Kind of a weird question, but please bear with me. I want to know whether Korean and English behave similarly with respect to how causative verbs are formed. In English there are two types of intransitive verbs. The ones like enter (1a) have two causative/transitive forms: one is bi-clausal, make enter (1c) and the other is identical to the intransitive form (1c) (and I mean exactly identical, i.e. without any causative suffixes like -ize, -ify, -ate, etc.).

(1a) The key entered into the lock ✓

(1c) The man made the key enter into the lock ✓

(1c) The man entered the key into the lock ✓

The second kind of intransitive verbs, like live (2a), have bi-clausal causatives (2b), but they do not have mono-clausal causative forms that are identical to the intransitives (2c). Note that (2c) is a perfectly sensible thing to say, but in English we must use (2b) to express this.

(2a) The poor lived in the suburbs ✓

(2b) The mayor made the poor live in the suburbs ✓

(2c) The mayor lived the poor in the suburbs ✘

Do any of the Korean equivalents of the following verbs behave like English enter rather than live? That is, do they have transitive forms which are identical to the intransitives?

appear, arise, emerge, erupt, evolve, flow, happen, live, materialize, occur, remain, result, surge, turn out

Response to user13229973:

I took a look at some Korean data and I found some examples which are somewhat relevant to my question. They have to do with verbs with alternate between two case patterns like load, as you can see in (3a) and (3b).

(3a) Mino loaded the truck with the hay

(3b) Mino loaded the hay in the truck

Korean seems to have more verbs of this kind than English, like e.g. fill and cover. We can translate chaywu in (4a) with the English verb fill (cf. Mino filled the cup with coffee) but we cannot do so in (4b) (Mino filled coffee in the cup is ungrammatical); we would have to use pour instead (Mino poured coffee in the cup). Something similar happens in (5): we can use cover for tephess in (5a) but not in (5b), which would require something like The policeman spread a sheet on the corpse.

(4a) Mino-ka can-ul kephi-lo chaywu-ess-ta

(4b) Mino-ka can-ey kephi-lul chaywu-ess-ta

(5a) Kyengchal-i sichey-lul chen-ulo tephess-ta

(5b) Kyengchal-i sichey-ey chen-ul tephess-ta

Now, what English does have is the intransitive versions of (4b) and (5b) below, which are perfectly OK with fill and cover (note that they are in fact intransitive, as they do not passivize, cf. The cup was filled by the coffee is ungrammatical). Does Korean have these two intransitives too? Do they use the same form of the verb, i.e. chaywu and tephess, or do they require suffixes?

(4b´) The coffee filled the cup

(5b´) The sheet covered the corpse

Are there lots of other verbs that behave like these too? I am very intrigued.

1 Answer 1


Sure. Here are good examples.

보이다, 쓸리다, 갈리다, 물리다, 쓰이다, 들리다, 홀리다, 내리다, 불리다 etc.

These words work as both trasitive verb and intrasitive verb. 보이다, 쓸리다, 갈리다, 물리다 are both causative form and passive form of 보다, 쓸다, 갈다, 물다, 쓰다, 듣다, respectively.

But 홀리다 and 내리다 are not causative form or passive form of something, but they still can be used as both causative verb and passive form at the same basic meaning.

Furthermore, 불리다 is causative form of 붇다 and passive form of 부르다, and 말리다 is causative form of 마르다 and passive form of 말다, so 불리다 and 말리다 can be used as both casuative form and passive form, but the basic root meaning is different. 붇다 and 부르다, 마르다 and 말다 don't have any meaningful relation. So, in applying causative or passive form, the forms of different two words become same just by chance. These cases are very special.

These are very interesting but confusing examples of Korean grammar, so they are often used for the materials of Korean SAT.

Check out this link: http://www.veritas-a.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=156667

In the problem of the link, only the example and number 5 is important. And the answer is also 5. The example shows that 쓰이다 is a causative form and a passive form of 쓸다 at the same time. Number 5 shows that 쓸리다 is a causative form and a passive form of 쓸다 at the same time.

Korean SAT trial exam

This problem says that 부르다 is a causative form of 붇다 and a passive form of 부르다 at the same time, but the meaning of 붇다 and 부르다 are different each other. The answer is 3.

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