1. What are the main differences between basic construction and applicativeness?
  2. What are the similarities between unaccusativity and causativization?
  3. What are the major differences between a canonical passive and invertived passive?

Answer :

  1. Basic constructions deal with one-place verb (intransitive construction), two-place verb (transitive construction), and three-place verb (ditransitive construction). Hanafi in Hanafi (2003) states that in one-place verb, the clause has one or two arguments. In the two-place verb the clause bears two arguments, while in three-place verb, the clause has three arguments.

Applicativeness is a process of valency mechanism to add an argument of a verb (Spencer in Hanafi, 2003) in which the verb is marked with affixes (Trask in Hanafi, 2010).

The major differences between basic construction and applicativeness are located in the derivation process, it happens without deleting any kind of words. It is different from applicativeness in which it happens by adding arguments of affixes.

Let’s take a look on the following explanation :

  1. Basic constructions

1)   One-place verb

the verb bears one or two arguments. Consider the following example :

–         Saya sedang makan.

I am eating

–         Sedang makan saya*

–         Makan saya sedang#

–         Sedang saya makan#

–         Saya makan sedang#

–         Makan sedang saya#

The sentence on the example above shows that it has one argument (*sentence)  because the it has just one alternation. While in the (# sentences) all of them are in incorrect form, because they are meaningless or they are hardly to be understood.

2)   Two-place verb

  1. John hit the duck
  2. The duck John hit*
  3. John the duck hit#
  4. Hit the duck John#
  5. Hit John the duck#

The sentences showed above prove that transitive constructions bear two argument. The first is preverbal functioning as Subject and preverbal functioning as Object (a). The postverbal argument NP can be promoted to the initial position of the clause like in (b). However, it can’t be inserted between the preverbal argument and the verb (c). Then, the preverbal argument neither can be moved to the end of the clause (d), nor inserted between the verb and postverbal argument NP (e).

Postverbal argument NP (a) functions as an Object. It can be proved by a passive test that the duck can take the position as a grammatical Subject in (f) through passivization :

  1. The duck was hit by John*

3)   Three-place verb

Three-place verb or ditransitive verb bears three arguments. Those are Subject, Direct Object and Indirect Object. Here are the series of ditransitive verb : give, deliver, send, borrow, supply, and lend (Dixon in Hanafi, 2003). Look on the following sentences :

a)    Roy gave a bunch of flower to Mia

b)   A bunch of flower Roy gave to Mia*

c)    To Mia, Roy gave a bunch of flower*

d)   Roy gave a Mia a bunch of flower*

e)    Gave a bunch of flower to Mia Roy#

f)     Gave Roy a bunch of flower to Mia#

g)    Gave a bunch of flower to Mia#

h)    Roy gave to Mia a bunch of flower#

Based on the example of sentences above, Roy is a NP and it has role as Subject, also it is preverbal. The postverbal positions are a bunch of flower which is an Direct Object, and Mia as Indirect Object. Sentences a, b, c, and d are the corrected combination, but the sentences e, f, g, and h are the incorrected one. Subject cannot be placed at the final position (e). Subject cannot be inserted between its verb and Direct Object (f), and Subject cannot be inserted between Direct Object and Indirect Object (g), also Direct Object cannot take final position in the clause if the preposition (to) of Indirect Object is not taken out (h).

In the clause with three argument NPs, Subject is always in the beginning of the clasue, then followed by the verb, verb is followed by Direct Object (Direct Object can be placed in the beginning of the clause when it is functioning as the topic). The last is Indirect Object follows Direct Object and may take an initial position in the clause if it is functioning as a topic of the clause.

  1. Applicativeness

In applicativeness, it is different from basic constructions in which derication occurs without dropping any kind of words, while in applicativeness, an argument added by inserting affixes. The writer will take the example from Bahasa Indonesia, because various kind of applicative construction can be created from it. While in English, the constructions are limited. There are two kind of revalution which is related to applicativeness, those are promotion and demotion. The writer will examine about normal promotion and abnormal promotion related to applicativeness.

1)        Normal Promotion

According to Hanafi (2003), who states that in normal promotion we examine oblique relations such as : locative (at, in), instrumental (by), benefactive (for), recipient (to), and destination (to). These relations can be directly promoted to Object positions in the clauses by consider to the following examples by using locative oblique :

  1. Desi mencoret di baju-nya

3SG scratchs   on cloth-3SG.POSS

“Desi scratchs on her cloth”

  1. Desi mencoret-i                 baju-nya

3SG ACT.scratchs-APPL    cloth-3SG.POSS

Example (a) illustrates that the NP preceeding the verb ‘mencoret’ which is a Subject and the NP preceeded by di prepostion is a locative oblique.  The promotion of locative oblique to Object in (b) is marked by suffix –i on the verb and the deletion of preposition ‘di’.

2)        Abnormal Promotion

In abnormal promotion, Subject must firstly go to Object in order to show the promotion of a source oblique. Look at the following examples :

  1. Rina meminjam      uang   ke Roni

3SG ACT.borrow  money   to Roni

Rina borrows some money to Roni

  1. Roni meminjam-i                   Rina uang

Roni ACT.borrow.APPL         Rina money

Roni lends Rina some money

The example (b) shows that the promotion of oblique to Subject in the two-place verb construction, the verb makes suffix –i appearing to mark the APPL. Then ke preposition is omitted.

  1. Unaccusative denotes to an intransitive verb whose surface Subject is an underlying (direct) Object (Trask in Hanafi, 2003). While Causativization defined as one participant causing another to perform an action (Pickett in Hanafi, 2003).

The similarities between them are they have causative markers in the clause and unaccusativity is the part of causativiazation. For the futher explanation, look at the following examples :

  1. Bebek             mandi

S                     Vi

  1. Adik memandi-kan                  bebek

A      ACT.Vt-.CAUS                      P

  1. Adik tertawa karena  memandi-kan bebek

A      PASS.    CAUS        ACT.Vt               P(Patient)

In the example above, (a) which is used Vi changes to Vt because the Subject in (a) corresponds with Patient (b), then the verb become unaccusative. –kan in (b) marks that it is causative. While in (c), there are two components here, the first is before Conjunction (karena) and after Conjuction (karena). Adik tertawa CAUSE memandikan bebek. It is the term of cause and effect. So, the writer conclude that Unaccusative is the part of Causativization in terms of its existence in the causativization construction (c).

  1. According to Hanafi (2003) who states that in canonical passive, it is marked by the presence of prefixes on the verbs and the agentive adjunct can optimally omitted. While inverted passive defined identical with the active form in the word order, but the verb is unmarked passive or without a prefix and there is no agentive adjunct after the basic verb. It is clear the differences about canonical passive and inverted passive, or the writer can simplify it into two statements :
    1. Canonical passive marked by the presence of prefix on the verbs, while inverted passive has no prefixes.
    2. Canonical passive marked by the optimal omission of the agentive adjunct, while inverted passive has no agentive adjunct.

For the clear explanation, look at the following examples used sentences in Bahasa Indonesia :

1)   Canonical Passive

  1. Raka di-tendang oleh Amir

3SG   PASS.kick      by    Amir

‘Raka is kicked       by    Amir’

  1. Raka di-tendang Amir

3SG PASS.kick     Amir

‘Raka is kicked (by Amir)’

  1. Raka di-tendang-nya

3SG. PASS.kick   –postclitic

‘Raka is kicked (by someone)’

The construction of canonical passive sentences in the (a) and (b) show that passive is marked by di-. While in the agentive adjunct it is marked by the postclitic –nya in which it derived oleh which can be existing or not in sentence.

2)   Inverted Passive

Inverted passive can be showed by “the deletion of affix me-“ in Bahasa Indonesia sentence construction. The sentence (b) represents inverted passive. It is showed in the following examples :

  1. Amir me-nendang Raka

3SG     ACT.kick        Raka

  1. Amir tendang Raka

3SG.  V.kick      Raka


Hanafi, Nurachman. 2003. Syntax. Mataram : Mataram University Press.


This assignment was proposed to fulfill the requirement of Syntax Lecture-English Dept-FKIP-Mataram University

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