The Causative Emotion Construction (CEC) is one of the constructions for expressing experiential events in Estonian. In a CEC, the experiencer is marked as an object and the stimulus as a subject. In this paper, the CEC is examined in respect of the occurrence of the stimulus, a subject’s behavioural properties of the object argument (semantically: experiencer) and the effect of the agentivity of the subject argument (semantically: stimulus). The data are compared with those of Latvian and Russian as contact languages, and with those of the other Finnic languages.
The Estonian CEC deviates from the respective constructions used in other Finnic languages in the obligatoriness of the stimulus argument, i.e. unlike in the rest of the Finnic languages, in Estonian the stimulus is an obligatory part of the construction, acting in this respect more similarily to its Latvian and Russian counterparts. Also, the same tendencies are revealed in the behavioural properties of the experiencer argument.
The second part of the paper investigates the effects of the agentivity of the stimulus argument: a proper CEC (with a non-agentive, inanimate stimulus) has many restrictions that do not apply to an agentive stimulus. These restrictions concern the use of the impersonal voice, the case of the agent argument in the passive (only the elative can be used in the CEC), the use of the imperative, and word order. More attention is paid to word order, which has a notable variation: with a non-agentive stimulus, the word order is more often OVS (yet, with remarkable variation depending on the verb), whereas with the agentive stimulus the word order is mostly SVO.