The Russian clitic -sja appears with reflexive, anticausatives, and absolutive clauses. This paper gives an analysis of the clitic in all three constructions, arguing that it is best understood as a verbalizer. By allowing the external argument to have a differing base position in intransitive and transitive clauses, as well as allowing the internal argument to have differing base positions whether within or outside the VP, a unified position for the -sja clitic can be posited. As a result, in some instances, the syntactic position of the agent argument is the same as that of the undergoer or theme argument. This analysis complicates our understanding of the relationship between syntactic structure and the thematic relations.
Proceedings of the 34th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Aaron Kaplan, Abby Kaplan, Miranda K. McCarvel, and Edward J. Rubin
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