A Cognitive Approach To The Semantics Of The German Passive
Hopper & Thompson's (1980) seminal article on transitivity brought forth renewed interest in the passive and other correlates of transitivity. Langacker (1982) and others working with the Cognitive Grammar (CG) framework argue that the passive voice is an independent construction and that it is not a reorganization of the active voice. Language specific problems for the German passive include the use of the dative case to mark certain passive participants, passives formed from verbs and preposition combinations and impersonal passives. This study provides a semantic analysis of all the types of passive constructions found in German and shows that these construction types are related. A corpus of written data is used and the focus is on radial categories of meaning in Modern German.
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Theory and Methodology
The Passive Prototype
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action chain active clause active sentence analysis animacy base process Bernhard Schlink Chapter claims Cognitive Grammar composite structure construal construction types construed corpus dative nominals dative participant dative verbs direct object discussion ditransitive downstream participant empathy hierarchy encode the agent energy entity Figure focus following examples function German language German passive Givon grammatical relations Hopper & Thompson impersonal constructions impersonal passives inanimate intransitive verbs landmark Langacker 1982 Langacker's language lexical linguistic model of transitivity nominative subjects noun occur parameters passive clauses passive construction passive in German passive participle passive prototype passive sentence predicates Principles and Parameters processual passive properties prototypical passive subjects prototypical transitive event reflexive verbs Relational Grammar represented Rice schematic second participant semantic characterization semantic role setting Shannon Shibatani speaker statal passive stative syntactic temporal profile theories topicality factors trajector transitive clauses transitive event structure types of passive unaccusative unaccusative verbs Vinland volitionality wurde