Internally caused situation

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In lexical semantics, an internally caused situation is a (single-argument) event that comes about due to some property inherent to the argument of the verb (Levin & Rappaport Hovav 1995:91, Wright 2001).

  • "(We distinguish) "between internally and externally caused eventualities. With an intransitive verb describing an internally caused eventuality, some property inherent to the argument of the verb is "responsible" for bringing about the eventuality. For agentive verbs such as play and speak, this property is the will or volition of the agent who performs the activity. Thus, the concept of internal causation subsumes agency. However, an internally caused verb need not be agentive. For example, the verbs blush and tremble, which take animate—though nonagentive—arguments, can nevertheless be considered to describe internally caused eventualities... Verbs with an inanimate...single argument may also describe internally caused eventualities... In particular, the notion of internal causation can be straightforwardly extended to encompass a class of nonagentive single argument verbs that we refer to as verbs of emission." (Levin & Rappaport Hovav 1995:91)

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