Passive Syntactic Structure

by Joseph Emonds

Ever since the analysis of adjectival passives in Wasow (1977), it has been widely assumed that the two passive constructions are to be generated differently (or that both are lexical). This paper shows that adjectival and verbal periphrastic passives are both formed with the identical fully adjectival suffix -en and that both are generated in the syntax via ``NP movement.'' It argues that their differences, including distinctions previously glossed over (the highly restricted external distribution of verbal passives and the case assignment available inside verbal passives), can all be better explained by utilizing the author's theory of multi-level lexical insertion of (only) grammatical elements, which has been justified independently in other works. Fully lexicalized and more productive passive adjectives result from inserting -en at two different levels prior to Spell Out, while verbal passives result from PF-insertion of -en.

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