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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the grammaticalisation of the linguistic category of passives. It explains that the notion ‘passive’ comprises morphologically marked devices by which the highest-ranking or single argument of a predicate is syntactically demoted, while a lower-ranking argument can be promoted to a syntactically privileged position. It describes the diachronic relation between the foregrounding and backgrounding passives.

Keywords: passives, grammaticalisation, argument, diachronic relation, foreground passives, backgrounding passives

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