The morphological function of causation in Austronesian languages is deceptively complex. From both a semantic as well as a syntactic point of view, pa affixation affects verbal roots differently from nonverbal roots. Moreover, the semantic, syntactic, and morphological restrictions evident in the formation of causative verbs employed in languages of the region seem arbitrary at first examination—indeed, linguists have historically deferred to pragmatics to sort out the distinctions of meaning for various constructions. However, a novel application of the early twentieth-century philosophy of C. S. Peirce (1839–1914) can be shown to successfully account for these variations. This paper outlines the basics of this Peircian grammar, and uses it as the basis for a discussion of the various functions of the morphological causative pa- in the central Philippine language of Hiligaynon. While brief, this treatment could easily extend to other derivational processes in the language, as well as other languages in the larger Austronesian family.


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pp. 337-345
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