Solving the puzzle of the Lithuanian passive

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This article deals with Lithuanian constructions containing non-agreeing passive participial forms ending in -ma/-ta which traditionally are regarded as impersonal passives. Some types of -ma/-ta constructions violate the Unaccusative Hypothesis, as they can be derived from unaccusatives, personal passives and even a couple of meteorological verbs. In our article we investigate whether Lithuanian -ma/-ta constructions could be more plausibly analysed as morphosyntactic impersonals, as suggested by Blevins (2003). Our analysis shows that while some -ma/-ta constructions meet the conditions for morphosyntactic impersonals, others can be analysed as personal passives with non-canonical subjects, whereas constructions with -ma/-ta forms of intransitive unergative predicates are ambiguous between an impersonal passive and an active impersonal interpretation. We also argue that evidential constructions with -ma/-ta participles are neither passives nor impersonals, but active evidentials with overt genitival subjects.


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