Volume 37, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0176-4225
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9714
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This article discusses two case studies of diachronic “voice flipping” in which the syntax of a participle appears to change from active or “subject-oriented” to passive (Ancient Greek ‑ to Modern Greek ‑) and from resultative/stative to active (Proto-Indo-European *-nt-; Hittite ‑‑ vs. Ancient Greek ‑‑). While the first type of change is the result of a diachronic reanalysis by which a functional projection (VoiceP) is lost, the second type in fact adds an active Voice head. Both changes are the result of the simultaneous availability of a stative and an eventive reading in deverbal adjectival forms and could belong to a larger “participle cycle”. However, unlike in other changes usually discussed under the label “cycle”, unidirectional economy principles do not apply in these cases. Rather, these cases provide evidence that some types of morphosyntactic change, especially those related to event and argument structure, are driven by reanalysis of the feature content of functional heads under local structural ambiguity.


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