Turkish Impersonal Passives

Date

2021-08-10

Authors

Zhaksybek, Aliya

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Abstract

Previous literature emphasizes that impersonal passives are not able to form with unaccusative verbs (Perlmutter, 1978). However, languages such as Turkish, demonstrate that such constructions are, in fact, possible (Baker et al., 1989). A lot of previous literature seeks to explain this phenomenon using the Relational Grammar approach (Perlmutter, 1978; Biktimir, 1986; Özkaragöz, 1986), however, only a few explored this issue from the Minimalist perspective. This analysis examines Turkish impersonal passives using the Distributed Morphology (DM) framework (Halle & Marantz, 1993) and different Voice heads proposed by Sigurðsson (2011) through the Minimalist lens (Chomsky, 2000, 2001). Specifically, I propose that impersonal passives formed with unergative, unaccusative, and other passives employ an impersonal pronominal argument that surfaces as a passive morpheme. Thus, passives of passives, and impersonal passives of unaccusative predicates can be explained by the presence of the null pronoun and in the case of the double passive, an additional passive Voice head. Several pieces of evidence for the presence of an impersonal pronoun are described. I further explain how this impersonal pronoun is possible and what features are needed within these impersonal constructions to account for its presence.

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Keywords

impersonal passives, Turkish, impersonal pronoun, Voice, Distributed Morphology

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