Chapter 1 Long-Distance Passives by Structure Removal

In: Passives Cross-Linguistically
Gereon Müller
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In this paper, an analysis of long-distance passives in German is developed according to which these constructions basically emerge from the co-occurrence of (i) passivization and (ii) restructuring in the language. Based on Müller (2016) and Müller (2017a), I assume that passivization and restructuring both involve an operation of structure removal in the course of the derivation—of an external argument DP in the first case, and of CP and TP layers of an infinitive in the second case. The null hypothesis that I would like to pursue against this background is that a combination of the two structure removal operations gives rise to the intricate properties of long-distance passives in German. A core feature of the analysis is that it does not involve any long-distance relation at any point; argument demotion, case assignment, and morphological realization as passive all take place extremely locally. Another basic property of the structure removal approach, which sets it apart from most other analyses, is that all DP arguments selected by the verbs involved (including in particular external arguments in the embedded and matrix domains) can be assumed to be structurally represented at some point of the derivation.

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