'Make' causatives in English and Mandarin

Candice Chi-Hang Cheung, Richard K. Larson

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Make causatives in English involving a DP or CP subject, an experiencer, and an adjective describing the experiencer’s psychological state exhibit properties strongly implying that those subjects are derived. The Mandarin equivalents of make causatives show similar (although not identical) behavior, indicating that these properties are common to the construction type. In this paper, we present an account of 'make' causatives in both languages in which the DP/CP subjects in question begin as low source arguments that are raised syntactically to the subject position. We show how this proposal explains the relevant properties in both Mandarin and English. We also contrast the behavior of 'make' causatives involving a psych adjective with those involving a non-psych adjective, proposing very different structures that reflect different selections by 'make' in the two cases. In brief, with psych adjectives 'make' is triadic, selecting an experiencer, an AP, and a source phrase in both Mandarin and English. With non-psych adjectives, make is dyadic, selecting two clauses in English.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLingua sinica
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2018


  • 'Make' causatives
  • triadic derived-subject constructions
  • backward binding
  • psych adjectives
  • non-psych adjectives


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