Julie Legate (University of Pennsylvania) will give the department colloquium Friday, February 6, at 3:30 in ILC N400. The title of her talk is “Restrictive Phi in a Partial Typology of Noncanonical Passives,” and an abstract follows.
In this talk, I investigate the syntactic structure of noncanonical passives, focusing on the role played by phi-features that restrict rather than saturate the external argument position. Building on previous work by myself and others, I show that voice is encoded in a functional projection, VoiceP, which is distinct from, and higher than, vP. I demonstrate that microvariations in the properties of VoiceP and in the location of restrictive phi-features explain a wide range of noncanonical passives, including agent-agreeing passives, restricted agent passives, accusative object passives, impersonals, and object voice. The analysis draws on data from a typologically diverse set of languages.