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Get Deconstructing the English Passive PDF

By Anja Wanner

ISBN-10: 3110196328

ISBN-13: 9783110196320

This e-book analyzes the shape and serve as of the English passive from a verb-based perspective. It takes the location that some of the floor varieties of the passive (with or with out thematic topic, without or with item, without or with by-phrase, without or with auxiliary) have a typical resource and are decided through the interaction of the syntactic homes of the verb and common syntactic rules. every one structural part of the passive development is tested individually, and the participle is taken into account the single defining component to the passive.

Special emphasis is wear the lifestyles of an implicit argument (ususally an agent) and its illustration within the passive. A assessment of information from syntax, language acquisition, and psycholinguistics exhibits that the implicit agent isn't just a conceptually understood argument. it really is argued that it truly is represented on the point of argument constitution and that this is often what units the passive except different patient-subject constructions.

A corpus-based case examine at the use of the passive in educational writing analyzes using the passive during this specific sign up. one of many findings is that approximately 20-25% of passives take place in structures that don't require an auxiliary, a outcome that demanding situations corpus reports at the use of the passive that basically reflect on complete be-passives. it's also proven that new active-voice structures have emerged that compete with the passive with no need a extra seen agent. The emergence of those structures (such as "This paper argues...") is mentioned within the context of alterations within the rhetoric of clinical discourse.

The publication is especially of curiosity to linguists and graduate scholars within the parts of English syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.

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Sample text

The affectedness constraint also seems to hold for some verbal argument alternations, among them the middle construction, illustrated in (16c). 13 (16) a. This fact is known by anybody. 13. Because they do not have passive morphology, they also do not show implicit argument effects, a hallmark of the passive (discussed in detail in chapter 4). 22 Chapter 2 The English passive and linguistic theory b. c. /*This fact knows easily. Let us now look at some sentences that may or may not be considered passives, depending on the definition one uses.

Minimally, the topic does not receive focal stress, as the focus of the sentence is “the portion of a proposition which cannot be taken for granted at the time of speech” (Lambrecht 1994: 207). Syntactically, since topics express given information, they can be definite and are often realized as pronouns. Although complex subjects are not uncommon in passives, Biber et al. (1999: 940) found that “there is a clear tendency for the subject to be shorter than the agent phrase” in passives with by-phrases.

After the internal argument (Grimshaw 1990: 35), which accounts for data like Marantz’s. If the external argument is truly an argument of the verb (rather than being introduced by an abstract head), one can explain more easily why some verbs have external arguments and others don’t – it depends on their lexical semantic representation. If, on the other hand, external arguments are introduced by some functional head, one needs to explain why this functional head cannot be present in every clause.

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