How much <i>bekommen</i> is there in the German <i>bekommen</i> passive?

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We present an experiment and a corpus study jointly examining possible semantic constraints on the formation of the <i>bekommen</i> passive in German. In particular, we address the question of whether the recipient role that the lexical verb <i>bekommen</i> (&#8216;get&#8217;) assigns to its external argument still constrains the formation of the <i>bekommen</i> passive. We capture this potential restriction in the <i>Recipient Constraint</i>. Our data show a split between verbs whose dative object is not a recipient &#8211; many of them are perfectly acceptable in the <i>bekommen</i> passive, but some are not. We conclude that the Recipient Constraint does not hold, but the formation of the <i>bekommen</i> passive is still sensitive to semantic properties of the main verb use of <i>bekommen</i>.


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