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The So-Called Passive of Acehnese

Mark Durie
Language
Vol. 64, No. 1 (Mar., 1988), pp. 104-113
DOI: 10.2307/414788
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/414788
Page Count: 10
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The So-Called Passive of Acehnese
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Abstract

The Mon Tasiek dialect of Acehnese (Indonesia) was analysed by Lawler 1977 as having a passive in which the verb agrees with the initial, or underlying, subject. His argument was that the preverbal NP in Acehnese has the expected properties of a surface subject, but that verb agreement was controlled by the underlying subject-which, in 'passive' clauses, is not the preverbal NP. This analysis was based on limited and unrepresentative data. In the light of more extensive data, Lawler's claim that the preverbal NP in Acehnese acts as a final subject does not hold. The most obvious-and, for syntactic theory, the least problematic conclusion-is that the so-called 'underlying' subject is in fact a surface grammatical relation; Acehnese has no passive, and its verbal agreement is a surface phenomenon.

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