Speaker: Tanya Slavin
Title: “Deriving Object Experiencer verbs in Ojicree”
When: March 23rd at 3:30PM
Where: Leacock rm. 14.


In this talk I look at the meaning and distribution of the Ojicree verbal suffix ‑ishkaw in the contexts where it acts as a causative head. I argue that ‑ishkaw is different from the more common causative morpheme ‑ih in that it forms Object Experiencer verbs. Presenting a range of new data and observations, I demonstrate that causatives formed with ‑ishkawexhibit two essential semantic properties of Object Experiencer verbs (cf. Belletti and Rizzi 1988, Arad 2002, Pesetsky 1995, Landau 2009): non-volitional subject and psychologically affected object. I argue that despite the initial impression, the special Object Experiencer semantics is not inherent to this morpheme but follows directly from structure. Specifically I propose that  -ishkaw is a causative head that introduces a causing event rather than an animate causer (cf. Pylkkanen 2008). The interpretation of the causee as an experiencer is a result of a selectional restriction of this morpheme: -ishkaw selects a vP but not a VoiceP. This study contributes to the long-standing debate on the interaction of meaning and structure in Object Experiencer verbs, lending support to the idea that the Object Experiencer interpretation is derived structurally. Finally, I offer some thoughts on the correlation between non-agentivity and the Object Experiencer interpretation and, more generally, on the correlation  between (non-)agentivity of the subject and the properties of the object in causative constructions.