results: necessarily false: 0; not necessarily false: 12
    1. (68)
    1. a.
    1. Kdykoli
    2. whenever
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. zvýší /
    2. rise.PERF /
    1. zvyšují
    2. rise-IMPERF
    1. ceny,
    2. prices
    1. lidé
    2. people
    1. protestují.
    2. protest
    1. ‘If the prices rise, the people protest.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Dnes
    2. today
    1. vláda
    2. government
    1. zvýšila
    2. raised.PERF
    1. ceny,
    2. prices
    1. a
    2. and
    1. lidé
    2. people
    1. neprotestovali.
    2. non-protested
    1. ‘Today, the government raised the prices, and the people did not protest.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Results: necessarily false: 3; not necessarily false: 0
    1. (69)
    1. a.
    1. Kdykoli
    2. whenever
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. Petr
    2. Petr
    1. holí/oholí,,
    2. IMPERF.shaves/PERF.shaves,
    1. Marie
    2. Marie
    1. je
    2. is
    1. šťastná.
    2. happy
    1. ‘Whenever Peter shaves, Mary is happy.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Dnes
    2. today
    1. Petra
    2. Petr.ACC
    1. oholil
    2. shaved.PERF
    1. holič
    2. barber.NOM
    1. a
    2. and
    1. Marie
    2. Marie
    1. nebyla
    2. wasn’t
    1. šťastná.
    2. happy
    1. ‘Today, the barber shaved Peter, and Mary was not happy.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Results: necessarily false: 0; not necessarily false: 3

The data show that SE-marked anticausatives are interpreted fundamentally differently than canonically reflexive verbs in all the languages under consideration. The results of the latter class are fully compatible with their reflexive semantics; canonically reflexive verbs are not entailed by their transitive-disjoint counterparts. The results of the SE-marked anticausatives are definitely not compatible with the RAoAC. In fact, 70% of the speakers clearly judge these examples as contradictions, as predicted under the standard analysis.

Does this mean that about 30% of our speakers interpret SE-marked anticausatives as semantically reflexive so that they are not entailed by their causative counterparts? We do not think so. We rather believe that these 30% of ‘no’ answers are due to an imprecise experimental design; as one German speaker (that we talked to after the online questionnaire) and the three Russian speakers (via email) explained, they were aware of the fact that the b-sentence in (60) and (66b) were not in accordance with the statement in the a-sentences. However, they applied a weaker truth measure and considered the b-sentences as exception to the generalization stated in a-sentence, so that the a-sentence still expresses a true generalization. If this explanation can be generalized, then most, if not all, speakers felt that a- and b-sentences are not compatible in the case of SE-marked anticausatives and their causative counterparts, as predicted by the standard theory.28

3.7 SE-marked anticausatives followed by causatives

Since, under the RAoAC, a clause headed by a SE-marked anticausative expresses that the theme of the change-of-state event is also the effector of this event, this analysis seems to predict that a sentence headed by a SE-marked anticausative cannot be followed by a sentence headed by the corresponding causative with a distinct effector subject. However, as observed by Koontz-Garboden (2009) himself, such examples can be found, as e.g. in (70) below.

    1. (70)
    1. Se
    2. SE
    1. rompió
    2. broke
    1. el
    2. the
    1. vaso.
    2. glass
    1. De
    2. of
    1. hecho,
    2. fact
    1. Juan
    2. Juan
    1. lo
    2. it
    1. rompió.
    2. broke
    1. ‘The glass broke. In fact, Juan broke it.’

Koontz-Garboden (2009: 104f.) correctly points out that this prediction only holds under the assumption that one causing event cannot have more than one single effector. He argues that this is not necessarily the case. In particular, he proposes that one event can have more than one effector as long as the two effectors are sufficiently different, i.e. if they are not both agents, causers, or instruments.29 In (70), the breaking event is then related to two effectors, the first being a non-agentive one (the glass) and the second an agentive one (Juan).

As stated, this hypothesis makes wrong predictions. On the one hand, SE-anticausatives can very well be followed by causative clauses with non-agentive subjects as in (71a, b); in order to account for these examples, one would have to say that ‘the glass’ in (70) is an ontologically different effector than the natural forces in (71a, b).

    1. (71)
    1. a.
    1. Se
    2. SE
    1. rompió
    2. broke
    1. el
    2. the
    1. vaso.
    2. glass
    1. De
    2. of
    1. hecho,
    2. fact
    1. el
    2. the
    1. terremoto
    2. earthquake
    1. lo
    2. it
    1. rompió.
    2. broke
    1. ‘The glass broke. In fact, the earthquake broke it.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. La
    2. the
    1. puerta
    2. door
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. abrió.
    2. opened
    1. De
    2. of
    1. hecho,
    2. fact
    1. el
    2. the
    1. (golpe
    2. gust
    1. de)
    2. of
    1. viento
    2. wind
    1. abrió
    2. opened
    1. la
    2. the
    1. puerta.
    2. door
    1. ‘The door opened. In fact, the (gust of) wind opened the door.’

But the idea also leaves without an explanation why the following examples are rather bad:30

    1. (72)
    1. a.
    1. #La
    2. the
    1. bomba
    2. bomb
    1. destruyó
    2. destroyed
    1. el
    2. the
    1. edificio.
    2. building
    1. De
    2. of
    1. hecho,
    2. fact
    1. el
    2. the
    1. ejército
    2. army
    1. destruyó
    2. destroyed
    1. el
    2. the
    1. edificio.
    2. building
    1. ‘The bomb destroyed the building. In fact, the army destroyed the building’.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. #La
    2. the
    1. bala
    2. bullet
    1. lo
    2. him
    1. mató.
    2. killed
    1. De
    2. of
    1. hecho,
    2. fact
    1. el
    2. the
    1. policía
    2. policeman
    1. lo
    2. him
    1. mató.
    2. killed
    1. ‘The bullet killed him. In fact, the policeman killed him’.
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. #El
    2. the
    1. hombre
    2. man
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. mató.
    2. killed
    1. De
    2. of
    1. hecho,
    2. fact
    1. la
    2. the
    1. bala
    2. bullet
    1. lo
    2. him
    1. mató.
    2. killed
    1. ‘The man killed himself. In fact, the bullet killed him’.

Once we consider that anticausatives form a scale with their corresponding causative verb, an alternative explanation for examples such as (70) comes to mind. Spanish adverbial phrases such as de hecho, English in fact or German genau genommen introduce continuing sentences which enrich the first sentence with further information. The example in (70) works quite similarly to the corresponding example involving ‘metalinguistic’ negation in (19) above. While ‘metalinguistic’ negation in (19) cancels the scalar implicature associated with the anticausative verb, so that the following causative clause can be asserted without leading to a contradiction, a similar job is done by de hecho in (70) (Winterstein 2008 calls phrases like in fact ‘reformulative connectives’). This connective allows adding to the weak anticausative predication the stronger causative variant. This view fits with the observation that these phrases play the same role as ‘metalinguistic’ negation (cf. 73) rather than the one of ‘logical’ negation (cf. 74):

    1. (73)
    1. Luisa
    2. Luisa
    1. odia
    2. hates
    1. a
    2. to
    1. los
    2. the
    1. niños.
    2. children
    1. De
    2. of
    1. hecho,
    2. fact
    1. los
    2. them
    1. aborrece.
    2. loathes
    1. ‘Luisa hates children. In fact, she loathes them.
    1. (74)
    1. #Pepe
    2. Pepe
    1. es
    2. is
    1. rico.
    2. rich
    1. De
    2. of
    1. hecho,
    2. fact
    1. es
    2. is
    1. inteligente.
    2. intelligent
    1. ‘Pepe is rich. In fact, he is intelligent.’

3.8 Further entailments

The RAoAC in (8a, b) makes the prediction that there should be no synonymous pairs of SE-marked anticausative verbs on the one hand and bare unaccusative verbs (i.e. those lacking a causative version) or combinations of an eventive copula (‘become’) with an adjective on the other hand. For practical reasons, we illustrate both phenomena with German examples, showing that the prediction is wrong.31

The two verbs sich öffnen and aufgehen mean basically the same (‘to go open’). They differ, however, in that the former has a causative counterpart while the latter lacks a lexical causative variant.

    1. (75)
    1. a.
    1. Die
    2. the
    1. Tür
    2. door
    1. öffnete
    2. opened
    1. sich.
    2. SE
    1. ‘The door opened.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Die
    2. the
    1. Tür
    2. door
    1. ging
    2. went
    1. auf.
    2. open
    1. ‘The door went open.’

As the unacceptability of concessive aber (but1) in (76) shows, both verbs are entailed by the causative verb öffnen (to open):

    1. (76)
    1. Die
    2. the
    1. Tür
    2. door
    1. {hat
    2. has
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. geöffnet/ist
    2. opened/is
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. aufgegangen},
    2. open.gone
    1. #aber/sondern
    2. but1/but2
    1. Peter
    2. Peter
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. sie
    2. she
    1. geöffnet.
    2. opened
    1. ‘The door did not open, (*but) Peter opened it.’

Crucially, the two verbs are fully synonymous; however, the version of the RAoAC proposed by Koontz-Garboden (2009) would predict that the SE-marked anticausative denotes a reflexive causative event and the simple unaccusative verb denotes a one-place inchoative event such that the former should entail the latter. Consequently, corrective but1 (‘sondern’) should be licensed in (77), which is not the case.

    1. (77)
    1. #Die
    2. the
    1. Tür
    2. door
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. aufgegangen,
    2. open.gone
    1. aber/sondern
    2. but1/but2
    1. sie
    2. she
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. geöffnet.
    2. opened
    1. ‘The door did not go open, (but) it opened.’

Combinations of an eventive copula with an adjective as in (78a) clearly express a one-place change of state event. The very same adjectival root can, however, also form the SE-marked anticausative verb in (78b). As (79) shows, the two constructions are synonymous; since the former arguably expresses a simple one-place change of state event, we can conclude that the SE-marked anticausative does so, too.

    1. (78)
    1. a.
    1. Das
    2. the
    1. Klima
    2. climate
    1. wurde
    2. became
    1. anders.
    2. different
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Das
    2. the
    1. Klima
    2. climate
    1. änderte
    2. changed
    1. sich.
    2. SE
    1. ‘The climate changed.’
    1. (79)
    1. #Das
    2. the
    1. Klima
    2. climate
    1. ist
    2. is
    1. nicht
    2. not
    1. anders
    2. different
    1. geworden,
    2. become,
    1. aber/sondern
    2. but1/but2
    1. es
    2. it
    1. hat
    2. has
    1. sich
    2. SE
    1. verändert.
    2. changed
    1. ‘The climate did not get different, (but) it changed.’

4 Is a reflexive reading impossible for SE-marked anticausatives?

We have argued against the reflexivization analysis of SE-marked anticausatives, proposing that they have inchoative semantics along the lines in (5b). But can’t strings such as (4b), at least optionally, have a reflexive construal derived from (5a) via reflexivization/a bound anaphor in object position?

This option cannot be blocked by formal grammar because reflexivization is a productive process formally available for all transitive verbs (cf. already Horvath & Siloni 2011: 218, who point out that reflexive verb formation is productive, at least in Romance languages). Instead, we think that it is blocked by conceptual considerations: such a construal is as odd as the English The glass broke itself (see the discussion in section 2). But in specific contexts, if the nonsensical construal is negated (cf. fn. 11) and/or enforced by an intensifier (e.g. Spanish sí mismo ‘itself’), it becomes available as the licensing of but1 and but2 in (80) shows. Note that (80) has nothing to do with anticausativization, since unmarked anticausatives as in (3b) enter the reflexive construal under such conditions, too, cf. (81).

    1. (80)
    1. El
    2. the
    1. vaso
    2. glass
    1. no
    2. no
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. rompió
    2. broke
    1. a
    2. to
    1. sí mismo,
    2. himself
    1. lógicamente,
    2. logically
    1. {pero
    2. but1
    1. /sino
    2. /but2
    1. que}
    2. that
    1. you
    1. lo
    2. him
    1. rompiste.
    2. broke
    1. ‘The glass didn’t break itself, logically, but1/but2 you broke it.’
    1. (81)
    1. Los
    2. the
    1. precios
    2. prices
    1. no
    2. no
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. aumentaron
    2. increased
    1. a
    2. to
    1. sí mismos,
    2. themselves
    1. lógicamente,
    2. logically
    1. {pero/sino
    2. but1/but2
    1. que}
    2. that
    1. Ana
    2. Ana
    1. los
    2. them
    1. aumentó.
    2. increased
    1. ‘The prices didn’t increase themselves, logically, but1/but2 Ana increased them.’

The judgments in (80) and (81) hold in other languages, too (e.g. in German and Italian).32 Note further that all other diagnostics discussed above such as the licensing of NPIs, the licensing of concessive vs. corrective conjunctions and adverbs or conditionals also lead to the opposite result if the SE-reflexive is combinbed with an intensifier. We exemplify this with one further Spanish sentence pair involving the corrective vs. concessive adverbs ‘rather’ vs. ‘instead’.

    1. (82)
    1. a.
    1. El
    2. the
    1. vaso
    2. glass
    1. no
    2. no
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. rompió.
    2. broke
    1. {Más
    2. more
    1. bien /
    2. well/
    1. *En
    2. in
    1. vez
    2. time
    1. de
    2. of
    1. eso}
    2. that
    1. you
    1. lo
    2. it
    1. rompiste.
    2. broke
    1. ‘The glass did not break. Rather/*Instead you broke it.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. El
    2. the
    1. vaso
    2. glass
    1. no
    2. no
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. rompió
    2. broke
    1. a
    2. to
    1. sí mismo.
    2. itself
    1. {Más
    2. more
    1. bien /
    2. well/
    1. En
    2. in
    1. vez
    2. time
    1. de
    2. of
    1. eso}
    2. that
    1. you
    1. lo
    2. it
    1. rompiste.
    2. broke
    1. ‘The glass did not break itself. Rather/Instead you broke it.’

Note, finally, that we do not claim that adding an intensifier is the only way how a semantically reflexive construal can emerge with a SE-marked anticausative. Intensifiers are just one way to enforce a semantically reflexive construal. Other options are devices which, indeed, can act on themselves and, thereby, cause a change in one of their properties; with an automatic door, designed to cause itself to go open, or a computer program that can shut down itself, the intensifier is not necessary to receive a semantically reflexive construal.33 The same holds for human DPs as in (83b).34

    1. (83)
    1. a.
    1. Las
    2. the
    1. tostadas
    2. toasts
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. quemaron.
    2. burnt (inchoative)
    1. ‘The toasts got burned.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. El
    2. the
    1. niño
    2. child
    1. se
    2. SE
    1. quemó.
    2. burnt
    1. ‘The kid got burnt/burnt itself.’

5 The licensing of by-itself

In this last section, we address a final prominent argument brought up in favor of the RAoAC and originally due to Chierchia (2004), namely the licensing of by itself and its counterparts in other languages (e.g. Italian da sé, Spanish sí mismo, German von selbst)

Chierchia’s argument runs as follows (see also Koontz-Garboden 2009). In (84), da sé is successfully bound by an agent subject. In (85), the subject is not an agent, and modification with da sé is claimed to be bad. Finally, in passives such as (86) the derived theme subject cannot license da sé.

    1. (84)
    1. Gianni
    2. Gianni
    1. mi
    2. me
    1. ha
    2. has
    1. picchiato
    2. hit
    1. da
    2. by
    1. sé.
    2. himself
    1. ‘Gianni hit me by himself.’
    1. (85)
    1. (*) Gianni
    2. Gianni
    1. conosce
    2. knows
    1. il
    2. the
    1. latino/
    2. Latin/
    1. ha
    2. has
    1. sudato
    2. sweated
    1. da
    2. by
    1. sé.
    2. himself
    1. ‘Gianni knows Latin/sweat by himself.’
    1. (86)
    1. * La
    2. the
    1. porta
    2. door
    1. è
    2. is
    1. stata
    2. been
    1. aperta
    2. opened
    1. da
    2. by
    1. sé.
    2. itself
    1. ‘The door was opened by itself.’

Chierchia concludes from this set of data that da sé must be bound by a structural subject, and that this subject must have the theta role agent or causer. Furthermore, he proposes that this phrase expresses that its antecedent is the sole causer/only agent of the event expressed by the lexical verb. Crucially, anticausatives are compatible with da sé, cf. (87). Chierchia takes this as a confirmation for the RAoAC: since (87) is good, la porta, the antecedent of da sé, must be a causer (in addition of being a theme).

    1. (87)
    1. La
    2. the
    1. porta
    2. door
    1. si
    2. SE
    1. è
    2. is
    1. aperta
    2. opened
    1. da
    2. by
    1. sé.
    2. itself
    1. ‘The door opened by itself.’

Why should the antecedent of da sé be the sole causer? This would follow from the observation that a simple anticausative clause can be followed by a clause introducing a (further) causer for the inchoative event, while this is impossible if the anticausative is modified with da sé, as illustrated for English in (88a, b).

    1. (88)
    1. a.
    1. The door opened. In fact, I opened the door.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. The door opened by itself. #In fact, I opened the door.

A number of authors have argued against the idea that the distribution of da sé and its counterparts in other languages should be taken as an argument in favor of the RAoAC, in particular that it can be used to diagnose the presence of an agent or causer (see Reinhart 2000: 28; Schäfer 2007; Horvath & Siloni 2011; 2013). Recently, Alexiadou et al. (2015) explicitly argued that neither the distribution nor the interpretation of these phrases fit the above characterization given by Chierchia (2004); neither is the antecedent of da sé necessarily an agent or causer, nor is it necessarily the sole causer. Before we turn to some of their examples showing this, let us first consider how the standard theory of the causative alternation could account for the above data.

Let us start with the contrast in (88a, b). As discussed above, under the standard analysis of the causative alternation the two verbal phrases are ordered on a scale. Furthermore, the anticausative verb, being the weaker scalar item, triggers the implicature that the stronger item is not true. Scalar implicatures (and more generally all conversational implicatures) can be computed on top of an utterance, but they are not asserted and, therefore, not explicitly endorsed by the speaker. We have already seen in section 3.5 that sentences beginning with in fact are used to cancel an implicature associated with a scalar expression used in the preceding clause. We suggest then that in fact in (88a) cancels the scalar implicature associated with the anticausative verb in the first clause, while by itself in (88b) reinforces the effect of this implicature as an entailment. And an entailment, in contrast to an implicature, cannot be cancelled (cf. e.g. Sadock 1978; Grice 1989; Winterstein 2013 about canceling and reinforcing implicatures).

Next, how can a standard theory account for the (non-)licensing of by itself in transitive, passive and anticausative clauses, repeated below for English?

    1. (89)
    1. a.
    1. *The door was broken by itself.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. The door broke by itself.
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. John broke the door by himself.

As an important remark, note that by itself in English (as well as in Italian or Spanish, but not in German, for example) has two interpretations: one is roughly ‘alone’ (or ‘unaccompanied’ as in Yesterday I went to the cinema by myself). As pointed out by Levin and Rappaport Hovav (1995: 88), this reading is not relevant for the discussion of anticausatives. We follow Alexiadou et al. (2015) who label the second reading of by itself (the one relevant for the discussion of anticausatives) as ‘no particular cause’. As these authors propose, by using anaphoric by itself under this second reading, a speaker asserts that nobody and nothing can be identified that (directly or indirectly) caused the formal antecedent of by itself to participate in the event expressed by the predicate. (89c) expresses then that no one and nothing can be identified by the speaker to have forced or caused John to break the door. (89b) expresses that nothing can be identified as responsible for the breaking of the door. A speaker uttering (89b) indicates that she rejects the possibility that there is any particular causer or agent that brought about the opening of the door. In other words, modifying the anticausative in (89b) with by itself stresses that the use of the anticausative is the strongest statement the speaker is willing to make and that a causative use (passive or active, i.e. involving an external argument) of the same predicate is, in the opinion of the speaker, not justified. Under this view, by itself does not identify a causer but rejects the participation of a causer. Furthermore, by itself asserts what the plain use of an anticausative verb implicates. In (89a), finally, by itself has the same semantic contribution as in (89b), but now a contradiction arises because of the presence of the implicit external argument that denotes exactly what by itself denies, i.e. the passive semantics contain an implicit agent or causer, while by itself denies the presence of such an entity.35

If the use of by itself asserts that “no causer can be identified”, then, arguably, modification of a predicate with by itself is possible only if a causative use of this predicate involving such a causer is a conceptually or contextually motivated option. With anticausatives this precondition is conceptually fulfilled because, by definition, these verbs are “lexically” associated with a stronger scalar item, i.e. the lexical causative alternate. This is so, whether the anticausative predicate is marked or unmarked, and in fact, across languages, both types of causatives license by itself smoothly (cf. Alexiadou et al. 2006; Schäfer 2008; Horvath & Siloni 2013).

With predicates that lack a causative transitive counterpart, by itself is, as expected, more difficult to use. This is the case with verbs that are already transitive such as the verb in (85) above, which is repeated with such a licensing context in (90) (and note that (84) is actually marked in out-of-the-blue contexts). This is also the case with inchoative structures that lack a lexical causative counterpart, such as so-called internally caused (or pure) unaccusative verbs such as blossom or eventive copula constructions, the latter exemplified in (91a, b). However, once it is contextually established that the events expressed by such predicates could, in principle, be caused, then the exclusion of such causation via the use of by itself becomes an option (see for this point also Schäfer 2007; Horvath & Siloni 2013: 220). Crucially, these example (and further examples in Alexiadou et al. 2015) make it clear that the antecedent of by itself can have other thematic roles than agent or causer.

    1. (90)
    1. Maria
    2. Mary
    1. ha
    2. has
    1. dovuto
    2. need
    1. suggerire
    2. suggest
    1. la
    2. the
    1. risposta?
    2. answer?
    1. No,
    2. no,
    1. Gianni
    2. Gianni
    1. sapeva
    2. knew
    1. la
    2. the
    1. risposta
    2. answer
    1. da
    2. by
    1. sé.
    2. SE
    1. ‘Did Mary have to suggest the answer? No, Gianni knew the answer by himself.’
    1. (91)
    1. a.
    1. Non
    2. no
    1. devi
    2. need.you
    1. asciugarli.
    2. towel.
    1. Diventeranno
    2. become.they
    1. asciutti
    2. dry
    1. da
    2. by
    1. sé.
    2. SE
    1. ‘‘You do not have to dry the dishes with a towel. They become dry by themselves.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Non
    2. not
    1. innervosire
    2. make.nervous
    1. Maria!
    2. Mary!
    1. Diventa
    2. become.she
    1. gia’
    2. already
    1. nervosa
    2. nervous
    1. da
    2. by
    1. sé!
    2. SE
    1. ‘Do not make Mary nervous! She gets nervous already by herself.’

Finally, Alexiadou et al. (2015) show that even in cases where by itself takes an agent or causer as its antecedent, this agent/causer does not have to be the sole agent/causer of the event. This is exemplified with the Italian example below which expresses that no one or nothing can be identified that caused Gianni to participate in the carrying event; he did it of his free will.36

    1. (92)
    1. Non
    2. not
    1. ho
    2. have.1SG
    1. dovuto
    2. must
    1. pregare
    2. ask
    1. troppo
    2. a.lot
    1. Gianni.
    2. Gianni.
    1. A
    2. to
    1. dire
    2. say
    1. il
    2. the
    1. vero,
    2. truth,
    1. ha
    2. has
    1. portato
    2. carried
    1. il
    2. the
    1. pianoforte
    2. piano
    1. DA
    2. by
    1. himself
    1. insieme
    2. with
    1. agli
    2. others
    1. altri
    2. at
    1. al
    2. the
    1. secondo
    2. second
    1. piano.
    2. floor
    1. ‘I did not have to beg Gianni a lot. To tell the truth, he carried by himself the piano to the second floor together with others.’

6 Conclusions

We argued on the bases of conceptual and empirical arguments that the reflexivization analysis of anticausatives (whether they are reflexively marked or plain, i.e. unmarked) cannot be upheld, thereby reconfirming a conclusion already defended in Horvath & Siloni (2011; 2013). All these arguments are, on the other hand, compatible with the standard view on the semantics of the causative alternation according to which anticausatives express one-place inchoative events and their lexical causative counterparts introduce a further argument, which causes the anticausative event. In particular, our empirical tests showed that a clause headed by a causative verb entails the clause headed by the corresponding anticausative verb, i.e. that causatives and anticausatives form a scale. This scalar relationship can explain many arguments brought forward in favor of the RAoAC; a clause headed by an anticausative verb can be negated, and a clause headed by the corresponding causative verb can be asserted at the same time, because the negation involved in the former clause necessarily has a ‘metalinguistic’ use, where the upper scalar implicature associated with anticausative verb is negated. Similarly, by itself appears happily with anticausatives, where this phrase expresses as an entailment what is otherwise just implied by an anticausative verb. However, we also stressed that the morphological string of a SE-marked anticausative verb can be forced into a semantically reflexive construal (either by conceptual or by grammatical clues). Our results reinforce the standard view that SE-morphemes used in many Indo-European languages to mark verbal derivations do not always act as an anaphor or reflexivizer.