Passivization in the -ȝa-converb construction in Barguzin Buryat: On the syntactic representation of voice*.

2018. №3, 40-71

Tatiana I. Bondarenko
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, 119991, Russia;
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA;


In this article, I discuss a construction in Barguzin Buryat that involves matrix verbs taking converbs with suffix -ʒa- as their sentential arguments. I show that the embedded clause in this construction is reduced and subjectless, but nevertheless takes passive voice morphology. This constitutes a paradox: how can a subjectless clause undergo passivization? I examine the possible ways of passivization that this construction allows for and show how the type of the embedded predicate restricts the available passivization patterns. I argue that the voice domain is present in the syntactic structure of the embedded clause, but that it is deficient and dependent on the voice domain of the matrix predicate. I propose an analysis of the interaction between the two voice domains in this construction that exploits the mechanism of voice restructuring. I show how this analysis can account for the possible passivization patterns with embedded verbs that are transitive, intransitive, and lexically marked for voice and discuss some predictions and consequences of this proposal.