The unique functionality of Urdu light verb jaa and Voice head variation


  • Sana Kidwai UniversityofCambridge
  • Frances Sobolak Cornell University


Variation in the properties and structural position of Hindi-Urdu light verbs is well-established. Similar accounts across the literature agree on three positions within the verbal spine: a lower v/V position, an intermediate position, and a high external-argument-introducing head (see Butt & Ramchand, 2005; Suliman, 2015; Sobolak, 2023). In this paper, we add light verb jaa to this discussion. Specifically, we show that jaa occupies an external-argument-introducing Voice head, using evidence from instrumental causers in jaa-constructions. We also show that, within the Voice head typology, Voice-jaa is distinct from the canonical active and passive Voice heads, and is, in fact, akin to Voice in marked anticausatives.