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Regular version of the site

Article

Time reference in Russian causative constructions

Oslo studies in language. 2012. Vol. 4. No. 1. P. 31-51.

In the paper I consider the causative constructions in Russian. I examine the use of tense and aspect in constructions with the verbs zastavit’ / zastavljat’ ‘make’ and pozvolit’ / pozvoljat’ ‘let, allow’. I also include the verb delat’ / sdelat ‘make’ in my analysis, though this verb has special syntactic and semantic characteristics.

The striking feature of the causative constructions with eventive subjects is that the tensed forms and temporal adverbs in these constructions do not obligatorily refer to the causing situation. The tensed forms and adverbials sometimes refer only to the caused situation.

I assume that it is the nature of events vs. participants that is responsible for these distinctions. Each dynamic event is associated with some result. I have shown that in some cases what the tense of the causative verb and temporal adverbials refer to is the result of the causing event, and not the causing event in the narrow sense.