Passivierte Verbalkomplexe - passivized verbal clusters
Hubert Haider
September 2021

[revised & extended version] Passive is customarily defined with reference to a verb and relational changes in the syntactic realization of its argument structure. However, this is too narrow a perspective. Passive may be applied not only to single verbs but also to verbal clusters. In this case, the passivized verb is the top-most verb in the cluster but the donor verb of the passive subject is a dependent one. The basic grammatical mechanism remains the same, but the argument structure it operates on in different. In the case of verbal clusters, the argument structure of the cluster is the aggregate of the argument structures of the verbs in the cluster. Four such cases are analysed, namely the passive of Ecm-constructions (a.k.a. AcI) headed by "lassen" (let) or by a perception verb, the passivization of passive, namely the additional passivization of German get-passives, and the passive of German clause-union infinitivals, a.k.a. long-distance passive. In all these four cases, and in the case of simple verbs, the grammatical means of achieving the passive effect are identical, namely a combination of a participial form with a (semi)-auxiliary. The participle blocks the argument that surfaces as subject in the active construction. In verbal clusters, passive operates on the aggregated argument structure of the cluster, whose existence is independently motivated and necessary for the management of the aggregated argument structure of the clustered verbs. Passive applies to this argument structure in the same manner as it applies to the argument structure of a simple verb.
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Reference: lingbuzz/005050
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keywords: principles and parameters, generative syntax, morphology, syntax
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