Volume 34, Issue 4
  • ISSN 0176-4225
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9714
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This paper examines the relationship between middle and passive voice constructions in Korean, in particular how they have come to share the same grammatical marker . Based on diachronic data from the UNICONC (Korean historical) database, spanning Old, Middle and Modern Korean (15th to 20th century), our analysis reveals that was initially used as a middle voice marker for spontaneous and inchoative events, with change-of-state as their common feature, then extended to transitive contexts, giving rise to passive voice usage. More recently, has developed into a marker of facilitative middle constructions as well. These semantic extensions involve shifts in aspectual focus from change-of-state to resultative-state, and further to potential aspect and mood. This analysis contributes to our understanding of the diachrony of voice markers beyond the causative-to-passive pathway commonly seen in Northeast Asia to include the middle-to-passive pathway, with typological implications.


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