Iconicity of cohesion in Persian causative constructions

Mohammad Ali Salmani Nodoushan, Gholamreza Mohiyedin Ghomshei

Abstract


This paper tries to show that Persian causative constructions are not only iconic in nature but also employ iconicity of cohesion in their syntactic structures productively. It starts with a description of iconicity and specifically focuses on the notion of conceptual distance as discussed by Haiman (1983). It then briefly reviews the formal typology of causative constructions (i. e., lexical, morphological, and periphrastic) and summarizes the ideas proposed by Comrie (1989), Dixon (2000), Shibatani (1976), and Talmy (2003) to come up with a list of, and a table for, the semantic properties of causative constructions (i. e., directness, coercion, control, manipulation, separability, and clause structure). The paper then presents tangible evidence and examples from Persian to claim that the linguistic distance observed between [Vcause] and [Veffect] in different types of Persian causative constructions mirrors the conceptual distance between them, and concludes that the iconic nature of causative constructions in Persian can be explained on the basis of the principle of iconicity of cohesion. It lends support to the universality of the principles of functional-cognitive linguistics and shows that iconicity theory still has a high potential for explaining form-meaning relations in different syntactic structures.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13092/lo.68.1637