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Mismatch verbs

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Abstract

The term ‘deponent’ traditionally refers to a class of verbs in Latin or Greek which is characterized by a mismatch between their morphological form and their syntactic and semantic context. Deponent verbs appear in passive form but in active syntax/semantics. In this paper, I argue that this mismatch between form and function is not as uncommon as one might expect. In particular, I show that we find the same kind of mismatch with unaccusative verbs in many languages amongst which are English or the Romance languages. The argumentation will be based on a detailed investigation of how deponent and unaccusative verbs behave in all modules of the grammar. Based on the findings of this discussion, I propose a unified morphosyntactic analysis for deponents and unaccusatives. The analysis elegantly captures the particular behavior of these verbs by invoking two principles: Identity Avoidance and Lexical Override.

References

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