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Thaut, E. Marie, Koumbarou, Andriana and Baratashvili, Zurab (2020) 'A descriptive account of agentless constructions in Sylheti: passive, impersonal, and anticausative.' Language Documentation and Description, 18.

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We identify three constructions in Sylheti which license the non-mention of an agent argument or do not allow the realisation of one. We describe a passive construction, which allows the realisation of an agent followed by the converbial instrumental dia ‘by’, formed with the addition of a nominalizing suffix -a to the verbal root and the tensed passive auxiliary o- ‘become’. The second construction is an impersonal passive with the passive auxiliary za- ‘go’, which does not allow the realisation of an agent argument and gives rise to possibilitative readings. Further, za- also acts as a light verb realised with verbal stems which can take a single argument interpreted as the ‘undergoer’ of the action, achieving an anticausative reading; this construction does not allow the realisation of an agent but does allow the realisation of the cause of the event such as a natural force marked with the agentive/instrumental -e. To describe these three constructions, this paper also provides a brief sketch of the distributional patterns of two Sylheti case markers, namely -e, which surfaces on both agents and instruments, and -re, which attaches to themes/patients, as well as recipients.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics > Department of Linguistics
ISSN: 17406234
Copyright Statement: This article is published under a Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC (Attribution-NonCommercial). The licence permits users to use, reproduce, disseminate or display the article provided that the author is attributed as the original creator and that the reuse is restricted to non-commercial purposes i.e. research or educational use. See
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2021 10:40

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