8Some languages have a strict division of verbs into transitive--
those that take A (transitive subject) and O (transitive object)
core syntactic relations--and intransitive--those that have just
one core syntactic relation, S (intransitive subject). A few
languages even employ morphological marking so that there can
never be any doubt as to whether a verb is transitive or
intransitive, e.g. if a verb in Fijian shows a transitive suffix then it
must have an object; if it lacks this suffix there will be no direct
object.Transitivity is a much more fluid matter in English. There are, it
is true, a number of verbs that are strictly transitive, e.g. like,
promote, recognise, inform, and a few that are strictly intransitive,
e.g. arrive, chat, matter. But many verbs in English may be used
either transitively or intransitively.There are two kinds of correspondence between the syntactic
relations of intransitive and transitive constructions:
I kicked at the bomb, which exploded,
and wakened you up.
Transitivity and causatives
|i. ||those for which S = A, e.g. She's following (us), Have you
eaten (lunch)?, He's knitting (a jumper), I won (the game);|
|ii. ||those for which S = O, e.g. The ice melted/Ivan melted the
ice, Mary's arm hurts/John hurt Mary's arm, Fred tripped
up/Jane tripped up Fred, Tim is working hard/Tim's boss is
working him hard.|
If the transitive version is taken as prior for (i), then we can say
that the intransitive version is obtained by omitting the object, and
that this is possible for some--but not all--transitive verbs in
English. If the intransitive construction is taken as prior for (ii),
then we can say that the transitive is a causative version of the
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: A New Approach to English Grammar, on Semantic Principles.
Contributors: R. M. W. Dixon - Author.
Publisher: Clarendon Press.
Place of publication: Oxford.
Publication year: 1992.
Page number: 267.
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