Volume 45, Issue 4
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978



Frequency asymmetries within a minimal grammatical domain create offline associations that languages tend to exploit for a more efficient encoding. We explore cross-linguistic coding patterns of antipassives. We first argue that antipassive markers tend to have properties of derivational markers. Secondly, we show that antipassives are considerably rarer than the basic transitive constructions. The lower frequency correlates with the length of coding: antipassives tend to be coded with longer forms than basic transitive verbs. Thirdly, we explore frequency associations of different lexical input types and find that it is the rare input types that tend to select the antipassive, if the marking is differential, while the frequent ones correlate with the unmarked verb (A-lability). We, furthermore, show that the rarer argument types and argument scenarios correlate stronger with antipassives than the more frequent argument types and scenarios.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): antipassive; efficiency; frequency asymmetry; P-backgrounding
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