Amphithéâtre Guillaume Budé, Site Marcelin Berthelot
En libre accès, dans la limite des places disponibles


In this talk, I will establish a cartography of Passive (and passive-like) Voice(s) for Chichewa (Bantu), use it to explore the observed crosslinguistic variation in passive constructions across languages, and implement the findings in a (pilot) comparative Terraling dataset for passive constructions that can serve as the basis for further current or future theoretical investigations.

Like many Bantu languages, Chichewa has extensive verbal morphology, with both a postverbal applicative morpheme and two passive(-like) morphemes (Alsina & Mchombo (1990) [1], Alsina (1999) [2], Dubinsky & Simango (1996) [3]). The applicative morpheme -ir adds a variety of arguments/adjuncts to the verbal stem, not only goals or benefactives, but also instruments, or locative adjuncts. The stative morpheme (-ik) occurs in middles and potentials. The passive morpheme -idw occurs not only with canonical (agent-theme) and low oblique applicative passives, but also with non-canonical passive applicative constructions (instrumental, locative, ...). Applicative and statives/passive can co-ocur in different orders V-stat-Appl, but V-Appl-Pass, or V Pass Appl the latter restricted to Instrumental and locative applicatives. 


[1] Alsina, Alex & Sam Mchombo. 1990. The syntax of applicatives in Chichewa: problems for a theta theoretic asymmetry. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 8(4). 493–506.

[2] Alsina, Alex. 1999. Where’s the Mirror Principle? The Linguistic Review 16(1). 1–42.

[3] Dubinsky, Stanley & Silvester Ron Simango. 1996. Passive and Stative in Chichewa: Evidence for Modular Distinctions in Grammar. Language 72(4). 749–793.

[4] Schweikert, Walter. 2005. The order of prepositional phrases in the structure of the clause, vol. 83. John Benjamins Publishing.

[5] Cinque, Guglielmo. 1999. Adverbs and functional heads: a cross-linguistic perspective. New York: Oxford University Press.


Hilda Koopman