Applicatives in Korean causatives and passives

Kyumin Kim


This paper examines the distribution of the Korean voice morpheme, -I, which marks two different syntactic contexts, causatives and passives. A central proposal is that the -I morpheme can appear in the two different contexts due to a shared syntactic property, namely a high applicative complement structure. Evidence from binding facts and the adverb modification of ‘on purpose’ indicates that the -I morpheme is inserted into the head that selects a high applicative as a complement but not other types of complements; for example, vDO or VoiceP that requires an agent argument in its specifier. Morphological marking patterns on dative arguments in causatives and passives indicate that the relevant applicative is instrumental. The proposed analysis has significant implications on the theory of causatives. Under the proposal, causatives select an applicative that is a new type of a complement of causatives, which was absent in Pylkkänen (2002)’s classification. Thus, the proposed account provides a more constrained theory on causativization with respect to Appl and Voice, thereby accommodating a wider range of empirical facts, such as Korean facts.


Korean; Voice; Passives; Causatives; Distributed Morphology

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