Speaker: Julie Anne Legate
Title: A Theory of Passives and A (Partial) Theory of Impersonals
Abstract: In this talk I present evidence for an analysis of the passive as demotion of the thematic subject, not through a generalized head/process that demotes arguments, but rather through existential closure applying at LF on the Voice head that introduces the thematic subject itself. I demonstrate that this correctly predicts that a passive-like alternation may apply to the Appl head that introduces the applicative object. It also correctly predicts that the passive cannot apply to passives or to unaccusatives. I also argue that impersonals contrast with passives in not exhibiting argument demotion, but rather a null impersonal pronoun; this pronoun must be licensed by a designated functional projection. Illustrative data come from Indonesian, Lithuanian, Sanskrit, and Turkish.