Full-text resources of CEJSH and other databases are now available in the new Library of Science.
Visit https://bibliotekanauki.pl


2008 | 43 | 51-62

Article title

AGENTIVITY VERSUS CAUSALITY (Agentywnosc czy kauzatywnosc?)

Selected contents from this journal

Title variants

Languages of publication



The main idea of the article is to raise objections to 1) a conceptual (semantic-syntactic) differentiation of the agentive constructions based on the predicates represented in the surface structure by operational verbs and the causative constructions; 2) the postulated existence of a mechanism which enables the derivation of secondary constructions from primary ones, for instance, the derivation of secondary agentive constructions such as 'Jan obudzil Marie' from primary ones such as 'Silny wiatr obudzil Marie'. It is claimed that the agentive constructions can be reduced to the causative ones. The claim is proved by the fact, that the agentive predicates don't permit the simple substitution of the verb 'zrobic cos', because the agentive constructions can contain a second agentive operational predicate equally substitutable by 'zrobic cos (Jan pocalunkiem obudzil Marie vs Jan zrobil cos z Maria = ‘Jan zrobil to: Jan pocalował Marie...')'. There exists a relevant distinction between the agentive verbs of the type 'obudzic' and of the type 'pocalowac'. The first denote causative action, the second non causative ones. Their identical substitutability is due to the ambiguity of the verb 'zrobic cos'. Its substitution to an agentive verb of the first type (obudzic) signifies the introduction of a second operational non causative predicate which joined with its agent constitutes the first propositional argument of the causative constructions realizing the logical form P(p, q). Therefore the agentive constructions of that type are identifiable with the causatives ones, their internal propositional structure being the same. The difference between them concerns another level of the language.






Physical description

Document type



  • Stanislaw Karolak, Instytut Slawistyki PAN, ul. Bartoszewicza 1b. M. 17, 00-337 Warszawa, Poland


Document Type

Publication order reference


CEJSH db identifier

YADDA identifier

JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.