Anna Bartra-Kaufmann (ed.)


Voice phenomena

Editorial: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Servei de Publicacions
Col·lecció: Catalan Journal of Linguistics #13
Data de publicació: 2014
Pàgines: 122

Text complet

Speakers’ intuitions, philosophical categories and traditional grammars have long considered some types of sentences, namely passives and middles, as the reversed or semantically synonymous mirror image of another construction type, name- ly active sentences. As soon as by Aristotle, pathos was proposed as a category that represented a way of approaching the relationship between participants in a situation or event. In the Romance tradition, grammarians tried to found equiva- lent forms for the Latin passive and middle paradigms, and considered the peri- phrastic be-Passive translations as functional and categorical equivalents. But the mismatches between meaning and formal properties, as well as the inadequacy of reproducing the categories of Latin grammar into Romance descriptions, were very soon apparent to grammarians.
The relevant question, one that can not be answered in the few lines of these introductory remarks, and which can be considered a sort of research program, is the following: is the speakers’ intuition of a semantic equivalence between active and passive sentences 4 a linguistic property to be accounted formally for or rather is it an interpretive epiphenomenon that loses its sense as soon as we decompose passive sentences in its formal components and properties? As the recent evolution of grammar shows and the papers inside this volume reflect, voice phenomena can be addressed from different perspectives, each one permitting to go a step further in our knowledge of the formal properties involved in them. The basic aim in this volume is to try to discover a little bit more about this intriguing property of lan- guages: the fact that different structures, made up with the same lexical elements but with different functional categories and formal features, express the same event.

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