Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6759
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9897
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This paper deals with impersonal passives in two Germanic languages, Swedish and Dutch. Impersonal passives constitute one type of impersonal construction (denoting constructions with non-canonical subjects) as described in Siewierska (2008a: 116). Formally, they consist of an overt expletive subject, such as ‘it’ in Swedish and ‘there’ in Dutch, combined with a passive predicate. Semantically, such passive constructions encode actions with a general reference, i.e. where no agent is specified (cf. Siewierska 1984Engdahl 2006Viberg 2010). The study is corpus-based and uses a bidirectional translation corpus of Swedish and Dutch to map out the specific morphosyntactic and semantic profile of the impersonal passive in both Swedish and in Dutch. The similarities and differences make these languages suitable to study from a contrastive perspective in that interesting aspects on impersonal passives are highlighted in the translation data.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): corpus-based; impersonal passive; Swedish/Dutch; translation
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