In my article, I address the factors which favor using a verb as labile (both transitive and intransitive, with no formal change required).
Haspelmath (1993) proposes that the key feature which conditions a way of marking (in)transitivity of verbs in the transitive / intransitive verb pair is the spontaneity parameter.
However, the statistical analysis of Haspelmath’s data shows that for labile / ambitransitive verb the main parameter is the lexical semantic class of the verb, not the degree of spontaneity. This lets us discover a more general principle: phenomena which are not purely grammatical, but rather lexico-grammatical (as lability) depend on lexical features, not on generalized grammatical or semantic parameters.
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.
The article deals with the phenomenon of lability (ambitransitivity), in other words, the ability of a verb to be either transitive or intransitive. I analyze the historical development of verbs which are currently labile in modern Russian. The main group of Russian labile verbs contains verbs of motion. On the basis of corpus and dictionary data, I conclude that the behaviour of the lexemes under analysis is far from being uniform. However, interestingly, for most of them, e.g., lit' 'flow', gonjat' 'urge, drive', and kružit' 'roll', the proportion of the intransitive use grows throughout the period under analysis, though for the verb kapat'/kapnut' 'drip', in contrast, the transitive use becomes more and more frequent.
In the cases when the intransitive use becomes more frequent, the semantic change matches the statistical one. In the beginning, verbs of this subtype were only used intransitively in a restricted type of contexts (e.g., for gonjat', hunting contexts represent this restricted class), where the intransitive use might be a result of object omission. Later on, the semantic range of the intransitive use became wider and the lability was no longer semantically related to object omission. I conclude that the semantic change of the uses of labile verbs often go together with semantic changes. Importantly, the borderline between A- and P-lability is not as strict as it is put sometimes: P-lability (the causative/non-causative alternation) can in some cases be traced back to A-lability (object omission).
The paper looks into the contemporary state of the problem of decision-making and preference of some alternatives over others, discussing intransitivity of relations of superiority: one object is superior to another in a certain aspect, while the second is superior to the third and the third is superior to the first (A>B, B>C, C>A). The authors analyze two broad groups of theories and empirical studies reflecting opposite views on the nature of the relations and rationality of intransitivity of relations of superiority. The authors argue that understanding of intransitivity of superiority relations is no less important line of cognitive development than understanding of transitivity; they should be studied as complementary subjects. Thus it is necessary to study individual differences in cognitive sets with regard to transitivity/intransitivity of superiority, as well as individual characteristics of solving problems of that kind.