The canonical function of the deponent 
verbs in modern Greek

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The present paper discusses deponent verbs in Modern Greek. Deponents are claimed to be idiosyncratic, non-canonical verbs representing a mismatch between morphology and syntax/semantics, as they are intransitive verbs exhibiting a morphological form, non-active, without there being an active transitive counterpart. Since non-active morphology is standardly associated with de-transitivization, deponents are taken to be exceptional in this respect. We compiled a deponent-verb corpus of Modern Greek and examined its morphological, syntactic and semantic structure. The results of this study revealed that most deponent predicates are actually reflexives/reciprocals, anticausatives and passives; thus, they instantiate verbal alternations which typically surface with non-active morphological marking. For this reason, we conclude that the morphology of deponent verbs in Modern Greek has, contrary to their traditional definition, a canonical function.


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