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Show full table of contents experiencer psych-verbs

This section discusses object experiencer verbs. Object experiencers can be either accusative or dative. In the former case we are dealing with causative psych-verbs, which can generally be used in two different ways: (i) they may take a causer subject, in which case they behave more or less like regular transitive verbs, or (ii) they may take a cause subject, in which case they exhibit behavior that is not typical for regular transitive verbs. To avoid lengthy descriptions like "causative psych-verb with a causer/cause subject", we will sometimes distinguish the two types by referring to them as transitive and nom-acc psych-verbs, respectively, as in the (a)-examples in (457). Object experiencer verbs with a dative object, like behagen'to please' in (457b), do not differ syntactically from the nom-dat verbs discussed in Section 2.1.3. Recall that the notion "object of emotion" in (457b) is used as a cover term for subject matter and target of emotion.

Example 457
Types of object experiencer psych-verbs
a. PeterCauser ergert MarieExp.
  Peter  annoys  Marie
a'. Die opmerkingenCause ergeren MarieExp.
  those remarks  annoy  Marie
b. Zulk onbeleefd gedragObject of emotion behaagt henExp niet.
  such impolite behavior  pleases  them  not

Because the nom-dat psych-verbs in (457b) simply constitute a semantic subclass of the nom-dat verbs, we begin with a very brief discussion of these in Subsection I, subsection II provides a more lengthy discussion of the transitive and nom-acc psych-verbs. Since transitive/nom-acc psych-verbs have been claimed to have an underlying structure similar to that of the periphrastic causative psych-construction in (458a), Subsection III compares these constructions and argue that this claim is indeed well founded.

Example 458
a. JanCauser maakt Marie boos.
periphrastic causative psych-verb
  Jan  makes  Marie angry
b. Die opmerkingCause maakt Marie boos.
periphrastic causative psych-verb
  that remark  makes  Marie angry

Subsection IV concludes with a discussion of the inherently reflexive counterparts of causative psych-verbs like ergeren'to annoy'; an example is given in (459).

Example 459
JanExp ergert zich erg (aan zijn oude auto).
reflexive psych-verb
  Jan  annoys  refl  very   of his old car
'Jan is much ashamed (of his old car).'
[+]  I.  nom-dat psych-verbs

Objects of nom-dat verbs are normally assumed to be experiencers. It will therefore not come as a surprise that many of these verbs can be characterized as psych-verbs. Example (460) provides some examples that may be given this characterization.

Example 460
a. Nom-dat psych-verbs selecting zijn 'to be': bevallen'to please', meevallen'to turn out better than was expected', tegenvallen'to disappoint', ( goed/slecht) uitkomen'to suit well/badly'
b. Nom-dat psych-verbs selecting hebben 'to have': aanspreken'to appeal', aanstaan'to please', behagen'to please', berouwen'to regret', bevreemden'to surprise', spijten'to regret', tegenstaan'to pall on', voldoen'to satisfy', (niet) zinnen'to dislike'

The verbs in (460) differ from causative psychological verbs in that the subject of the construction is not a causer/cause. Instead, it seems more appropriate to characterize the subject as the object (target/subject matter) of emotion. This is compatible with the conclusion reached in Section 2.1.2 that the subject of a nom-dat verb is a DO-subject given that an object (subject matter/target) of emotion is normally an internal argument of the verb; cf. (421) in Section, sub ID.

Example 461
a. Dat pretparkObject of emotion bevalt JanExp.
  that amusement park  pleases  Jan
b. Deze laffe daadObject of emotion stond ElsExp erg tegen.
  this cowardly deed  palled  Els  much  on
  'That cowardly deed disgusted Els.'

Since the verbs in (460) constitute a subset of the verbs in (88), we refer the reader to Section 2.1.2 for a more detailed discussion of them. Note, however, that the subject of a nom-dat verb is characterized as a theme there, because the notion of object of emotion is not directly relevant in that discussion.

[+]  II.  Causative (transitive and nom-acc) psych-verbs

This subsection is devoted to psych-verbs with an accusative experiencer. The claim that the experiencer is assigned accusative case cannot be directly substantiated for Dutch given the lack of morphological case marking, but can be made plausible by comparing the relevant Dutch verbs to their German counterparts (which normally do take an accusatively marked experiencer object) and/or by investigating the syntactic behavior of these verbs (e.g., by considering the question as to whether the experiencer can be promoted to subject by passivization). The verbs under consideration are causative in the sense that their subjects generally refer to a causer or a cause of the event. The causer and cause can be expressed simultaneously, but in that case the cause must be expressed in the form of an adjunct-PP; cf. example (462c). Experiencer objects are normally obligatory; they can only marginally be omitted in generic examples like ?dat soort opmerkingen kwetst'that kind of remark hurts'.

Example 462
a. JanCauser kwetste MarieExp.
  Jan  hurt  Marie
b. Die opmerkingCause kwetste MarieExp.
  that remark  hurt  Marie
c. JanCauser kwetste Marie met/door die opmerkingCause.
  Jan  hurt  Marie with/by that remark

Example (463) provides a representative sample of causative object experiencer verbs. The verbs in (463a) can all be used in a way similar to kwetsen in (462), that is, with either a causer or a cause subject. The causative object experiencer verbs in (463b), on the other hand, tend to prefer a cause subject (although some may occasionally occur with a causer).

Example 463
a. Causative object experiencer verbs with a causer/cause subject: afstoten'to repel', alarmeren'to alarm', amuseren'to amuse', beledigen'to offend', bemoedigen'to encourage', boeien'to fascinate', ergeren'to annoy', fascineren'to fascinate', grieven'to hurt', hinderen'to bother', imponeren'to impress', interesseren'to interest', intrigeren'to intrigue', irriteren'to irritate', kalmeren'to calm', krenken'to hurt', kwetsen'to hurt', motiveren'to motivate', ontmoedigen'to discourage', ontroeren'to move', opfleuren'to cheer up', opmonteren'to cheer up', opvrolijken'to cheer up', opwinden'to excite', overrompelen'to take by surprise', overtuigen'to convince', overvallen'to take by surprise', prikkelen'to annoy', storen'to disturb', shockeren/ choqueren'to shock', verbazen'to amaze', verbijsteren'to bewilder', verblijden'to make happy', vermaken'to entertain', verrassen'to surprise', vertederen'to move', vervelen'to annoy'
b. Causative object experiencer verbs with (preferably) a cause subject: aangrijpen'to move', beangstigen'to frighten', bedaren'to calm down', bedroeven'to sadden', benauwen'to oppress', bevreemden'to surprise', deprimeren'to depress', frustreren'to frustrate', opkikkeren'to cheer up', raken'to affect', verbitteren'to embitter', verheugen'to rejoice', verontrusten'to alarm', verwonderen'to surprise'

The following subsections will extensively discuss the properties of these verbs. Special attention will be paid to the differences between the constructions in (462a&b) with a causer and a cause subject, respectively.

[+]  A.  The verb does not select an object of emotion

A remarkable fact about causative object experiencer verbs is that they do not occur with a subject matter of emotion. Whereas we have seen in (418), repeated here as the (a)-examples in (464), that constructions with the psych-adjective bang'afraid' may contain a causer, a cause and a subject matter of emotion, the (b)-examples in (464) show that a subject matter of emotion cannot be used with the almost synonymous causative verb beangstigen'to frighten'.

Example 464
a. PeterCauser maakt JanExp met zijn verhalenCause bang voor spokenSubjM.
  Peter  makes  Jan  with his stories afraid  of ghosts
a'. Peters verhalenCause maken JanExp bang voor spokenSubjM.
  Peterʼs stories  make  Jan afraid  of ghosts
b. PeterCauser beangstigt JanExp met zijn verhalenCause (*voor spokenSubjM).
  Peter frightens  Jan  with his stories     of ghosts
b'. Peters verhalenCause beangstigen JanExp (*voor spokenSubjM).
  Peterʼs stories  frighten  Jan     of ghosts

Perhaps we can even generalize this and claim that causative psych-verbs cannot occur with any object (subject matter/target) of emotion. If so, the verb interesseren'to interest' is an exception to the general rule, given that it seems to allow a voor-PP expressing the target of emotion.

Example 465
PeterCauser/het verhaalCause interesseerde JanExp voor dat onderwerpTarget.
  Peter/the story  interested  Jan  for that topic
'Peter/the story interested the boys in that topic.'

Note in this connection that Pesetsky (1995: 61/283) claims that causative psych-verbs with a particle are able to select an object of emotion in English, whereas in Dutch this seems to be completely excluded. This can be seen by comparing the Dutch examples in (466) to their English renderings in the primed examples, which Pesetsky gives as fully acceptable.

Example 466
a. Het nieuws vrolijkte Sue op (*over haar toestand).
  the news  cheered  Sue up     about her plight
a'. The news cheered Sue up about her plight.
b. De lezingen wonden Bill op (*over klassieke muziek).
  the lectures  turned  Bill on     about classical music
b'. The lectures turned Bill on to classical music.
[+]  B.  The verb is possibly a derived form

Subsections C to I below will show that the psych-verbs in (463) differ from regular transitive verbs in various respects. It has been suggested that these differences are due to the fact that causative object experiencer verbs are not simple forms but morphologically complex ones. Although this claim is not always easy to substantiate, the following subsections will show that there are reasons for assuming that it is indeed correct for a large number of these verbs.

[+]  1.  Verbs derived from an adjective

That the causative psych-verbs in (463) are morphologically complex is, of course, uncontroversial for the deadjectival verbs in (467). Note that the prefixes ver- and be- may also express causation when the base adjective does not refer to a mental state, as is clear from ver-edel-en'to ennoble' and be-vochtig-en'to moisten'.

Example 467
Deadjectival causative psych-verbs
a. prefixed with ver-: blij'happy'- verblijden'to make happy', bitter'bitter'- verbitteren'embitter', teder'tender/soft'- vertederen'to move/soften'
b. prefixed with be-: angst'fear'- beangstigen'to frighten', droef'sad'- bedroeven'to sadden', moed'courage'- bemoedigen'to encourage', nauw'narrow'- benauwen'to oppress', vreemd'strange'- bevreemden'to surprise'

The fact that many of the verbs in (463) are prefixed with ver-, be- and ont- might be better understood if we assume that these affixes are responsible for the causative meaning aspect in all these cases.

[+]  2.  The causative-inchoative alternation

There are verbs that can be used both as unaccusative and as transitive verbs. A prototypical verb that exhibits this alternation is breken'to break', which can be used both as an inchoative, unaccusative verb and as a causative, transitive verb. It has been claimed that the causer is introduced by a zero-morpheme that attaches to the (simple) unaccusative verb; see Section 3.2.3 for more discussion.

Example 468
Inchoative-causative alternation
a. Het glasTheme breekt.
  the glass  breaks
b. JanCauser breekt het glasTheme.
  Jan  breaks  the glass

Although Section, sub III, has shown that there are only a few unaccusative psych-verbs, the same alternation can be found with psych-verbs. The (a)- and (b)-examples of (469) show this for the verbs kalmeren/bedaren'to calm down' in (448a&b). The unaccusative verb schrikken'to get frightened' in (448c) does not participate in this alternation, but it is nevertheless possible to derive a causative form of it by making use of the prefix ver-, which results in the perhaps somewhat obsolete verb verschrikken'to frighten' (causative verschrikken is mainly known in its adjectival participial form verschrikt'frightened' and as part of the instrumental compound noun vogelverschrikker'scarecrow'). The somewhat formal example in (469c') is relevant, however, in that the prefix ver- is perhaps an overt counterpart of the postulated phonetically empty causative morpheme that derives the causative forms in the primed (a)- and (b)-examples in (469).

Example 469
a. Zijn boze vriendExp kalmeerde snel.
  his angry friend  calmed.down  quickly
a'. JanCauser kalmeerde zijn vriend snel.
  Jan  calmed.down  his friend  quickly
b. MarieExp bedaarde snel.
  Marie  calmed.down  quickly
b'. Zijn vriendelijke woordenCause bedaarden MarieExp snel.
  his kind words  calmed.down  Marie  quickly
c. JanExp schrok van de plotselinge verschijning van de geestCause.
  Jan  got.frightened  of the sudden appearance of the ghost
c'. $ De plotselinge verschijning van de geestCause verschrok Jan.
  the sudden appearance of the ghost  frightened Jan

Unaccusative psych-verbs with particles all have causative counterparts. Since the particle is claimed to function as a kind of predicate, the primed examples in (470) can probably be considered to be on a par with the causative non-psych-construction Jan breekt het glas in stukken'Jan breaks the glass to pieces'.

Example 470
a. JanExp montert helemaal op.
  Jan cheers  completely  up
a'. PeterCauser montert JanExp helemaal op.
  Peter  cheers  Jan  completely  up
b. PeterExp fleurt helemaal op.
  Peter  cheers  completely  up
b'. Maries opmerkingCause fleurt PeterExp helemaal op.
  Marieʼs remark cheers  Peter  completely  up
c. JanExp kikkert helemaal op.
  Jan  cheers  completely  up
c'. Die lekkere soepCause kikkert JanExp helemaal op.
  that tasty soup  cheers  Jan  completely  up

Note that it is not the case that all causative psych-verbs have an unaccusative counterpart; the other verbs in (463) do not or only with difficulty.

[+]  3.  Verbs ending in -eren

Many causative psych-verbs are Latinate, or at least Romance, forms ending in -eren. Although there are no attested words from which these verbs are derived, it seems plausible that they are derived from non-verbal stems by means of affixation with the causative morpheme -eren. Table (471) shows that these postulated non-verbal stems can also be used to derive nouns and adjectives; cf. De Haas & Trommelen (1993:348) and Booij (2002:127-8).

Example 471
Latinate forms in -eren
stem derived verb derived noun derived adjective
amus- amus-eren
to amuse
frustr- frustr-eren
to frustrate
intrig- intrig-eren
to make curious
irrit- irrit-eren
to irritate
stimul- stimul-eren
to stimulate

The idea that -eren is or can act as a causative morpheme is supported by the fact illustrated in (472) that it also derives causative object experiencer verb from nouns.

Example 472
Denominal causative psych-verbs ending in -eren: alarm'alarm'- alarmeren'to alarm', charme'charm' - charmeren'to charm', motief'motive'- motiveren'to motivate', shock'shock'- shockeren'to shock'
[+]  4.  Conclusion and caveat

The previous subsections have shown that for many causative psych-verbs there is reason for assuming that some causative affix is present, and that the verb is therefore complex, subsection III will show that, syntactically seen, causative psych-verbs resemble periphrastic causative constructions such as (473b), which might be considered as additional evidence for the assumption that the causative psych-verbs are morphologically complex.

Example 473
a. JanExp is bang.
  Jan  is afraid
b. De schaduwen op de muurCause maken Jan bang.
  the shadows on the wall  make  Jan afraid

It should be noted, however, that the presence of a (possibly phonetically empty) causative morpheme is not immediately plausible in all cases. The psych-verbs in (474a), for example, are probably denominal, but to our knowledge, there is no reason for assuming that the verbal ending -en is causative in nature. Moreover, the psych-verbs in (474b) do not seem to be derived at all as there does not seem to exist a base form that may be considered the input of the verb (in present-day Dutch, at least).

Example 474
a. prikkel'stimulus'- prikkelen'to stimulate', schok'shock' schokken'to shock'
b. ergeren'to annoy', krenken'to offend', kwetsen'to hurt'

Of course, we may adopt a similar assumption for the verbs in (474b) as for Latinate verbs like irriteren'to irritate', and claim that they are derived from stems that only occur as bound morphemes. The adjectives and nouns in (475) can then be seen as derived directly from this stem. On this assumption, the two sets of verbs in (474a&b) would form a single class of problem for the assumption that all causative psych-verbs are complex.

Example 475
a. erger-lijk'annoying', krenk-end'offensive', kwets-end'hurtful'
b. erger-nis'annoyance', krenk-ing'offence', kwets-uur'hurt'
[+]  C.  The semantic role of the subject

We have already noted that (in the majority of cases) the subject of an object experiencer verb can have the semantic role of causer or cause; cf. the discussion of (463). A question that should be raised is whether the role of causer can or should be distinguished from the thematic role of agent, since in many respects causers and agents behave in the same way. For example, agent-oriented adverbs like opzettelijk'deliberately' can readily be used with a causer subject; cf. the primeless examples in (476). In addition, the primed examples show that causative psych-verbs with a causer subject can readily be embedded under the volitional verb willen'want' or the causative verb laten'to make', which suggests that the causer is not only agent-like but also has control over the event.

Example 476
a. JanCauser irriteert MarieExp opzettelijk.
  Jan  irritates  Marie  deliberately
a'. JanCauser wil MarieExp irriteren.
  Jan  wants  Marie  irritate
a''. Peter laat JanCauser MarieExp irriteren.
  Peter makes  Jan  Marie  irritate
b. JanCauser kwetst zijn vriendExp opzettelijk.
  Jan  hurts  his friend  deliberately
b'. JanCauser wil zijn vriendExp kwetsen.
  Jan  wants  his friend  hurt
b''. Peter laat JanCauser zijn vriendExp kwetsen.
  Peter makes  Jan  his friend  hurt

The examples in (477) show that causative psych-verbs with a cause subject behave totally differently in this respect: they do not allow the agent-oriented adverb opzettelijk, and they cannot be embedded under volitional willen or the causative verb laten, which shows that the cause subject certainly cannot be considered agentive.

Example 477
a. * Jans jaloezieCause irriteert zijn vriendExp opzettelijk.
  Janʼs jealousy  irritates  his friend  deliberately
a'. * Jans jaloezieCause wil zijn vriendExp irriteren.
  Janʼs jealousy  wants  his friend  irritate
a''. * Peter laat Jans jaloezieCause zijn vriendExp irriteren.
  Peter makes  Janʼs jealousy  his friend  irritate
b. * Jans opmerkingCause kwetst zijn vriendExp opzettelijk.
  Janʼs remark  hurts  his friend  deliberately
b'. * Jans opmerkingCause wil zijn vriendExp kwetsen.
  Janʼs remark  wants  his friend  hurt
b''. * Peter laat Jans opmerkingCause zijn vriendExp kwetsen.
  Peter makes  Janʼs remark  his friend  hurt

      It is important to note that the unacceptability of the examples in (477) has nothing to do with the inanimateness of the subject. In order to see this it should be noted that examples with a +human subject, like Jan irriteert MarieExp'Jan irritates Marie', are actually ambiguous between two readings; on the first reading the subject functions as the causer, and the example expresses that the irritation on the part of Marie is caused by some action of Jan; on the second reading, the subject functions as the cause and under this reading the example expresses that it is simply Jan's presence that irritates Marie. In the primed examples of (476), it is only the causer subject reading that survives. This can be illustrated in a slightly different way by means of the examples in (478), in which the +human subject is preferably construed as a cause: the preferred reading of this example is that it is the whining of the children that irritates the father. As long as we stick to this interpretation, the constructions in (478b-d) are unacceptable: these examples are only (marginally) acceptable under the less prominent interpretation of (478a) that the cause of the irritation is something other than the whining.

Example 478
a. Kinderen die jengelenCause irriteren hun vaderExp.
  children that whine  irritate  their father
b. # Kinderen die jengelenCause irriteren hun vader opzettelijk.
  children that whine  irritate  their father  deliberately
c. # Kinderen die jengelenCause willen hun vader irriteren.
  children that whine  want  their father  irritate
d. # Jan laat kinderen die jengelenCause hun vaderExp irriteren.
  Jan makes  children that whine  their father  irritate

The examples in (478) therefore show that it is agentivity that is at stake: the cause subject of a causative psych-verb is not agentive. Another indication that cause subjects are non-agentive is that they may take the form of a clause, which is never possible with agentive subjects. The clause can be placed in sentence-initial or in sentence-final position; in the latter case, the subject position is normally occupied by the anticipatory subject pronoun het.

Example 479
a. [Dat de muziek zo hard staat]Cause, irriteert de jongensExp.
  that  the music  so loud  is  irritates  the boys
  'The fact that the music is so loud is irritating the boys.'
b. Het irriteert de jongensExp [dat de muziek zo hard staat]Cause.
  it  irritates  the boys  that  the music  so loud  is
  'It is irritating the boys that the music is so loud.'

Note in passing that the causative psych-verb bedaren'calm down' in (480) seems exceptional in not allowing a clausal subject; although we do not see any relation at this moment, it may be useful to note that bedaren is also special in that it can be used in the imperative and as a nominalized form in the complement of the preposition tot; see the discussion of the examples in (453).

Example 480
a. Dat de interviewer ook een vrouw was, kalmeerde/*bedaarde Marie snel.
  that the interviewer also a woman was  calmed.down  Marie rapidly
b. Het kalmeerde/*bedaarde Marie dat de interviewer ook een vrouw was.
  it  calmed.down  Marie  that the interviewer also a woman was

      For completeness' sake, we want to note that causative psych-verbs generally do not give rise to er-nominalization, irrespective of whether the referent of the er-noun is construed as a causer or a cause.

Example 481
a. * amuseerder
d. * frustreerder
b. * boeier
e. * irriteerder
c. * fascineerder
f. * kwetser
[+]  D.  Passive

It is often claimed that passivization of causative psych-verbs is unrestricted; cf. Everaert (1982), Den Besten (1985), and Pesetsky (1995:36). Examples like the primed ones in (482) are given as crucial evidence in favor of this claim and intend to show that causative psych-verbs can be passivized, regardless of whether the subject of the corresponding active construction is a causer or a cause.

Example 482
a. De narCauser amuseert de koningExp met zijn grappenCause.
  the jester  amuses  the king  with his jokes
a'. De koningExp wordt door de narCauser met zijn grappenCause geamuseerd.
  the king  is  by the jester  with his jokes  amused
b. Zijn grappenCause amuseren de koningExp.
  his jokes  amuse  the king
b'. De koningExp wordt geamuseerd door zijn grappenCause.
  the king  is  amused  by his jokes

Although the argument seems sound at first sight, it may nevertheless be flawed; it is based on the presupposition that the door-PPs in the primed examples are passive door-phrases, whereas we have seen that they can also have the function of expressing the cause; cf. Section, sub ID. The examples in (450a-c), repeated here as (483), have shown that the cause must then be inanimate.

Example 483
a. MarieExp bedaarde door zijn rustige optredenCause/*JanCause.
  Marie  calmed.down  by his quiet way.of.acting /Jan
b. Zijn boze vriendExp kalmeert door zijn vriendelijke woordenCause/*JanCause.
  his angry friend  calmed.down by his friendly words/Jan
c. PeterExp schrok door het plotselinge lawaaiCause/*JanCause.
  Peter  got.frightened  by that sudden noise/Jan

Given this inanimacy restriction on causative door-PPs, we can safely conclude that (482a') is a genuine example of the passive construction, and this need not surprise us given that causative constructions with a causer subject, like Jan brak het glas'Jan broke the glass', can generally be passivized: Het glas werd door Jan gebroken'The glass was broken by Jan'. The situation is different, however, in the case of (482b'). One reason for doubting that this example is the passive counterpart of the active construction in (482b) is that active constructions with an inanimate subject normally do not passivize: if (482b') is really the passive counterpart of (482b), this would be pretty exceptional. This leaves us with two alternatives: the first option is to assume that (482b') is a passive construction, but one that is derived from an active sentence with a causer subject; the second option is to assume that we are not dealing with a passive construction, but with a copular construction in which the past/passive participle is actually an adjective, the so-called adjectival passive. We will discuss these two options in the following subsections.

[+]  1.  The first option

The first option, according to which we are dealing with a passive construction derived from an active sentence with a causer subject, implies that the passive door-phrase corresponding to the causer is suppressed; this would lead to the wrong prediction that example (484a) should be acceptable. Another prediction is that the participle is verbal, and must hence be able to appear after the finite verb in clause-final position (which is impossible with predicative adjectives); judgments on example (484b) seem to vary from speaker to speaker, but we tend to think that this prediction is indeed correct. If example (484b) is indeed grammatical, we end up with an ambiguous result. One way of solving this is by saying that apparently, the unacceptability of (484a) is due to the fact that there is a problem with having two door-phrases in a single clause.

Example 484
a. *? De koningExp wordt door de narCauser geamuseerd door zijn grappenCause.
  the king  is  by the jester  amused  by his jokes
b. % dat de koning door zijn grappen wordt geamuseerd.
  that  the king  by his jokes  is  amused

Another prediction that would follow from the first option is that passivization of a causative psych-verb is possible only if the verb is able to take a causer subject. Since the verbs in (463b) cannot readily take a causer subject, these verbs can be used to test this prediction. And, indeed, it seems that at least some of these verbs categorically resist passivization; the unacceptability of the examples in (485) therefore supports the suggestion that (482b') is derived from an active construction with a causer subject. Observe that we placed the participle after the finite verb in the primed examples in (485) in order to exclude the adjectival passive reading.

Example 485
a. dat zijn dood/??Jan mij bedroeft.
  that  his death/Jan  me  saddens
a'. * dat ik word bedroefd door zijn dood.
  that  am  saddened  by his death
b. dat zijn gedrag/??Jan mij bevreemdt.
  that  his behavior/Jan  me  surprises
b'. * dat ik word bevreemd door zijn gedrag.
  that  am  surprised  by his behavior
[+]  2.  The second option

The fact that the first option is (at least partly) supported by the facts in (484) and (485) does not exclude the possibility that (482b') could also be an adjectival passive, that is, a construction in which the past/passive participle is used as a predicative adjective. Such an analysis is certainly viable, given that the verb worden is not only used as a passive auxiliary, but also as a copular verb. That it may be the correct analysis in many cases is also supported by the fact that many participles of causative psych-verbs can enter copular constructions headed by the verb raken'to get', which is never used as a passive auxiliary.

Example 486
a. Jan raakt/?wordt geïrriteerd door zijn gezeur.
  Jan  gets/is  irritated  by his nagging
b. Jan raakt/wordt geboeid door het schouwspel.
  Jan  gets/is fascinated  by the spectacle
c. Jan raakt/wordt gedeprimeerd door dit donkere weer.
  Jan  gets/is depressed  by this dark weather
d. Jan raakt/?wordt verbitterd door zijn ontslag.
  Jan  gets/is  embittered  by his discharge

That we are not dealing with passive constructions in (486) but with adjectives is also supported by the fact that the participles can readily be coordinated with true adjectives as, for example, in Jan raakt/wordt [gedeprimeerd en angstig] door dit donkere weer'Jan is getting depressed and frightened by this dark weather'. Note, finally, that examples (486c&d) involve causative psych-verbs that (preferably) take a cause subject, so that for this reason also these examples cannot be analyzed as passive constructions; see the discussion of (485).

[+]  3.  Conclusion

The discussion in the previous subsections suggests that passivization of causative psych-verbs is only possible if the subject is a causer, not if it is a cause. Observe that the issue at stake is not whether or not the subject is animate. In (487a), the subject is animate, but what is actually expressed is that it is the whining of the children that irritates the speaker, which suggests that we are dealing with a cause. As long as we stick to this interpretation, the passive construction in (487b) is excluded (it is marginally acceptable if the cause of the irritation is something other than the whining). The adjectival construction in (487c) is fully acceptable.

Example 487
a. dat kinderen die jengelenCause mijExp irriteren.
  that  children that whine  me  irritate
b. # dat ik word geïrriteerd door kinderen die jengelenCause.
  that  am  irritated  by children that whine
c. dat ik geïrriteerd raak door kinderen die jengelenCause.
  that  irritated  get  by children that whine
[+]  E.  Attributive and predicative use of present participles

This subsection discusses the attributive and predicative use of present participles derived from causative psych-verbs. It will be shown that causers and causes systematically differ in that attributive modification of nouns that correspond to causers require the present participles to be verbal in nature, whereas causes can be modified both by verbal and by adjectival present participles; see Section A9.2.1 for the distinction between verbal and adjectival present participles. We will also see that predicatively used present participles, which are always adjectival in nature, can only be predicated of noun phrases that correspond to causes. This is of course in line with the first finding.

[+]  1.  Attributive use

Generally speaking, present participles of verbs can be used attributively to modify nouns that correspond to the subject of the verb. The examples in (488) show that the verb can be intransitive, (di-)transitive, or monadic/dyadic unaccusative.

Example 488
a. de lachende jongen
  the  laughing  boy
b. de het meisje kussende jongen