Time reference in Russian causative constructions


  • Alexander Letuchiy Russian Language Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences




In my paper, I analyze the meaning of tense-aspect forms of Russian causative verbs, such as zastavit' 'make' and pozvolit' 'let'. I show that the situation is different, depending on whether the causer is an agent or an event. In constructions with an agentive causer the tense-aspect characteristics refers to the whole event or only to the causing event, making the causative construction similar to other biverbal constructions. In contrast, if the causer is an event, this can yield an interesting semantic effect, making the tense refer to the caused event only. In fact, the crucial thing is that the tense also refers to the caused event, but not to the event in the narrow sense, rather to its result. This posits a problem which has not been accounted for in the literature on grammatical marking of causatives.

Author Biography

Alexander Letuchiy, Russian Language Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences

Department of Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Poetics