Event-structure and individuation in impersonal passives

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This paper discusses the event-structural effects of suppressing the subject argument in impersonal passives in several languages, including German, Dutch and Turkish. Corpus data partially support earlier assumptions that the situation denoted by impersonal passives is a homogenoeus, e.g. atelic, event. Contrary to some of the earlier proposals, telic (or unaccusative) verb lexemes can be used in the impersonal passive if they are forced into event-structural homogeneity. I will attempt to derive this event-structural restriction from the referential demotion of the subject argument. In this view, the telicity restriction is not a strict independent constraint but rather an epiphenomenon of the referential non-individuation of the argument undergoing a change of state.


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