The Double Duty of the Sakha "Passive"

Tamisha Lauren Tan, Niels Torben Kühlert


This paper argues that the Sakha passive morpheme -IlIn- is the fossilised outcome of a bimorphemic 'passive of passive' construction still found in Modern Turkish. While this reanalyzed form is surface homophonous between passive and impersonal functions, we show that the two uses can be differentiated via several syntactic diagnostics and that the Sakha impersonal construction supports the existence of a syntactically-projected impersonal prounoun that may serve as Case Competitor and control/be controlled PRO. At the same time, the diachronic account presented in this paper has important implications for the reconstruction of the Common Turkic voice system and the status of ImpersP and VoiceP as distinct functional projections, instead suggesting that impersonal passive constructions involve iteration of VoiceP.


Turkic; passives; impersonals; Sakha; voice alternations; VoiceP

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Copyright (c) 2020 Tamisha Lauren Tan, Niels Torben Kühlert

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