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Valency in Verbs and Verb-Related Structures


Edited By Anna Malicka-Kleparska and Maria Bloch-Trojnar

The volume deals with valency phenomena in verbs and complex deverbal lexical structures (nominalizations, adjectivizations and compounds) in a variety of languages (English, Polish, Hungarian, Norwegian, Greek, Hebrew, Bantu languages and the West African language Ga). The introduction offers an overview of valency related issues and up-to-date linguistic literature. The eleven contributions address specific problems, such as the interaction of valency with argument- and event-structure, properties of light verbs, impersonal constructions, antipassives, analogies between passivization and nominalization/adjectivization, effects of verbal prefixation, and synthetic compounds. The proposed analyses are couched in lexically and syntactically driven approaches.

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The morpho-syntax of reflexive impersonals in Polish (Anna Malicka-Kleparska)


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Anna Malicka-Kleparska

The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

The morpho-syntax of reflexive impersonals in Polish

Abstract: In this paper we tackle the problem of the representation of reflexive impersonal structures in Polish. We show, based on semantic and morpho-syntactic evidence, that these constructions fall into two classes with distinct properties: reflexive impersonals with dative logical subjects and reflexive impersonals without such overt subjects. The first class is characterised by non-active semantics and both a morphological and morpho-syntactic affinity to other middle structures in Polish. These characteristics can be accounted for if we assume that reflexive impersonals with dative logical subjects are equipped with middle voice projection in their morpho-syntax.

Dativeless reflexive impersonals are characterised by agentive semantics, justifying the structural presence of the canonical external argument position in their clauses. Some syntactic arguments can also be quoted in favour of their active-voice properties. Thus, we argue below that subjectless reflexive impersonals possess active voice projection in their structure.

Consequently, in spite of superficial formal similarities, reflexive impersonals in Polish should be ascribed two distinct morpho-syntactic constructions.

Key words: reflexive, impersonal, middle voice, active voice, Polish morpho-syntax

1. Introduction

Reflexive impersonals1 in Polish have gained a lot of attention in linguistic literature as they present a fascinating and conflicting body of data. In the generative approach to language they have been extensively analysed by, e.g. Bondaruk and Charzyńska-Wójcik...

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