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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 the formal means of expressing caritive semantics. It combines with the item expressing the Absentee, but does not include it. Caritive expressions may vary much across different languages. For example, if a language has a dedicated morpheme expressing caritive semantics, it is regarded as a caritive marker (e.g., Russian preposition bez and prefix bez-/bes- are caritive markers). If there is no such dedicated caritive morpheme or clitic, then a caritive expression is the whole (periphrastic) construction which expresses caritive semantics (excluding the item expressing the Absentee).

Caritive phrase comprises the caritive expression (marker) and the item expressing the Absentee. A caritive phrase may correspond to a noun phrase (cf. Finnish with a special caritive case marker: paida-tta ‘without a shirt’), to an adpositional phrase (cf. English without money), to a clause and, maybe, to other structures.


Caritive construction is the morphosyntactic structure containing all the components related to the caritive meaning. Thus, the caritive construction comprises the caritive phrase and the constituent which expresses the anchor participant (a man in example 3) or the modified situation (John’s travelling in example 2).

Methodological clarification:

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

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