Chapter published in:Antipassive: Typology, diachrony, and related constructions
Edited by Katarzyna Janic and Alena Witzlack-Makarevich
[Typological Studies in Language 130] 2021
► pp. 213–246
A case of antipassive in Ainu
This paper shows that there are two synchronically distinct i- markers in Ainu, viz. the derivational antipassive i- and inflectional ‘fourth’ person object i- with the functions of first person plural inclusive, second person honorific, and logophoric. The derivational antipassive marker i- ‘person/thing’ can be regarded as an antipassive marker per se based on its syntactic (eliminating a patient/theme/recipient argument), semantic (denoting an unspecified generic participant or lexicalizing it to a single or subset of objects) and discourse (patient-defocusing) properties. Contrary to the accepted view, I adduce the ‘antipassive to 1pl.incl.o’ scenario based on extensive cross-linguistic and Ainu-internal evidence. The antipassive i-, in its turn, originated in the incorporation of a generic noun *i ‘thing/place/time’, which is not unusual in languages without overt expression of the demoted O participant in the antipassive. The extended use of the antipassive i- is attested on obligatorily possessed nouns to enable their use without possessive affixes. Finally, my corpus-based study of semantic classes of verbs with a predilection for antipassive derivation revealed that the antipassive in Ainu is most likely to apply to a ‘middle section’ of the semantic transitivity hierarchy since it belongs to the lower individuation of patients (LIP) type, which is assumed to be more typical of antipassives in non-ergative languages.
Keywords: antipassive, Ainu, non-ergative languages, ‘fourth’ person, diachrony
Published online: 23 March 2021
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Cited by 2 other publications
Janic, Katarzyna & Alena Witzlack-Makarevich
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