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Passive to anticausative through impersonalization: the case of vedic and Indo-European

Leonid Kulikov (UGent)
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Abstract
Vedic Sanskrit and other Indo-European languages attest a typologically remarkable change of passives to anticausatives. This semantic development is attested, foremost, for passives of several verbs of perception and knowledge (knowledge transfer) such as Ved. drśyáte ‘X is seen’ --> ‘X is visible; appears’, śrūyáte ‘is heard, is known, is famous’ – obviously, according to the scenario ‘Y is seen (known etc.) by smb.’ → ‘Y is seen (known etc.) [by smb.]’ → ‘Y is seen (known etc.) [by generic passive agent]’ → ‘Y is visible (famous, etc.)’. A special variety of this development is instantiated by the passive of a verb of speech, ucyáte ‘Y is pronounced’ --> ‘Y [e.g. speech, musical instrument] sounds’. Besides, passive-to-anticausative transfer is attested for a small subgroup of verbs of caused motion. While in this latter case the rise of anticausative usages may be due to conceptualizing simple transitives as causatives (throw = ‘make fall, make fly’, etc.), in cases of verbs of perception and knowledge we observe the rise of the anticausative usages through the stage which is called ‘impersonalization’ in Siewierska 1984 and explained in terms of ‘objectivization of knowledge’, i.e. knowledge without a knowing subject. In connection with these verbs, I will briefly discuss the relationships between ‘agentless’, ‘impersonalized’ and ‘impersonal’ passives.
Keywords
anticausative, Latin, passive, impersonalization, impersonal passive, verbs of perception, objectivization, voice, Indo-European, Vedic, diathesis

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Chicago
Kulikov, Leonid. 2011. “Passive to Anticausative Through Impersonalization: The Case of Vedic and Indo-European.” In Impersonal Constructions : a Cross-linguistic Perspective, ed. Andrej Malchukov and Anna Siewierska, 124:229–254. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
APA
Kulikov, L. (2011). Passive to anticausative through impersonalization: the case of vedic and Indo-European. In A. Malchukov & A. Siewierska (Eds.), Impersonal constructions : a cross-linguistic perspective (Vol. 124, pp. 229–254). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Vancouver
1.
Kulikov L. Passive to anticausative through impersonalization: the case of vedic and Indo-European. In: Malchukov A, Siewierska A, editors. Impersonal constructions : a cross-linguistic perspective. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Company.; 2011. p. 229–54.
MLA
Kulikov, Leonid. “Passive to Anticausative Through Impersonalization: The Case of Vedic and Indo-European.” Impersonal Constructions : a Cross-linguistic Perspective. Ed. Andrej Malchukov & Anna Siewierska. Vol. 124. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Company., 2011. 229–254. Print.
@incollection{1944573,
  abstract     = {Vedic Sanskrit and other Indo-European languages attest a typologically remarkable change of passives to anticausatives. This semantic development is attested, foremost, for passives of several verbs of perception and knowledge (knowledge transfer) such as Ved. dr\'{s}y{\'a}te {\textquoteleft}X is seen{\textquoteright} --{\textrangle} {\textquoteleft}X is visible; appears{\textquoteright}, \'{s}r\={u}y{\'a}te {\textquoteleft}is heard, is known, is famous{\textquoteright} -- obviously, according to the scenario {\textquoteleft}Y is seen (known etc.) by smb.{\textquoteright} {\textrightarrow} {\textquoteleft}Y is seen (known etc.) [by smb.]{\textquoteright} {\textrightarrow} {\textquoteleft}Y is seen (known etc.) [by generic passive agent]{\textquoteright} {\textrightarrow} {\textquoteleft}Y is visible (famous, etc.){\textquoteright}. A special variety of this development is instantiated by the passive of a verb of speech, ucy{\'a}te {\textquoteleft}Y is pronounced{\textquoteright} --{\textrangle} {\textquoteleft}Y [e.g. speech, musical instrument] sounds{\textquoteright}. Besides, passive-to-anticausative transfer is attested for a small subgroup of verbs of caused motion. While in this latter case the rise of anticausative usages may be due to conceptualizing simple transitives as causatives (throw = {\textquoteleft}make fall, make fly{\textquoteright}, etc.), in cases of verbs of perception and knowledge we observe the rise of the anticausative usages through the stage which is called {\textquoteleft}impersonalization{\textquoteright} in Siewierska 1984 and explained in terms of {\textquoteleft}objectivization of knowledge{\textquoteright}, i.e. knowledge without a knowing subject. In connection with these verbs, I will briefly discuss the relationships between {\textquoteleft}agentless{\textquoteright}, {\textquoteleft}impersonalized{\textquoteright} and {\textquoteleft}impersonal{\textquoteright} passives.},
  author       = {Kulikov, Leonid},
  booktitle    = {Impersonal constructions : a cross-linguistic perspective},
  editor       = {Malchukov, Andrej and Siewierska, Anna},
  isbn         = {9789027205919},
  keyword      = {anticausative,Latin,passive,impersonalization,impersonal passive,verbs of perception,objectivization,voice,Indo-European,Vedic,diathesis},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {229--254},
  publisher    = {John Benjamins Publishing Company.},
  series       = {Studies in language companion series},
  title        = {Passive to anticausative through impersonalization: the case of vedic and Indo-European},
  volume       = {124},
  year         = {2011},
}