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I'm most familiar with "applicative" meaning a specific way of rearranging the arguments of a verb. For example, the -el- suffix in Lingála adds a direct object to a verb, the person who benefits from the action (deleting the previous direct object if one already exists): kosála "to work on [something]", kosálela "to work for [someone]".

However, I've also heard the word "applicative" being used more broadly, for any marker on a verb that adds an argument (sometimes replacing an existing one). In this sense, causatives would also be applicatives, since they add a new argument: the person who is causing the action to be done.

What are some examples of "applicatives" in this broader sense? In other words, what are some different types of arguments natural languages can add to their verbs?

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  • I'm still not totally used to this site's on-topic/off-topic guidelines, but I figure I might as well ask a question and see. "How is X done in natural languages" seems to be on-topic so I'm hoping "what do natural languages use X for" also is.
    – Draconis
    Nov 1, 2022 at 3:20

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