LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 45, No. 1 - Spring 1999
Editor of this issue: Violeta Kelertas
Copyright © 1999 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
EXPRESSING CAUSE BY MEANS OF PREPOSITIONS IN MODERN LITHUANIAN
0.1. In many prepositional languages causal relations are rendered by means of prepositions (together with the cases). However, the selection of particular prepositions and their positioning on the scale of causal meanings varies. The variety reflects the specific features in the syntactic systems of different languages and is important from the typological viewpoint.
The purpose of the article is to distinguish the types of the prepositional causal meanings and their characteristics in Lithuanian.
0.2. The article is based on numerous empirical data collected from a variety of sources of Modern Lithuanian (written sources of various styles, folklore, dialects1), studied in the previous publications by the author (Valiulytė 1998, 1986, 1977); the data collected by other scholars have also been used (Fraenkel 1929, Jablonskis 1957, Šukys 1984 etc.).
The illustrative samples as given in this article have been shortened, and their source information has been deleted (for the samples with the full source information see Valiulytė 1986, 1998).
1. A System of Causal Meanings
In the Lithuanian language the prepositions specify the following causal meanings: inner cause (prep, is), outer cause (prep, nuo), cause as a pretext (post, dėka, prep, per), cause as a motive (prep, už Acc) and general cause (prep. dėl). The latter meaning is in opposition to the other aforementioned meanings (they all might be referred to as the concrete causal meanings).
1.1. The Meaning of Inner Cause (iš+Gen)
The inner cause may be defined as the cause expressing the inner features (emotions, feelings etc.) of the effect subject (human or other living beings), e.g.:
Vaikas (S) šokinėjo (Ps) iš džiaugsmo (Pr) The child (S) was jumping (Ps) with joy (Pr)' (The same subject for both - cause and effect: vaikas šokinėjo 'the child was jumping' and vaikas džiaugėsi 'the child was joyful'.)
The inner cause is expressed by the prep iš with the noun denoting the following:
1) Emotional and intellectual states (mainly nomina actionis); they often form antonym pairs, such as: džiaugsmas 'joy' - liūdesys 'sorrow', meilė 'love' - neapykanta 'hatred', pagarba 'respect' - panieka 'contempt'; laimė 'happiness', užuojauta 'sympathy', gailestis 'pity'; baimė 'fear', išgąstis 'fright', pyktis 'anger', pavydas 'envy', sielvartas 'sorrow', neviltis 'hopelessness', gėda 'shame', e.g.:
Švyti iš laimės '(He is) glowing with happiness',
stabtelėjo iš nustebimo '(He) stopped to wonder',
dejuoja iš nevilties '(He was) sobbing out of despair'.
2) Character traits (nomina qualitatis): kuklumas 'modesty', draugiškumas 'friendliness', mandagumas 'politeness', išdidumas 'pride', gerumas 'kindness', godumas 'greediness', žiaurumas 'cruelty', e.g.:
Atsisakė paramos iš kuklumo '(He) refused help out of modesty',
nepadeda niekam iš godumo '(He) never helps anybody out of greedinessi'
3) Physiological states (usually sensations): alkis 'hunger', badas 'famine', troškulys 'thirst', sotumas 'satiety', skanumas 'tastefulness'; skausmas 'pain', nuovargis 'tiredness', e.g.:
Apalpo iš (nuo) skausmo '(He) fainted from pain';
serga iš (nuo) bado '(He) is ill because of hunger';
net apsilaižė iš skanumo '(He) licked his lips out of tastefulness', i.e. because the food was delicious.
Causal phrases iš+Gen are used with verbs denoting living creatures' actions, states or changes of states (processes):
Pastatė jai rūmus iš meilės '(He) built her a palace for love';
dreba iš baimės '(He) is trembling with fear';
pražilo iš sielvarto '(His) hair has turned gray out of grief, i.e. because he was grieving).
1.2. The Meaning of Outer Cause (nuo+Gen)
The outer cause may be defined as the cause referring to the phenomena outside the effect subject (1) or to the outer features of the cause subject, which coincides with the effect subject (2), cf.:
Langai (S) išbyrėjo (Ps) nuo trenksmo (Pr) 'The windows broke into small pieces because of a bang' (There were windows (S) that broke, but there was something/someone (SI) else that/who banged).
(2) Vaikas (S) pavargo (Ps) nuo lakstymo (Pr) 'The child got tired because of running about' (i.e. because he was running about for a long time) (The child (S) got tired, and the child (S) was running about.)
In the first case the subject of the cause and the subject of the effect differ (do not coincide); in the second case they coincide. In the latter case the cause is close to the inner cause denoted by the preposition iš (see 1.1). However, the prepositional causal phrases under study differ in the noun selection.
Phrases denoting causal relations between the features of two different subjects (a) and between different features of the same subject (b) can be coined by using nouns of the same semantic classes, however, they often differ in their concrete meanings:
1) Nouns denoting actions, states, features (mainly nomina actionis, sometimes nomina qualitatis), e.g.:
(a) Žmogus susvyravo nuo smūgio. The man staggered from /after a blow'
Miškas skamba nuo dainų. The forest is echoing with songs'
Susigraudino nuo tokio žmonių gerumo. '(He) was moved by such kindness of the people'
(b) Tėvai pražilo nuo rūpesčių. The parents turned grey from the troubles' (i.e. because they had many troubles)
Laikraštis pageltas nuo senumo. The newspaper has yellowed with age'
2) Nouns denoting natural phenomena (vėjas, šaltis, šiluma, lietus, drėgmė, rasa 'wind, cold, warmth, rain, humidity, dew'), e.g.:
Medžiai linksta nuo vėjo. The trees are bending under the wind'
Žolė nurudavo nuo sausros. The grass has turned brown with drought'.
Prepositional phrases are also made with concrete nouns. However, structurally they are incomplete, elliptical, e.g.:
Akys pavargo nuo knygų. The eyes got tired from books'
Medžiai lūžta nuo sniego. The trees are falling under (the burden of) snow'
Causal phrases nuo + Gen are mainly used with the verbs denoting physical states of animate and inanimate creatures or their changes (1) as well as involuntary2 actions of animate creatures (2), e.g.:
(1) Ledas blizga nuo saulės. The ice is glistening in the sun'
Arklys pavargo nuo arimo. The horse got tired from ploughing'
(2) Žmogus krūptelėjo nuo trenksmo. The man flinched (with fright) at the bang'
1.3. Cause as a pretext (Gen+dėka, per+Acc)
A pretext may be defined as a beneficial cause expressed by the postposition dėka and a detrimental cause expressed by the preposition per.
In the phrases Gen+dėka the noun denotes positive features of a human being (1), whereas in the phrase per+Acc the noun refers to his/her negative features (2). Here belong most nomina qualitatis and nomina actionis; e.g.:
(1) Jis daug pasiekė gabumų dėka. 'He was a success due to his abilities'
Blogis nugalimas ryžto dėka. The evil is defeated by one's determination'
(2) Nusigyveno per nerūpestingumą. '(He) was ruined due to his negligence'
Suklydo per skubėjimą. '(He) made a mistake in a hurry'(i.e. because he was in a hurry)
Prepositional phrases with concrete nouns are elliptical, e.g.:
Ligonis pasveiko gydytojo (rūpesčio) dėka. 'The patient recovered thanks to the (care of the) doctor'
Užsitraukė nelaimę per degtinę. '(He) incurred trouble upon himself because of the whisky' (i.e. because he liked whisky too much).
The phrases Gen+dėka are related to the beneficial verbs, and the phrases per+Acc - to the detrimental verbs (see examples above).
1.4 Cause as a motive (už+Acc)
The motive of any action is referred to by the phrase už+Acc, which is usually used with the verbs of evaluative meaning (in its broadest sense). There are two groups to be distinguished:
1) Evaluative emotional verbs of speaking and state. They often enter antonym pairs: girti 'praise' - peikti 'blame', aukštinti 'extol' - žeminti 'humiliate', mylėti 'love', mėgti like' - neapkęsti 'hate', e.g.:
gyrė mergaitę už sumanumą '(He) praised the girl for her ingenuity',
kaltina valdžią, už skurdą '(They) blame the authorities for the poverty'.
2) Verbs concerned with punishing: bausti 'punish', keršyti 'revenge', teisti 'sentence', sodinti į kalėjimą 'imprison', e.g.:
Nubaudė už nusikaltimą. '(He) was punished for a crime'.
Pastatė mokinį į kampą už nedrausmingumą. 'The pupil was punished for the lack of discipline'.
l .5 General Cause (dėl+Gen)
The meaning of the general cause is expressed by the specific preposition dėl, e.g.: Žvaigždės dėl didelių atstumų atrodo mažos 'The stars look small due to long distances'.
The prep, dėl has specific combinability features, which make it different from other causal prepositions, for example:
1) The prep, dėl is the only causal preposition in Lithuanian which easily combines with the noun priežastis 'cause, reason', always modified by other words, e.g.:
Dėl šios priežasties 'For this reason'.
Dėl kelių priežasčių 'For several reasons'.
2) The prep, dėl is combined with the genitive case of the demonstrative pronoun tas (that) and thus makes up the phrase dėl to 'therefore, because', which is used in a composite sentence (as a connective (a) or relative (b) word), e.g.:
(a) Paryčiu kiek pašalo, dėl to po kojomis traškėjo ledas. ''The morning was a bit frosty, and (^therefore) the ice was crackling under the feet'.
(b) Mokinys nusiminė dėl to, kad jam labai nepasisekė. 'The pupil got upset because he was a failure'.
3) The prep, dėl combines with abstract nouns such as aplinkybė 'condition', padėtis 'situation', bruožas 'feature', ypatybė 'peculiarity', charakteris 'character', forma 'form', turinys 'content', trūkumas 'shortage', perteklius 'surplus' etc. In addition, such nouns are modified by other words, e.g.:
Negalėjo mokytis dėl blogų sąlygų '(He) could not study due to poor conditions'.
Suvenyrų gamyba vėluoja dėl medžiagų stokos. 'The production of souvenirs is late due to the shortage of the materials'.
4) The prep, dėl also combines with other concrete and abstract nouns, e.g.:
Ši vieta išgarsėjo dėl gydomųjų šaltinių. 'The place is famous for its curative springs'.
Paukštelis pateko į spąstus dėl patiklumo. "The bird got trapped due to its credulity".
The usage of the phrase dėl+Gen in relation to the main verb has not yet been defined.
Note. The prep, dėl, as an unmarked member of the semantic position, can substitute for the marked members, e.g. post, dėka and prep, per can substitute each other in any position; however, it can substitute other prepositions (iš, nuo, už) only in some contexts. For this issue see Valiulytė 1998: 337-406.
2. The Relationship between Causal and Locative Meanings
2.1. The meanings of inner and outer cause, marked respectively by the prepositions iš and nuo, are derived from locative meanings and are isomorphic to the latter.
The prepositions z's and nuo in their locative meanings refer to the initial point of the action (Fr le point de depart) or to situating the localised object at a distance from the other object (landmark). However, the prepositions differ in their orientation meanings (for the term orientation meaning see Kibrik 1970): they refer to the initial position of the localized object in respect of the landmark. This accounts for the differences in causal meanings. Cf. phrases with the meanings of location and cause:
iš: (a) Briedis (A) išbėgo (B) iš miško (C) The elk (A) ran out (B) of the forest (C)' [(A - inside B) - initial point of C]
(b) Vaikas (A) šokinėja (C) iš džiaugsmo (B) The child (A) is jumping (C) with joy (B)'
[(B is inner feature of A) - cause of C]
nuo: (1) (a) Šakutė (A) nukrito (C) nuo stalo (B) The fork (A) fell (C) from the table(B)' [(A - on the surface of B) - initial point of C]
(b) Vaikas (A) pavargo (C) nuo lakstymo (B) The child (A) got tired (C) because of running about (B)' (i.e. because he was running about for a long time).
[(B is outer feature of A) - cause of C]
(2) (a) Žmogus (A) ateina (C) nuo upės (B) There is a man (A) coming (C) from the river (B)' [(A - near B) - initial point of C]
(b) Langai (A) išbyrėjo (C) nuo trenksmo (B) The windows (A) broke (C) because of a bang (B)' [(B - action not of A) - cause of C]
In its locative meaning, the preposition iš refers to the initial point of the movement from the interior of the object; in its causal meaning, however, it points out the inner cause, expressed by the inner features (one's emotional or intellectual states) of the subject (experiencer of the effect).
The preposition nuo has two locative meanings: in the first case, it points out the initial point of its movement from the surface of the object (from its contact position) (la), in the second case - from the proximity of the object (non-contact position) (2a). The differences in the causal meaning of the preposition are accounted for by the aforementioned peculiarities of the locative meaning. The prep, nuo refers to two types of causes. The cause, expressing the phenomena which are outside of the subject (2b), can be related to the locative meaning, which refers to the movement from the non-contact position (from the proximity of the object (2a)); whereas cases when causal relationships between the actions of the same subject (Ib) are expressed, could be contrasted with the locative meaning referring to the contact position of objects (la).
In addition, the latter causal meaning of the preposition nuo is similar to the causal meaning of the preposition iš in that the subject of the cause and the subject of the effect coincide. However, the usage of the prepositions to denote cause differ in the selection of the semantic classes of nouns.
2.2. The causal meaning of the preposition per has also a derivational character. In some cases it is related to the locative meaning denoting spatial transposition (movement path) (1), in other cases it is concerned with the mediator (2), cf.:
(a) Negali išvažiuoti per vartus (path). 'You cannot drive through the gate'
(b) Negali išeiti per šunis (cause). 'You cannot leave because of the dogs'
(a) Pranešė per pasiuntinį (mediator). '(He) informed (us) via the messenger'
(b) Nepranešė per aplaidumą (cause). '(He) did not inform (us) through (sheer) negligence'
The preposition per refers to the cause as a pretext; the prepositions iš and nuo refer to the cause as a source.
2.3. The preposition už in its causal meaning, as distinct from a respective preposition in its locative meaning, differs in the case government: the prep. uz+Acc refers to the motive (cause) (e.g. myli už gerumą '(he) loves (me) for (my) kindness'); whereas the prep. už+Gen refers to the location (e.g. gyvena už upės '(he) lives on the other side of the river').
2.4. The meaning of the postposition dėka is accounted for by the meaning of the corresponding noun meaning 'thanks, thankfulness'.
2.5. The preposition dėl can only refer to the cause. For its origin see Fraenkel 1962:86-87.
3. Relations with other languages
3.0. As in Lithuanian, in many prepositional languages, including Latvian (a Baltic language), Russian and Polish (Slavonic languages), German (a Germanic language), Latin (an Italic language), French (a Romance language), causal meanings are differentiated in a similar way: formally, a distinction is made between concrete and general causal meanings. The relation of meanings to the selection of prepositions in different languages is clearly varied. However, from the viewpoint of the relation of causal meanings to the locative meanings, most of the aforementioned languages are similar.3
3.1. The expression of the meanings of inner and outer cause, as reflected in the Lithuanian prepositions is and nuo (see 1.1, 1.2), in other languages vary.
3.1.1. In Latvian, genetically closest to Lithuanian, the formal expression of the inner and outer causes is the same -both meanings are expressed by the prep, no, e.g.: dziedāt no prieka 'to sing with joy', atmosties no trokšna. 'to wake up because of the noise'. The locative meaning of the preposition is not formally discriminated either, e.g. it refers to the initial point of movement from the inside of the object (iznākt no istabas 'to leave the room', cf. Lat ex), from its surface and its proximity area (nokrist no jumta 'fall off the roof; cf. Lat de and ab).
In addition, the causal meanings described above are expressed by the prep, aiz (cf.: sustinga aiz dusmām '(He) went numb with anger', galva noreiba aiz smaržas 'I feel giddy with your perfume'). In its locative meaning the preposition denotes the other side of the object (paslëpties aiz krūmiem 'to hide behind the bush').
In Latin the aforementioned causal meanings are rendered by means of the prepositions ex, ab, de; cf.: ex gaudio 'with joy' - ex vino vaccilare 'to stagger from wine'; ab irā, 'out of anger' - laborare a(<ab) frigore 'to tremble with cold'; fatigati de vigiliis 'tired from (his) duties'.
However, the same causal meanings in Latin are rendered by the prepositions with other meanings, e.g.: prae (prae laetitio 'with joy' - prae lacrimis 'because of the tears' [i.e. because I was crying]); propter (propter metum 'for fear' - propter frigora 'with cold'); ob (ob metum 'out of fear'); per (per tram 'out of anger').
Cf. Fr de (dejoie 'with joy'), par (par crainte 'for fear').
3.1.2. On the other hand, inner and outer cause meanings are found in Slavonic languages, e.g.: Rus iz, s -ot: iz skromnosti 'out of modesty', s zavisti 'out of envy' -sgorbilsja ot sidenija 'He hunched due to (his long) sitting'; Pol z - od: z przestrachu 'for fear' gtowa boli od halasu 'I have a headache because of the noise'. There are also German prepositions aus, vor - von: aus/vor Liebe 'out of/for love' -vom Gehen 'due to fast walking'.
The meanings of the aforementioned prepositions have been derived from their locative meanings referring to the initial point of their movement. Only the German prep, vor in its locative meaning denotes the position of something 'opposite something' (in Lithuanian the locative prepositions are never transferred to refer to causal relations).
3.2. The detrimental cause, as reflected in the Lithuanian preposition per (see 1.3), in other languages is denoted by the prepositions with the meanings of two different types.
In some languages (including Lithuanian) the cause is expressed by the prepositions which in their locative meaning denote the path of the movement (crossing the space), e.g.: Latv par (cf. tu par mani grūti cieti 'you are suffering because of me' - pareit pār ielu 'to cross the street'); Pol przez (cf. przez nieostrožšc 'through carelessness' - przejšc przez las 'to go through the forest'), also Gr durch (cf.: durch angestrengte Arbeit ist er krank geworden 'because of hard work, he fell ill'), ūber (cf.: Sie versäumten das Diner über dem lebhalten Gespräch 'they missed the dinner because of a pleasant conversation', i.e. because they were having a pleasant conversation), Lat per (mulieres per aetatem ad pugnam inutiles viderentur 'the women were not suitable for wars due to their age'), Fr par.
In Russian the causal meaning of the preposition čerez, which has the same locative meaning as the aforementioned prepositions, is archaic, e.g. Mnogo slez ja čerez etu babu prolil (SRJ:866) 'I cried so many tears because of that woman'. In Modern Russian the causal meaning is expressed by the prep, za, iz-za (which is more common); in their causal meaning they have the component of 'on the other side of, cf.: za temnotoj nevidno 'One cannot see because of the darkness' -skrylsja za roščej 'He hid himself behind/beyond the wood', opozdal iz-za gostej 'He was late because of the guests" - vylez iz-za ugla 'He turned up (from) round the corner'.
Also cf. Latv aiz: aiz darbiem atpūtas neredzët 'There is no rest because of (so much) work', i.e. there is no time to have a rest because there is so much work to be done.
3.3. The beneficial cause expressed in Modern Lithuanian by the postposition dėka (see 1.3) is formally distinguished from the detrimental cause in some other languages, too, e.g.: Rus blagodarja (Blagodarja guvernantke boltala ona po-francuzski 'Thanks to the governess, she could speak French'), Pol dzięki (Dzięki pomocy Posejdona znalazla się na wyspie 'Thanks to Poseidon's help, he found himself on the island'), Gr dank (Dank seinem Fleiss bestand er die Prųfung erfolgreich 'Thanks to his diligence, he successfully passed the examination').
Also cf. Lat gratiä, Fr grâce à.
3.4. The cause as a motive in Lithuanian is expressed by the prep, už (see 1.4). In other languages it is rendered in different ways.
In Slavonic languages, similarly to Lithuanian, the meaning is expressed by the synonymous preposition za (Rus nakazyvat' za grabež 'to punish for the robbery', Pol chwalic za pracowitošc 'to praise for the diligence'); Latvian has two ways to express it - either by the preposition aiz, which is similar to the Lithuanian už (nicinät aiz cilmi 'to despise sb. for his/her low descent'), or by a preposition with a completely different meaning, e.g. Latv par (sodit par pārkāpumem 'to punish sb. for the offence', Gr für (it often has an abstract meaning - löben für Fleiss 'to praise sb. for his/her zeal', strafen für den Diebstaht 'to punish sb. for the theft').
In Latin and French the motive is expressed by the prepositions, which differ semantically from the above described, e.g.: Lat pro (pro mentis 'for the merits', pro scelere 'for the crime'), whose locative meaning is 'opposite to'; Fr pour (condamner pour fraude 'to sentence sb. for fraud'); also in the two languages Lat and Fr the prep, de (de cenā, facio gratiam to thank sb. for lunch' and punir d'un crime 'to punish sb. for a crime'), also cf. Lat propter, ob.
3.5 The general causal meaning, in Lithuanian expressed by the specialized preposition dėl (see 1.5), has also a specific expression in other languages: Latv dėl (dažādu apstākĮu dėl 'for various circumstances'), Rus po pričine4 (on po pričine syroj pogody byl ne v duche 'because of damp weather, he was in a bad mood'), Pol z powodu (roziąl go za Iwa z powodu skóry, jaką nosit na plecach '(they) took him for a lion because of the fur on his shoulders'), Gr wegen, infolge, zufolge, halber; Lat causa5, Fr à cause de. These are all new prepositions.
4.1. As in many prepositional languages, in Lithuanian causal relations are expressed by two semantic types of prepositions. Some prepositions are specialized and refer exclusively to the cause (dėl, dėka), the others have their causal meaning derived from their locative meaning (iš, nuo, per).
The latter prepositions have a concrete causal meaning (it often refers to the empirical cause). The Lithuanian language has many similarities with the other languages in semantic relations between the concrete causal meaning of prepositions and their locative meanings.
4.2. The meanings of inner and outer causes are expressed by the prepositions which have their locative meanings referring to the initial point of movement, e.g.: Lith iš, nuo; Latv no; Rus iz, s, ot; Pol z, od; Gr aus, von; Lat ex, ab, de; Fr de.
However, in Lithuanian, unlike other languages, the cause is never expressed by the prepositions of spatial proximity (cf. Gr vor; Lat prae, propter).
4.3. The expression of the cause as a pretext in Lithuanian partly corresponds to other languages.
1) The detrimental cause is expressed by the prepositions which in their locative meaning refer to the path of movement - crossing a space: Lith and Lat per; Latv and Fr par; Rus čerez; Pol przez; Gr durch, über.
Unlike Lithuanian, in some languages the meaning is expressed by the prepositions with other meanings: Rus za, iz-za; Latv aiz (see 3.2).
2) Beneficial cause is expressed by the prepositions with similar meanings: Lith dėka, Rus blagodarįa, Pol dzięki, Lat gratiā Fr grâce à.
4.4. Expression of the cause as a motive corresponds in several languages: Lith už, Rus and Pol za, Latv aiz. However, in some other languages it is different: Lat pro, propter, de; Fr pour, de.
4.5. The general causal meaning is expressed by comparatively new prepositions: Lith dėl; Latv dël; Rus po pričine, po povodu, vsledstvie; Pol z powodu; Gr wegen, infolge, halber; Lat causā, Fr de cause à.
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Vytautas O. Virkau, XVI Congresso International de Ex-Libris Lisboa
1 Dialectal facts have been drawn from the 17 published volumes and card indexes of the big Dictionary of Lithuanian
(Lietuvių kalbos žodynas), the card indexes and maps of the Atlas of Lithuanian
(Lietuvių kalbos atlasas).
2 With the verbs denoting voluntary actions, phrases nuo + Gen presuppose the meaning of separation, e.g. pabėgo nuo triukšmo '(He) fled from noise', apsisiautė kailiniais nuo šalčio '(He) wrapped up in a fur coat from cold' (i.e. because it was cold).
3 The illustrative examples presented further in the text have been taken from the linguistic works listed in the References.
4 In Russian there are more similar (nominal) prepositions such as vsledstvije, vvidu, po slučaju, po povodu (see Finkel 1962).
5 In addition, the Latin noun causa, unlike the Lithuanian priežastis (see 1.5), is used with many causal prepositions: ex eadem causa, ea de caus, a(<ab) duabus causis, ob earn causam, propter earn ipsam causam.