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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

This study provides evidence for microvariations in VoiceP (Legate 2014) by contrasting two Lithuanian constructions, the passive-like -ma/-ta construction with an accusative theme grammatical object and the canonical passive with a nominative theme grammatical subject. The -ma/-ta construction is cognate with the Polish and Ukrainian -no/-to construction. The Polish construction is an impersonal active, whereas the Ukrainian construction is a passive with an accusative object (Lavine 2005, 2013; Legate 2014). Although the Lithuanian construction patterns with the Ukrainian one in allowing an auxiliary, it patterns with the Polish in exhibiting a PRO subject and demonstrating that these two properties are dissociable (contra Lavine 2005). To encode the difference between the impersonal and the passive, I argue for the presence of a functional head VoiceP originating above a vP. The impersonal has a PRO subject in VoiceP, while the passive lacks the thematic subject. This study is extended to passives with causative morphology showing that VoiceP and vP are independent of each other: the former introduces external argument and the latter causative semantics (Pylkkänen 2008, Harley 2013, Legate 2014).

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