Deponency in finite and non-finite contexts
Laura Grestenberger
October 2017
 

This paper investigates the syntactic properties of deponents in finite and non-finite contexts in several Indo-European languages (Vedic Sanskrit, Ancient Greek, Latin, Hittite, Modern Greek) and proposes a novel definition of deponency: deponents are morphologically non-active verbs with non-canonical agent arguments that are merged below VoiceP. Since VoiceP is spelled out with non-active morphology in those languages if it does not introduce an external argument itself, the result is a surface mismatch between morphological form and syntactic function. This proposal predicts that only certain non-finite forms of deponents will surface with the syntax/morphology-mismatch, namely those that include VoiceP. Nominalizations without VoiceP will appear to suspend the voice mismatch. These predictions are shown to be correct with respect to the behavior of deponent participles in the languages under study. The insight that deponency depends on the availability of certain projections along the "verbal spine" can be used as a diagnostic for the internal structure of participial and other deverbal formations in languages with a "Greek-type" voice system and provides an explanation of the morphosyntax of deponents that goes beyond characterizing them as lexical idiosyncrasies.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003701
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Language (accepted)
keywords: deponents, morphosyntactic mismatches, voice morphology, participles, ancient greek, modern greek, sanskrit, latin, hittite, syntax, morphology
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