Active, middle, and passive: the morpho-syntax of Voice


  • Artemis Alexiadou Universität Stuttgart


This paper is concerned with the variation found with respect to how languages morphologically mark argument structure (AS) alternations, a variation that I take to be related to the realization of the syntactic Voice head. The paper discusses the behavior of dispositional middles and reflexives in languages such as English as opposed to their Greek counterparts. I will pursue the hypothesis that there are three Voice related heads implicated in AS alternations across languages. Active Voice is involved in the structure of all transitive and unergative predicates across languages, which in English subsumes d. middles and reflexives. Passive Voice, which the paper will only briefly touch upon here, takes as an input a transitive structure and gives an English/German/Hebrew type passive. Middle Voice is the non-active counterpart of Kratzer’s active Voice and gives rise to reflexives, passives and dispositional middles in Greek type languages.


voice, dispositional middles, reflexives, anticausatives, Passive, Middle, unergative, unaccusative, by-phrase




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