A Unified Analysis of Passives and Anticausatives


  • Dalina Kallulli




Starting from the basic observation that, across languages, the anticausative variant of an alternating verb systematically involves morphological marking that is shared by passive verbs, the goal of this paper is to provide a uniform and formal account of these arguably two different construction types. The central claim that I put forward is that passives and anticausatives differ only with respect to the event-type features of the verb but both arise through the same operation, namely suppression by special morphology of a feature in v that encodes the ontological event type of the verb. Crucially, I argue for two syntactic primitives, namely act and cause, whereto I trace the passive/anticausative distinction. Passive constructions across languages are made compatible by relegating the differences to simple combinatorial properties of verb and prepositional types and their interactions with other event functors, which are in turn encoded differently morphologically across languages. New arguments are brought forward for a causative analysis of anticausatives. Agentive adverbials are examined, and doubt is cast on the usefulness of by-phrases as a diagnostic for argumenthood.




How to Cite

Kallulli, D. (2019). A Unified Analysis of Passives and Anticausatives. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 10(1), 171–182. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2006.v10i1.682