LING222 Passive Forms & Functions

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Synonymy
True synonymy would imply that the words are always interchangeable i.e. in all contexts & true synonymy is as good as non-existent
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Passive vs. active voice
In some traditional approaches to grammar, passive clauses were seen as transformations and therefore structurally variant to active clauses. This would imply that passive + active voice mean the same thing, but this is not the case
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Why would the subject be omitted?
the speaker doesn't want to reveal the identify of the subject, the speaker doesn't know the identify of the speaker, the speaker is obvious, the subject is not considered important
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Functions of the passive according to Dixon:
1. avoid mentioning the subject specifically 2. focus on the object rather than the subject 3. focus on the result of the activity
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BE passive
most common auxiliary of the passive
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GET passive
often used if the speaker wishes to imply that the state which the passive subject is not due to the transitive subject. the GET passive is sometimes analysed as being associated with adverse meaning
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Do all active sentences have passivisability?
no: 'cats have little/ no sense of loyalty' vs. 'little or no sense of loyalty is had by cats'
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When can sentences be passivised?
the higher the degree of semantic transitivity, the higher the chance that the sentence can be passivised
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Card 2

Front

Passive vs. active voice

Back

In some traditional approaches to grammar, passive clauses were seen as transformations and therefore structurally variant to active clauses. This would imply that passive + active voice mean the same thing, but this is not the case

Card 3

Front

Why would the subject be omitted?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Functions of the passive according to Dixon:

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

BE passive

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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