A nanosyntactic analysis of Afrikaans passive participles

DOI: 10.2989/16073614.2012.750820
Author(s): Erin PretoriusDepartment of General Linguistics,, Johan OosthuizenDepartment of General Linguistics,


Researchers most commonly adopt a ternary mode of classification when examining passive participles, in which the i) target state passive, ii) the resultant state passive, and iii) the eventive passive are identified. These participles can be distinguished from one another on the grounds of various diagnostic tests. This article examines two recent arguments for an alternative mode of classification: Lundquist (2008) argues for a binary classificatory system which groups the resultant and the eventive passives together; Sleeman (2011) argues for a quaternary classificatory system in which the eventive passive is further divided according to whether the participle in predicative or attributive. It is argued in this article that a ternary mode of classification should be maintained, and an analysis of the internal (sub-word level) structure of the passive participle is proposed within the framework of nanosyntax (NS). The proposed analysis accounts for the empirical observations regarding the passive participle, while still maintaining a more parsimonious classificatory system.

Get new issue alerts for Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies