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The semantic and functional analysis of causatives in the Romanian language

Author: Raisa Galben
Degree:doctor of philology
Speciality: 10.02.01 - Romanian Language
Scientific adviser: Anatol Ciobanu
doctor habilitat, professor, Moldova State University
Scientific council:


The thesis was presented on the 22 December, 2006
Approved by NCAA on the 14 June, 2007


Adobe PDF document0.38 Mb / in romanian


CZU 811.135.1’367.625:37

Adobe PDF document 1.16 Mb / in romanian
207 pages


actant, agent, antecedent, argument, cause, causal, causativity, causativization, field ( ~ lexico-grammatical; ~ semantico-functional), semantical component, logical connector, consequence, causative verbal construction, semantical criptotype, minimal conceptual element, ergative, eventive, decausative morpheme, omonymy (~ semantico-functional; ~ syntactical), logical operator, patient, seme nuclear, causative syntagm, syntactical synonymy, causative situation, deep structure, surface structure, semantical structure, caused subject, causing subject, causative transformation, ergative transformation, abstract verb, causative verb, denominative verb, eurisemic verb, eventive verb, factitive verb, fundamental verb, general verb, polysemantic verb, contextual causative verb, ergative causative verb, existential causative verb, lexical causative verb, morphological causative verb, perifrastic causative verb, pronominal causative verb, rezultative causative verb, semantical causative verb


The work under consideration is devoted to the linguistic investigation of the logico- semantical category of causativity. The main subject matter is the identification of the means of topical rendering of the above mentioned category and the revealing of the semantico-functional aspects within the linguistic field of the Romanian language.

The linguistic notion causative / causativity such as “to do / act so that…” is defined as a logico-semantic correlation between cause and effect which links consecutively two or more elementary predicative structures, thus forming a complex causative macrostructure. From this point of view sintagms with subjects (agents) and objects (patients), causative actants and caused actants (the immediate / performer) have been examined. Both the correlation between deep semantic structures and surface syntactical ones and that between the logical and grammatical subjects are revealed. In order to characterize the actants of the causative situation the markers /± animated/ and /± human/ are used. The delimitation of the category of causative verbs is made on the basis of semic and contextual analysis, taking in to consideration the semantico-syntactical peculiarities of the actants and the semantical indices /± human/, /± control/, /± volitive/, /± target/, /± result/ depending on the type of the causative situation.

The results of the investigation show that both a semantico-functional field of causativity and a lexico-grammatical one of causative verbs whose elements contain the generic seme to cause can be outlined in the Romanian language. The verb “to make” is the nucleus of the lexico-grammatical field of causativity due to its qualities of a lexeme with a high degree of abstractization, which enables it to be present in the semantical structure of all the causative verbs.

In the modern Romanian language the causative meaning is materialized both on the level of the verb-predicate ( a aduce pe cineva – to make somebody come) and on the level of the statement (L-am rugat să vină – I asked him to come). Thus, the specific features of the causative verbs are most conditioned by the interdependence of the grammatical form of the verbal lexemes, of their syntactical position and distribution. The analysis of the factual material permits us to point out several subclasses of causative verbs in the Romanian language: 1) “lexical” (semantical); 2) “morphological”; 3) “ergative”; 4)”periphrastic”; 5) “pronominal”.

The lexico-semantical causatives are less spread in Romanian in comparison with other ways of expressing a causative situation. Their absence is compensated by grammar. For example, the notion “causativity” can be rendered at the morphological level, although this is not a specific procedure for the Romanian language. There are other cases when the signifier cloes not have a sound form, but it is a grammatical rule. The phenomenon of conversion serves as an example that transposes a word from one part of speech into another one or changes the syntactico-functional characteristics of the given lexical unit as in the case of “ergative” causative verbs