The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Colloquium 2/14 - Elena Anagnostopoulou

Speaker: Elena Anagnostopoulou (University of Crete)
Title: Decomposing adjectival/ stative passives
Time: Friday February 14th, 3:30-5pm
Place: 32-141

This talk argues for a decomposition analysis of different types of adjectival/stative passives in terms of the following domains (Kratzer 1996, Marantz 2001, Alexiadou, Anagnostopoulou & Schäfer 2006, forthcoming, Ramchand 2010 and others):

(1) [VoiceP [vP [ResultP ]]]

I focus on the distribution of Voice in adjectival/stative passives. Three views have been expressed in the literature:

a) Adjectival/stative passives never contain Voice (Kratzer 1994, 1996, Embick 2004).

b) Adjectival/stative passives sometimes contain Voice (Anagnostopoulou 2003).

c) Adjectival/stative passives always contain Voice (McIntyre 2013, Bruening to appear).

The diagnostics I employ for Voice are by-phrases, instruments, agent-oriented and manner adverbs and crucially not the Disjointness Restriction (Kratzer 1994 building on Baker, Johnson & Roberts 1989), which is linked to the type of passive hidden in the structure (passive vs. middle; Spathas, Alexiadou & Schäfer 2013, Alexiadou, Anagnostopoulou & Schäfer, forthcoming).

On the basis of these diagnostics, I argue that stative passives may contain Voice in all languages under investigation, and parametrization in the properties of Voice should be traced to the nature of the underlying event: specific event (Greek, Russian, Swedish; Anagnostopoulou 2003, Paslawska & von Stechow 2003, Larsson 2009) or event kind (English, German; Gehrke 2011).

I furthermore argue that Kratzer’s (2000) resultant state vs. target state dichotomy is important for understanding the distribution of Voice and, more generally, for understanding the properties and architecture of stative passives within and across languages. The stativizing morpheme may embed Voice only in resultant state adjectival passives and not in target state adjectival passives (Anagnostopoulou 2003). In target state adjectival passives, Voice, when present, is necessarily external to the stativized vP. I present evidence from verb classes in favor of the claim that target state passives systematically lack Voice and offer a potential reason for why Voice is absent in target state passives based on a phenomenon of coercion of participles formed by manner verbs from resultant-/manner to target-state/result readings. This phenomenon has implications for our understanding of “manners”, “results” and the “manner-result complementarity hypothesis” (Rappaport Hovav & Levin 1998, 2008 and related literature).