The passive voice in Czech
A B S T R A C T
Analysis of Czech data within the theoretical framework of Modified Valency Theory (Karlík, 2000) shows that the syntactic derivation of passive voice proceeds in two phases. The first phase, which I call (A), can be referred to as deagentization. Given the passive morphology of a verb, A-1 (i.e. the subject or external argument of the verb) is blocked. When the verb is transitive, A-2 (i.e. the object or the internal argument of the verb) enters the caseless subject position “e” of a verb with passive morphology, i.e. the -n-/-t- participle in Czech. The resulting structures are sometimes called syntactically ergative, as shown by ‘PROA-1 chválit NPaccA-2 → e(i)A-2 chválen-Ø/-a/-o t(i)’, as opposed to lexically ergative, as illustrated in the example ‘PROA-2 blednout’. The second phase, which I call (B), can be referred to as raising. For transitive verbs, this is the movement of A-2 from the subject position “e” of a verb with passive morphology, where it fails to receive a case, into the subject position of the verb být, ‘to be’. The verb ‘to be’ does not assign a Θ-role, however, in this position, A-2 can obtain case and thus be lexically realized: Petr(i)A-2 je e(i) chválen t(i). In the description of the passive voice, it is necessary to distinguish expressions with deverbal adjectives because these are produced through a single phase. Deverbal adjectives are generated earlier in the lexicon.
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