On Impersonal Constructions: Implications of Celtic Verbal Inflections Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Slavic, Jessica
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Linguistics
  • Celtic languages, specifically Irish and Breton, possess a verbal inflection known as "autonomous" or "impersonal." This thesis defines impersonalization as a phenomenon that de-emphasizes the logical subject of a verb. Common forms of impersonalization under this definition include generic pronouns, passivization, and passive with expletive subject constructions. I hold that impersonal verbal inflections should be recognized as a comparable strategy for impersonalization. I recognize the inherent similarity that impersonal verbal inflections bear to passivization in this respect, but I maintain that impersonalization is a distinct syntactic category. All forms of impersonalization should be viewed as members of one broad category possessing heterogeneous syntactic strategies, which are unique and valid methods of de-emphasizing the logical subject. I show that there can be further variation within each strategy, and I give particular attention to the variation in theta role placement in Celtic impersonal forms. This thesis aims to establish the Celtic impersonal inflections as a form of impersonalization comparable to passivization or generic pronouns, and to provide a detailed description of these verbal inflections.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Smith, Jennifer L.
  • Mora-Marín, David
  • Hendrick, Randall
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2014
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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