Comparative concept caritive. Definition

CARITIVE describes non-involvement (including, but not limited to absence) of a participant (absentee) in a situation, with the non-involvement predication semantically modifying the situation or a participant of a different situation.


  1. John came without his children.

  2. John travelled without money.

  3. A beardless man was sitting in the corner of the room

Caritive expression (marker) is a way of expression the caritive meaning. It combines with an item expressing absentee but does not include it. Caritive expressions may differ much in different languages. For example, if a language has a special morpheme expressing caritive meaning, it is regarded as a caritive marker (e.g., Russian preposition bez and prefixes bes-/bez- are caritive markers). If there is no such a special caritive morpheme or clitic, then a caritive expression is a structure which expresses caritive meaning (excluding item expressing absentee).

Caritive phrase comprises a caritive expression and an item expressing absentee. A caritive phrase may correspond to a nominal phrase (cf. Finnish with a special caritive case marker: paida-tta 'without a shirt'), to a prepositional / postpositional phrase (cf. English without money), to a clause and, maybe, to other structures.


Caritive construction is a morphosyntactic construction with all the components of the caritive meaning. Thus,  caritive construction comprises a caritive phrase and a constituent which expresses an anchor participant (a man in example 3) or a modified situation (John's travelling in example 2).

Methodological clarification:

If a language obtains several competing caritive expressions, we choose the more specialized, more grammaticalized and more frequent ones for our typological study. If there are several specialized and frequent expressions, we take into consideration all of them. If there are no such specialized expressions in a language, we choose a construction which expresses the caritive meaning in the most neutral context.

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