The Syntax of Spanish Reflexive Verbs: The Parameters of the Middle Voice 9783110874761, 9789027907424

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Table of contents :
I. Introduction
II. Inseparable Affixes and Pronouns
III. Intransitivization of Reflexives
IV. The Intransitive as Passive Equivalent
V. The Parameters of the Middle Voice
VI. Configurational Theory and Medialization
Works Consulted
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The Syntax of Spanish Reflexive Verbs: The Parameters of the Middle Voice
 9783110874761, 9789027907424

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© Copyright 1970 in The Netherlands. Mouton & Co. N.V., Publishers, The Hague. No part of this book may be translated or reproduced in any form, by print, photoprint, microfilm, or any other means, without written permission from the publishers.


Printed in The Netherlands by Mouton & Co., Printers, The Hague.


This is an integrated theory of voice relations in natural languages, constructed from the hypothesis that there are as many possible types of voice modulations as there are ways in which the relations that hold among the participants in a string can be made overt. The structuring of this theory is illustrated informally with examples from Spanish and English, and formally with the Base rules that characterize the overtly marked middle voice constructions in Spanish. In the Introduction I discuss the theoretical framework and the problems for the present study. While the approach is basically that of generative grammar, I view transformations as informationally equivalent reshapings of whole sentences rather than as combinations of parts or sentences. The differences between previous approaches and my own are set forth in Chapters I and VI, and are illustrated throughout. In order to show that the reflexive affix is not structurally identifiable as an object pronoun, I outline in Chapter II the structure of pronominalization in Spanish, within the framework of a hypothesis about the derivation of pronouns and possessive determiners in a grammar. The phenomenon of multiple categorial status of a single pronoun, prepositional phrase, or other lexical element is explained by morpho-syntactic haplology, whereby two or more categories may be fused or blended into one categorial frame at the sentence level. This phenomenon is discussed in Chapters II and V. Chapter VI presents a somewhat refined version of the framework of conceptual categories provided in my doctoral dissertation.1 It was there argued that parts of speech are not major categories and that ONLY a grammar which recognizes Means, Dative, and Locative as categories can account for middle constructions in a simple, economically direct way. The reader will note that the only basic difference between this framework and case grammar (which did not exist when the work of 1

M y unpublished Ohio State University dissertation (copyright, 1965) bears the same title as the present study.



this book was completed) is in the first rule, where I still cling to the notion that there is a deep structure subject/predicate division. This notion I have now rejected in favor of Fillmore's case approach, which I have used in my recent (1968) "Verbal Clitics and Object Pronouns in Spanish".2 This paper supplements the present study by providing the rules needed to generate the clitic constructions. Another recent paper (1969), "Pattern-Meaning in Syntactic Structures", clarifies and illustrates certain axioms of what I have referred to here as "configurational grammar". 2 I am indebted to my friends at The Ohio State University for help and advice in the preparation of this manuscript: to Charles Fillmore and Martha MorelloFrosch for their reading of an earlier version (my dissertation); to Martha Frosch and Nellie Martinez for their spontaneous grammatical reactions; especially to Eleanor Webster Bulatkin, for giving so much of her time and advice; and finally, TO MY HUSBAND With whom I speak a Present, Visible language, [+[Tangible] and [reciprocal]] Here Near us.

2 Both of these papers are available from the ERIC Clearinghouse for Linguistics in Washington, D. C. The latter is to appear in Language Sciences.





I. Introduction .


. 1 1

II. Inseparable Affixes and Pronouns .


III. Intransitivization of Reflexives .


IV. The Intransitive as Passive Equivalent . V. The Parameters of the Middle Voice



VI. Configurational Theory and Medialization .

39 .



5 74

Works Consulted





. . . when we explain anything we must take into account at once its material, its essential character, and the source of its movement; this being principally how explanations of occurrences are sought. "What comes into existence, and what has preceded it?" "What was the force or agent that started the process, and on what did it act?" - questions such as these, properly ordered, are essential to every scientific investigation. - Aristotle

When we attempt to explain any segment of the syntax of a natural language, we must ask at least those questions Aristotle considered essential to any scientific investigation. To explain linguistic occurrences is not merely to describe and classify the observable, audible forms; to explain is to grasp the 'why' of language - that is, to grasp the underlying principles of linguistic processes. Formal description of the rule-governed basis of related sets of sentences, and the ways in which the sets are interrelated, has for the past decade been the concern of generative, transformational theory. Developed in its present form by Noam Chomsky,1 the theory of generative grammar assumes that language structures consist essentially of a core of simple, kernel sentence-types upon which several sorts of changes may be imposed. An active sentence may be converted into a passive; two or more sentences may be combined to form a complex which is not identical to any one of its component sentences. The concepts of 'conversion' and 'complex sentence' are, of course, quite traditional ones. Equally traditional is the notion that a language can be 'explained' in terms of rules for the production of grammatically correct sentences. What is new about generative, transformational theory is the view that the production of grammatical conversions can be actively portrayed by a set of ordered rules. This set of rules is defined as a formal theory of a language. In the present study, I am concerned with portraying the syntax of Spanish reflexive constructions. In accord with the aims of generative grammar, I wish to describe the processes by which reflexive sentences are converted, or derived from Base 1

See N o a m Chomsky, Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (MIT Press, 1965), for an account of the principles and aims of transformational grammar.



Structures. My view of what the generative process is, however, differs in many respects from those expressed by others who have been concerned with generative grammar.



The framework for the present study, that of configurational generative grammar, differs in fundamental ways from previous transformational approaches. Configurational grammar attempts to study the grammatical behavior, or field, of whole sentences, regarded as conditioned by, but irreducible to, the individual constituents. The term 'grammatical field', as I use it here, is not to be confused with 'semantic field'. A semantic field is related strictly to the meanings of individual lexical morphemes; whereas the grammatical field, or meaning, is determined by the membership of the individual constituents in the whole. By grammatical field, then, I mean a wholistic unity of syntactic form and content that is greater than the sum of the individual sentence parts - whether the parts are observable or implied. 1 maintain that individual elements of a sentence, through a dynamic participation, may alter their individuality in becoming constituents of the whole. As every poet realizes, optional permutations achieve something more than mere inversion: they change the whole configuration. Sentences in natural languages are integrated wholes rather than combinations of parts. It is this characteristic wholeness, or self-fulfillment, which allows, for instance, condensations, or blends, to take place without loss of information; and which allows ellipses, with their resultant ambiguities, to be disregarded, or simply not noticed.2 It is this characteristic which explains why in some languages all nouns must be overtly marked for Tangibility and Visibility or Audibility, while in other languages, these features, although they affect conversion potential, remain unmarked. 1.0.1.

The definition of grammatical transformations

Grammatical transformations, as opposed to concord rules and ellipses, are defined in this study as informationally equivalent shapings of the constituents of a Base string. A Base string is one that is convertible by some rule into an active, passive, or middle sentence. It is of vital importance to note that informational equivalence and configurational equivalence are not the same thing. No two equivalent sentences with differences in the ordering of constituents are configurationally identical, for the simple reason that the function of grammatical transforms is to make overt one or more relations that are latent in the active sentence. These trans2

The term 'ellipsis' as used in this study, refers only to deletions that result in ambiguities. Other condensations will be referred to as blends. This distinction is discussed in Chapters II and V.



forms will generally require the materialization of category and configuration-bound constants. 1.0.2. The ordered set of possible equivalence conversions of a string of constituents can be defined as a 'family of transformations'. 3 By way of illustration, take an English sentence such as (1) John scared Mary badly. The accepted constituent analysis of this sentence defines Mary as direct object, badly as a Manner adverb, and John as a noun functioning as subject of the sentence. Now, take the sentence, (2) John gave Mary a bad scare. which is an equivalent of the first example. The accepted constituent analysis of this example would define Mary as indirect object and bad as an adjective modifying the direct object scare. Furthermore, presently available theories, which insist on analysis by synthesis and exclude analysis by 'syntaxis', would define the second example as a complex sentence consisting of John gave Mary a scare and The scare was bad * Since the equivalence relation that holds between these two sentences is self-evident, and since the operation that derives the adjectival sentence from a one-string Base is primarily syntactic rather than synthetic, we must conclude that analysis by synthesis, as presently practiced, is inherently incapable of actively portraying the processes involved in the generation of sentences in natural languages. In fact, present theories will not account in any way for the relatedness of these sentences. Nor will they account for all the mediopassive and passive equivalents, such as


(3) Mary was badly scared by John (4) Mary got a bad scare from John (5) Mary was given a bad scare by John.

In order to show the family relatedness of these sentences, we must assume that in examples (1) and (3), as well as in (2), (4), and (5), the noun Mary is the indirect, or Dative object, although its membership behavior differs in each of the equivalent reshapings of the Base string. 5 In the active sentence, Mary is both 'passively related 3

Zellig Harris discusses the notion of 'transformational families' in his article, "Transformational Theory", Language, 41, no. 3 (1965). 4 By this I mean that transformationists do not admit the possibility that ordering alone membership behavior - can determine the lexical accidence of a constituent. 5 The families to which these sentences belong are illustrated in my papers, "Intransitivization in English" (unpublished, 1966) and "Paraphrastic Causatives" (Washington, ERIC Clearinghouse for Linguistics, mimeographed, 1968); and will be referred to again in later chapters of this study.



to' and 'datively related to' the verb. By 'datively related to', I mean that Mary is the conscious recipient of the verbal activity. That this notion 'conscious recipient' is grammatical rather than semantic is proved by the mediopassive equivalent in (4). 1.0.3. Synthesis and Syntaxis Before turning to the reflexive in Spanish, I would like to illustrate with a reflexive paradigm in English the theory of configurational generative grammar. Consider the following sentences:


(6) (7) (8) (9)

John made himself rich John made (of) himself a rich man John made himself into a rich man John made a rich man (out) of himself.

Present theory would consider these to be complex sentences. Configurational theory defines them as equivalent simple sentences derived from a one-string Base.6 In all cases, there is a subject which becomes something, a subject which, though categorically one, may be more than one in form. In other words, the occurrence of the generic noun man is redundant, since these sentences cannot convincingly be said to contain John made a man of himself or John is a man who is rich. John cannot make himself rich without making himself a rich man. The Factitive adjective rich does not occur in combination with man. Rather, the two are coincident. The new term, the result object of the verb, is rich, which, by a LEXICAL syntactic redundancy rule, becomes rich man. There are many instances in natural languages of such behavioral patterns with all types of verb modifiers. As another example of conversion determined by ordering, take the string, (10)Ajohn - well - hockey plays from which we derive either


(11) John is good at hockey playing (12) John is good at playing hockey (13) John plays hockey well

where the choice of 'good' or 'well' is determined by sentence position of the adverb of Manner. We could also say (14) John is a good man at hockey playing (15) John is a good hockey player 9

The Base is John (out (of)) himself rich made, where himself is derived from an adverb of Material - or Material Source - and rich from the category of the Factitive Object Phrase, which can differ in its features from the Material adverb only by the part-whole distinction. The features of the Material adverb determine the features of the object.




(16) John is good as a hockey player (17) John plays a good game of hockey,

and we are still working with the same Base string. It is only by viewing sentences as organized wholes that we are able to determine with any hope of completeness, their family relatedness. And it is only within a framework of configurational grammar that we can hope to achieve a simple explanation of the intransitives in English, or of the corresponding reflexive families in Spanish.



Andres Bello recognizes three kinds of regular transitive sentences: oblique, reflexive, and reciprocal.7 All three are defined in terms of the object of the verb. In the oblique 8 sentence the subject and object cannot be identical. In the reflexive and reciprocal sentences, the subject and object - or objects - MUST be identical. The same person is producer and recipient of the verbal activity. However, there are many types of reflexive sentences, according to Bello, which are reflexive only in form. The 'object' in such sentences is certainly the reflexive pronoun, but the speaker does not feel that the subject is acting upon itself. ". . . la reflexividad no pasa de los elementos gramaticales y no se presenta al espiritu sino de un modo sumamente fugaz y oscuro." 9 Such sentences he describes as pseudoreflexives. All the sentences described by Bello as direct object-reflexives (versus pseudoreflexives) contrast with oblique sentences. The reflexive pronoun occurs as the object of a verb which may be followed by other object nominals. The pseudoreflexive, on the other hand, occurs only in constructions where no oblique object is normally permitted. Therefore, although Bello distinguishes between the reflexive and pseudoreflexives according to whether the 'meaning' is reflexive, his descriptions reveal a formal distinction between the two categories. 2.0.1.

For simplicity of reference, I summarize here the characteristics attributed by Bello to four types of reflexive constructions in Spanish. (a) THE REFLEXIVE PASSIVE: Examples - Se admira la elocuencia 'Eloquence is admired', se promulgaron sabias leyes 'Wise laws were proclaimed'. This construction occurs only in the third person. Bello points out that although the reflexive contains both active and passive features, in these sentences only the passive idea 7

Andres Bello and Rufino J. Cuervo, Gramdtica de la lengua castellana, 6th edition (Editorial Sopena, 1960). 8 Bello uses the term 'oblique' to refer to regular, non-reflexive object nominals. » Bello, Op. Cit., p. 248.



remains. He points out also that the reflexive passive is to be avoided when there is any possibility of confusion with the reflexive object, especially if the subject is a person. (b) THE REFLEXIVE VERB: Examples - El se queja 'He complains', nos arrepentimos 'We repent'. These verbs require the reflexive pronoun. (c) THE REFLEXIVE WITH VERBS OF EMOTION: Examples - Nos espantamos de la muerte 'We are scared of death', Me alegro Ί become happy'. These he compares to sentences like La muerte me espanta 'Death frightens me', stating that the reflexive sentences announce the existence of a certain emotion or state, the real cause of which is indicated by a phrase such as de la muerte. (d) THE REFLEXIVE WITH INTRANSITIVE VERBS: Examples - Los presos se salieron 'The prisoners got out'. Bello includes in this category all the intransitive verbs which can become reflexive - quedar 'to be left'; ir 'to go'; entrar 'to enter'; salir 'to leave'; morir 'to die'; etc. - even though the meaning of the reflexive depends on the choice of verb. With some verbs (estar, quedar, ir) the reflexive denotes voluntary action: with others (morir, nacer) it is considered to be simply a sign of spontaneity. The discussions of types (a), (b), and (c) in GDLC include enough grammatical information to distinguish each construction from the others. The structural requirements for each of these can be restated formally, as I will show in Chapter IV. Analysis of the examples and descriptions of the intransitive-reflexive sentences, however, reveals that they cannot be accounted for by any set of simple, related grammatical rules. This may mean either that Bello's descriptions are incomplete, or incorrect (or both), or that these constructions are of a marginal sort that resist systematizing. At any rate, they must be investigated further, to determine what sorts of regularities they exhibit. 2.0.2. It is obviously impossible to assign grammatical labels to the constituents of the intransitive-reflexive constructions as they are described in GDLC. On the one hand, Bello insists that the reflexive pronoun must be defined as an object pronoun; on the other, he admits that with intransitive verbs (and, indeed, in all pseudoreflexive constructions) the pronoun does not indicate that the subject is acting upon itself. In his concern with the shades of meaning which the reflexive morpheme adds to various intransitive verbs, Bello has overlooked the fact that with some verbs, the 'pronoun' is not ADDED at all; it is an obligatory part of the sentence. We can say Juan se va de la casa 'John goes off from the house', but not *Juan va de la casa '*John goes from the house'. Surely the reflexive morpheme in this sentence cannot be interpreted either as a sign of spontaneity or of voluntary action, since it makes no difference whether the subject acts voluntarily or spontaneously: in any case the sentence MUST be reflexive.




In their Gramatica castellana (hereafter GC), Amado Alonso and Henriquez-Urefia adopt Bello's terminology for the reflexive constructions, but they point out that a crucial difference exists between the reflexives and pseudoreflexives, namely, that the relation of the pronoun to the verb in the latter constructions is not that of verb-object: " . . . no lo tienen como complemento directo, y, por lo tanto, la action no recae sobre el sujeto: me voy, te sorprendes, se murio . . .".10 Included among these are verbs of 'inner life' and verbs of movement. The first category seems to have at least three subdivisions in the GC: Causatives of emotion, verbs of mental process, and certain verbs which, although they do not indicate inner life, attain some nuance of it when they occur with the reflexive pronoun. The divisions in GC are indicated in the following paragraphs. 2.1.1.

With Causatives of emotion, the reflexive morpheme indicates 'entry into a state'. Its function is that of an inceptive particle as well as passive auxiliary. Enojarse is 'to become angry'; (as distinct from enojar 'to make angry') espantarse is 'to become frightened' (as distinct from espantar 'to frighten'); enjriarse 'to become cold' (as distinct from enfriar 'to chill'); calentarse 'to become hot' (as distinct from calentar 'to heat'). With the other verbs of this category, the reflexive is defined in GC as the reflexive of interest, saber, creer, imaginar, temer, comer, beber, tomar, quedar, estar are given as examples of this type. The addition of the reflexive morpheme to these verbs supposedly indicates an intensification of the inner life with which the action is executed. 2.1.2.

Verbs of movement are also subcategorized, in the GC, into those which are primary intransitives and those which may occur either with an oblique object or with the reflexive. With the latter, the reflexive functions as an intransitivizing morpheme. With some primary intransitives of motion, the reflexive functions as an inceptive particle; with others, according to the GC, it serves as some sort of completive particle. Irse and marcharse are 'to take leave, begin going' (as distinct from ir and marchar 'to go (somewhere)'). Entrarse, on the other hand, is 'to get in'. Transitive verbs of movement include levantar 'to raise' (as distinct from levantarse 'to rise'); senior 'to seat' (as distinct from sentarse 'to come to a sitting position, to sit'); acostar 'to put to bed' (as distinct from acostarse 'to go to bed'). 10

See Amado Alonso and Henriquez-Urefia, Gramatica castellana, segundo curso (Editorial Losada, S. Α., 1959), p. 105.



2.2. The problem that must be solved in an integrated description is essentially this: what are the features that distinguish reflexive and pseudoreflexive sentences? In what ways are they similar? My task in the remaining chapters is to prove through formal and configurational analysis, that for Spanish, as well as for English, the relatedness of causatives, intransitives, passives, and reflexives, is that of conditioned syntactic alternants.


In order to show that the reflexive affix is neither an object nor a pronoun, I present in this chapter an analysis of object pronominalization in Spanish. Object pronouns are said to have both clitic, or unstressed, and disjunctive, or stressed, forms. The clitic forms are obligatory; the disjunctive forms are thought to be optional additions chosen for clarity, emphasis, or contrast. One of the interesting properties of the clitic forms, which are inseparable verbal particles, is their occurrence in sentences with noun phrase - (NP) - objects. 1 The explanation of object pronominalization, therefore, requires answers to the following questions: (1) when the object is an NP, are there any instances in which the inseparable affixes are required; (2) when the object is an NP, are there any instances in which the affix CANNOT occur; and (3) since the answers to (1) and (2) are affirmative, we must ask what are the differences between the two types. The answers to these questions emerge from the examples that follow.



The inseparable affixes agree in person, number, and gender with some constituent or constituents of the Predicate Phrase (PP). The dominating constituent, as I have noted, may be either a pronoun (Prn) or an NP. With certain Causatives of motion and emotion, the affix is obligatory. This is the case, for example, in (1) Le sentaron a Juan en un banco 'They seated John on a bench' (2) A Juan le espanta (la idea de) la muerte '(The idea of) death frightens John' (3) (a) A Juan le alegro la noticia de mi buena suerte "The news of my good luck cheered John (up)' 1

These parenthesized symbols are the formal shorthand for the terms they follow in the text. Once introduced, they may be used at any time to refer to the terms they represent.



(b) Lo que le alegro a Juan fue la noticia de mi buena suerte 'What cheered John up was the news of my good luck' (4) (a) A Juan le interesa la lingiiistica 'Linguistics interests John' (b) Lo que le interesa a Juan es la lingiiistica 'What interests John is linguistics'. Notice that only in sentence (1) does the word order of the Spanish sentence correspond to that of the active sentence in English. In (2), and in (3) and (4) (a), the active sentence order is obligatory 'object-verb-subject'. The examples in (3) and (4) (b) illustrate the fact that, in contrast with non-causative sentences, these constructions require the affix in all their equivalent reshapings. 2 1.1.1. In non-causative sentences of the shape 'subject-verb-object', the inseparable affix occurs if the object is a named human noun. We cannot say or

(5) (a) *La conozco a esa chica (b) *La veo a esa chica

as a variant for


(5) (c) Conozco a esa chica Ί know that girl', (d) Veo a esa chica Ί see that girl'. 1.1.2.

Recall now that in sentences like


(6) (a) (Si,) la conozco a Maria '(Yes,) I know Mary', (b) Si, le hablo a Juan 'Yes, I speak to John',

the affixes la and le are thought to be optional. In fact, this is not the case, since and

(7) (a) Conozco a Maria (b) Hablo a Juan

have quite different grammatical fields from (6) (a) and (b). Sentence (6) (a) occurs in contexts such as 2

All sentences with definite objects require the inseparable affix when the object precedes the verb, but only certain causatives require it independently of the configuration.



(8) (a) L a conozco a Maria; me la presento su hermano ayer Ί know Mary; her brother introduced her yesterday'. Sentences like (7) (a), on the other hand, occur in contexts such as (8) (b) Conozco a Maria; (y se que) ella no haria eso Ί know Mary; (and I know) she wouldn't do that'. In addition to the examples in (8), we have such pairs as (9) (a) i,Le hablas a Juan? 'Do you talk to John?' (b) ^Hablas a Juan? 'Are you speaking to John (these days)?' The answer to the question in (9) (a) would be something like (10) (a) Si, le hablo cuando nos vemos en el club 'Yes, I talk to him when we see each other at the club'. Question (9) (b), however, could not have (10) (a) as an answer. A permissible answer to this second question would be (10) (b) No, no le hablo desde que nos peleamos 'No, I haven't been speaking (to him) since we fought'. 1.1.3. Now, it is crucial to note that the inseparable particles in the preceding sentences have no lexical status. Formally, they mark a relation of concord that exists between the verb and the object. This concord is required with Causative verbs when they behave causatively. Thus, the configurational distinction between and

(11) (a) Voy a acostar al nino (b) Voy a acostarle al nino

is essentially the same one that exists in English between and

(11) (c) I'm going to put the child to bed (d) I'm going to send the child to bed.

The configurational function of the inseparable affixes in these sentences is to make overt the double predicative capacity of Causative verbs. Formally, the verb in these sentences agrees with the subject in person and number, and with the object in person, number, and gender. The inseparable affix incorporates the object into the verbal activity: (12) (a) Estamos aburriendo a esa nina must be glossed as



(12) (b) We are boring that girl, where the focus is on the verbal activity. If we choose the affix, however, as in (12) (c) La estamos aburriendo a esa nifia, the best gloss would be (12) (d) We are getting that girl bored, where the object is a participant in the verbal activity. 1.1.4. It is always the case that the inseparable affix incorporates the object, whether the verb is Causative or non-Causative in its behavior. In (6) (a), the la marks the object as a participant: an equivalent reshaping of this sentence is (13) Si, nosotros nos conocemos 'Yes, we know each other'. Similarly, (10) (a) could be rewritten as (14) Si, nos hablamos cuando nos vemos en el club 'Yes, we talk when we see each other at the club'. The inseparable affixes, then, have no categorial status. They are introduced, like other concord markers, by syntactic redundancy rules.



When a definite human object is pronominalized in Spanish, verb-object concord is obligatory. La conozco a Maria is replaced by (15) La conozco a ella Ί know her'. Similarly, Le hable a Juan and A Juan le interesa la lingiiistica are replaced by


(16) (a) Le hable a el Ί spoke to him' (b) A el le interesa la lingiiistica 'Linguistics interests him'.

Notice that the Spanish object pronouns agree with the nouns they replace in six ways: they show concord for the features +Person, +Definite, +Human, +Gender, +Number, and +Object. The particle a marks a ella as human object, while the other concord features are indicated by the inflectional endings. Notice also, that



there is no way to define the verbal affixes as objects, since they cannot be preceded by an object marker, and since, as we have seen, they have no lexical status. It is because the pronoun objects in (16) (a) and (b) can be deleted that the inseparable affixes have been mistaken for pronouns. Indeed, the pronoun objects in these sentences occur only when a contrastive clause is recoverable. Thus the full sentence underlying (15) would be of the shape (17) La conozco a ella, pero no a su hermano Ί know her, but not her brother'. Similarly, (16) (a) derives from sentences like (18) Le hable a el, y no hice mäs que saludarla a ella Ί spoke to him and merely greeted her', where either the object or the verb and the object of the first clause are contrasted with those of the pero-clause.3 If no contrast clause is recoverable, these sentences are obligatorily reduced to


(19) (a) La conozco Ί do', (b) Le hable (ya) Ί spoke (to him) (already', (c) Le interesa la lingiiistica 'Linguistics interests (him)'. 1.2.1.

Again it is extremely important to note that these particles have no inherent pronominal status. They simply mark the verb as having a definite object. This distinction corresponds to the one found in Magyar between the 'subjective' conjugation, as in irok Ί write' and the 'objective' conjugation, irom Ί write', with a definite object such as 'it'. It is only because we know which pronoun has been deleted that we can supply 'him' or 'her' in the English translations. The Spanish sentences are ambiguous. A sentence like (20) (a) Lo conozco, for example, could be derived from (20) (b) Lo conozco a el 4


The effect of contrast on word order will be taken up in Chapter VI. In standard Castilian, the dialect on which the analyses in this book are based, this ambiguity does not exist with masculine, singular, human nouns, since we would say Le conozco a el rather than Lo conozco a el. 4




(c) Lo conozco, ese libro Ί know (it), that book'. 6



Pronouns are simply weak demonstrative determiners, and, like all demonstratives, they may co-occur with or completely replace the NP. Examples of co-occurrence are frequent in substandard English for both subject and object nouns. Ungrammatical perhaps in terms of standard English are such sentences as


(21) *My ma she said never to do that again, (22) *01d Griffin he stood there, the grizzly old drake (23) *Some of the boys they pulled him away.0

The point of the preceding observations is this: that the grammatico-semantic features of noun phrases can be made overt in numerous ways. In Spanish all nouns are marked for grammatical gender. In English, gender is often marked by a separate word. Thus, corresponding to criado we have 'manservant'; and for criada, 'maidservant'; and it would be just as configurationally erroneous to analyze 'manservant' as 'a servant who is a man' as it would be to analyze criado as un criad que es un o. In short, such features as gender, species, person, and number, which are inherent in nouns, can be manifested formally as either bound forms or free forms. In either case we are dealing with special syntactic redundancy rules, whereby what is categorically one may be more than one in form. 7 Pronouns, then, are like articles, demonstratives, and possessive determiners. 8 They are dominated by noun phrases and have no categorial status other than as replacives. They are functions, therefore, of their dominating nouns and the requirements of the configuration.



Basic to the understanding of reflexivization - intransitivization - in Spanish is an understanding of the functions of the inseparable affixes with respect to adverbs of motion and direction. The inseparable affix marks a directional relation that holds between a direct object and an adverb of motion. I use the term 'directional' in an abstract sense, to refer to both the literal and metaphorical functions of these 5

Notice incidentally that in (20Xc) the object is not part of a contrast clause. On the contrary, it is a tag and is de-stressed. • Examples (21) and (22) are quoted from "The Ballad of Moosehead Lake", as recorded in Alan Lomax's The Folksongs of North America (Doubleday, 1960). 7 In standard English sentences such as It is easy to scare John, the it is simply the pronoun required by the configuration. It refers to the phrase, to scare John. 8 Historically, of course, the third person pronouns in both Spanish and English derive from demonstratives.



particles. Their behavior can be described in the same terms as the particles required in some languages to indicate 'directional toward, coming from elsewhere' and 'directional from, going elsewhere'.0 As we saw in 1.2, these affixes are assignable by redundancy rules. Their surface structure relatedness is essentially the same as the English directionals, up, down, and so on. Consider the following sentences.


(24) Le di el asiento a Maria Ί gave the seat to Mary' (25) Le puse los zapatos al nifio Ί put the child's shoes on him' (26) El dentista le saco un diente a Pedro 'The dentist took out one of Peter's teeth' (27) Le compre una casa a Pedro Ί bought a house from Peter'.

The particle le in (26) has been defined as an optional indirect pronoun in concord with a Maria. In the other three sentences the le has been called the 'Dative of interest', a term I reject here for several reasons. First, it has been badly misinterpreted: 'interest' is construed as some emotional involvement of the indirect object in an action being performed to his advantage or disadvantage. There is no grammatical basis for such an interpretation, nor for the extension of this interpretation to cover certain intransitive reflexive types. The interest that the indirect object holds in the sentence is that the shoes and the tooth are HIS. His interest, therefore, is nothing more than possession. There is nothing in the grammatical field, and nothing in the semantic field that indicates that the action is performed for the benefit of anyone.10 In the sentence (28) Le retorci el pie Ί twisted his foot', it can certainly be said that the action results in some disadvantage to the indirect object, for the obvious reason that the verb is 'twist', and the twisting is performed on someone's foot. 1.4.1. Notice now that the examples in (24) through (27) have identical surface structures, 9

The directional particles are discussed in "Intransitivization in English" (hereafter referred to as "Intransitivization") in terms of their behavior in English. I am primarily concerned here with their behavior in Spanish, but correspondences with English will be pointed out where relevant. 10 A s J. Katz and J. Fodor point out, the most we can expect of a semantic theory is that it explicate ambiguities, synonymies, and paraphrases that are possible for a sentence without reference to context. There is no possible paraphrase of these sentences which allows the notions of benefit or disadvantage. See J. Katz and J. Fodor, "The Structure of a Semantic Theory", Language, 39, No. 2 (1963), 170-210.



but three different deep structures. In (24), the phrase a Maria is derived from a Dative adverb - the category of the recipient of the activity. In (25), al nino is a literal Destination adverb; and in (26) and (27), a Pedro derives from an adverb of Source. What these adverbs have in common is their participation in the verbal activity. This is signaled by the le.

1.4.2. The inseparable affix incorporates the object or 'indirect object' into the verbal activity. It bears a predicate relation to the indirect object; and the verb, therefore, bears a predicate relation to both the subject and the indirect, or involved, object. The predicate functions of the affix are to identify both objects as participants in the motion, and to indicate a relation of coincidence between the object and the Destination or Source. In short, the affix marks a coincidence relation holding between the object and the adverbs. For example, in the English sentence, and

(29) (a) I put John's shoes on him (b) I put John's shoes on for him,

the directional particle on marks the object as a participant at the Destination, which is John.11 The Base for this sentence is (29) (C)AI (on) John shoes put,12 where the Destinative adverb bears a relation of coincidence with the object. It also bears a relation of possession to the object. This is generally the case with Dative and other human Destinative or Source objects, when the direct object is left unspecified for possession. Again we note that the relations of coincidence and possession are assignable by redundancy rules. 1.4.3. Directional specifiers versus concord


The configurational behavior of the inseparable affixes in Spanish corresponds to that of the separable directional affixes in English. They mark a coincidence relation that holds between the object and a motion adverb. English specifies the direction of travel from Source to Destination; Spanish marks the verb for concord with the 11 Possessive relations exist between certain Source adverbs and Factitive objects. A n example of this is John expresses his ideas well. We must recognize among these relations both objective and subjective possession. The preceding example is subjective. John's gift could derive either from the to John given gift or the by John given gift. In no case can possession be said to derive from sentences of the shape 'X has a Y'. This structure is always derived by a truncation or a redundancy expansion. These rules are discussed in my paper on "Syntactic Dissimilation", delivered at the 1967 Summer meeting of L.S.A., and available from ERIC Clearinghouse for Linguistics. 12 The justification for this ordering in the Base is discussed in "Intransitivization" and will be referred to again in Chapter VI. The symbol Λ is used here and elsewhere to mark the example as a terminal string.



Source or Destination. This difference in treatment creates different types of ambiguities from those that occur in English sentences. In English, (30) I washed John's hands off, which could be reduced from either (31) (a) I washed John's hands off of him or

(b) I washed the dirt off (of) John's hands,

the noun hands is ambiguously the Source adverb or the object. In Spanish, (32) Le lave las manos a Juan Ί washed (the dirt off of) John's hands', las manos is unambiguously the Source adverb. 13 If, however, sentence (27) is reduced to (33) Le compre la casa, the le is ambiguous: it could mark either an adverb of Destination or one of Source. The sentence could be interpreted either as or as

(34) (a) I bought the house for him, (b) I bought the house from him.

Whether the directional marks a '/^m-relation' or a 'fo-relation' is a function of the adverb it agrees with.



All pronominalization presupposes repetition of referent. If the repetition occurs within certain categories of the same clause, the second occurrence is obligatorily reflexivized.11 As illustrated in 1.2, proper selection of pronouns requires that nouns be specified for the feature [+Human], as well as for their inherent gender and number. Reflexive directs object or Dative object-constructions occur grammatically only as replacements of Human nouns. Reflexivization is required in Spanish when some Objective Phrase constituent repeats the subject. Thus, a string such as (35) (a)AMaria cree en Maria 1 5 'Mary believes in Mary' 13 Note that while we do not say *Le lave el polvo de las manos, we can say Le quite el polvo de las manos Ί got the dirt off his hands', where the 'generic' verb underlying lavar is retained. 14 See R. B. Lees and E. S. Klima, "Rules for English Pronominalization", Language, 39, No. 1 (1963). 15 The phrase en Maria is a figurative Locative adverb.



is obligatorily converted into (35) (b) Maria cree en si misma 'Mary believes (has belief placed) in herself'. Similarly, (36) (a)Ajuan tiene confianza en Juan is converted into (36) (b) Juan tiene confianza en si mismo 'John has confidence (placed) in himself'. The reflexive pronouns in (35) and 36) consist of the reflexive marker si and the intensifier mismo 'same', which agrees in gender and number with the subject. When the repeated constituent behaves as a direct or a Dative object, as in


(37) Juan se conoce a si mismo 'John knows himself' (38) Maria se miro a si misma 'Mary looked at herself',

the particle se is attached to the verb. This particle, like le and lo, has no lexical status. It simply marks a relation of identity between the subject and some predicate constituent. With most verbs, the reflexive affix indicates subject-object identity 16 ONLY when the a si mismo is recoverable. Therefore, it is obvious that the disjunctive phrase is what makes se a reflexive object-marker. In the sentence, (39) Maria la conoce a ella 'Mary knows her', the oblique object contrasts with the reflexive of the condensed sentence, (40) Maria se conoce bastante bien 'Mary knows herself well enough', because, and only because we can say (41) Maria se conoce a si misma. If no disjunctive phrase is recoverable, there is no way to show that the reflexive morpheme se agrees with an underlying object noun in gender, number, and [+Human]; hence there is no way to show that it is an object-marker. The a indicates the relation 'human object'; the si mismo is marked for the appropriate agreements. The affixed se agrees with the subject in person and number - as does, say, the passive auxiliary BEEN in English - but not in gender. le

There are, as we will see, reflexive intransitive verbs for which no a si mismo is possible.




There are several types of indirect (Destinative and Source) reflexives in Spanish. They have commonly been divided into two main groupings: indirect objects and reflexives of interest. The former category has been said to include such diverse sentences as


(42) Juan se lo repetia muchas veces a si mismo 'John repeated it to himself often' (43) Maria lo trajo consigo 'Mary brought it with her (to her present location)' (44) Maria se lo llevo consigo 'Mary took it away with her (from here)' (45) Juan la acerco a si 'John drew her toward him'.

Now since the indirect objects in the preceding sentences must be assigned to the same major category - the category of Destination - the differences in overt form must be explained by some other parts of the predicate. A close examination of the internal relations that obtain among the participants reveals that in (42), a relation of strict identity holds between the subject and the DativeP, while a relation of coincidence holds among the subject, the object, and the DativeP. In (43) we note identity (coincidence) of object, subject, and Destination, as well as a reflexive relation between the subject and the Accompaniment adverb. In sentence (44), the subject and object are participants at - coincident with - the Source adverb, and the subject and Accompaniment adverb are identical. The intercategorial identity relations of these sentences can be summed up as follows:


(42) (43) (44) (45)

(a) (a) (a) (a)

subject - Factitive Object Phrase - DativeP subject - object - Accompaniment - Destination subject - object - Accompaniment - ElativeP subject - object - AllativeP.17 2.1.1.

Notice that the clitic se occurs only in (42) and (44), while the reflexive object pronoun a si mismo occurs only in (42). The formal distinctions in these four sentences are functions of the differences in internal - or membership - relatedness. Sentences (42) and (45) can be said to have reflexive objects, although the reflexive Prn in (45) must stand alone; there is no (46) *Lo acerco a si mismo *'He drew it toward himself. 17

DativeP is the category of the receiver of the object; DestinativeP is the 'place at which'; AllativeP is the 'place toward which'; ElativeP is the Source qua 'place out of which'.



2.1.2. It is instructive to compare examples (43) through (45) with their English equivalents, all of which contain simple pronouns. The rule presented by Lees and Klima restricts reflexivization to the repetition of a noun in the same clause (simplex sentence).18 They suggest, therefore, that such a sentence as (47) John had no covering over him is a complex, consisting of (48) (a) John had + Complement no covering (b) No covering is over John. Such an interpretation seems to me to be quite counterintuitive. There is no more feeling of a transformational break in this sentence than there is in or

(49) John had (put) no blanket on the bed (50) John had (put) no coat on (him).

Nor is there any such feeling about


(51) (52) (53) (54)

He had (scattered) many books about him He took it with him He drew her near him He pushed it away from him.

On the other hand, in such sentences as and

(55) John has many books about himself (56) They appointed only men like themselves to the position,

the Predicate Phrases could be expanded into and

(55) (a) has (had) many books written about him 19 (56) (a) men who were like them . . . .

If we choose the expansions in (55) and (56) (a), the simple pronouns are required; if we do not choose them, the reflexive pronouns are required. In other words, whether we view the expanded sentences configurationally - as extraction-clause equivalents - or as two-string sentences, it is quite clear that reflexivization is not restricted to nouns repeated within a simplex.20 18

Lees and Klima, Op. Cit. This sentence is, of course, ambiguous. It could derive either from a causative such as John has hired written about him many books or from the mediopassive sentence illustrated in (53)(a). 20 Extraction equivalents will be discussed in Chapter VI. Here it is sufficient to note that these clauses make overt some relation implicit in the active sentence without changing information. 19



2.1.3. The discussion in 2.1.2 must now be considered in terms of the Spanish indirect reflexives. English uses the simple pronoun within a simplex sentence when the repeated noun derives from certain adverbial phrases - namely, Accompaniment, and literal Source and Destinative adverbs. The reflexive Prn, on the other hand, must be used when the repeated noun is part of a Specification Phrase, an inner Destinative Phrase, a DativeP, or a direct object. 21 In those cases where English uses the simple Prn, Spanish has the Prn without mismo. That is, it uses the SIMPLE reflexive Prn. Mismo is used in just those cases where English uses 'self' (though the latter is used in some cases where Spanish permits only si).22 2.1.4. The second type of indirect reflexive referred to in 2.0 is the so-called reflexive of interest. This definition is supposed to cover


(57) Juan se lavo las manos 'John washed his hands', (58) Juan se puso la chaqueta 'John put his jacket on (him)', (59) Juan se quito la corbata 'John took his necktie o f f , (60) Juan se rompio la pierna 'John broke his leg'.

The analysis in (57) through (60) parallels that of directionals and possession in 1.4 through 1.4.3 of this chapter, except with respect to disjunctive phrases. Although we can say (61) Juan se lavo a si mismo 'John washed himself (off)' there is no or

(62) *Juan se lavo las manos a si mismo (63) *Juan se puso la chaqueta a si mismo.

What these sentences have in common is a reflexive relation that holds between the 21 In Identification Phrases, such as ' l i k e + N P ' , reflexivization is generally limited to the third person in American English. 22 Specification Phrases occur with inner cognate verbs, such as know in know (knowledge) about the plan; think (thoughts) about the matter; and with certain types of inner Causatives, as in give permission to go (= about or concerning going). Inner Destinatives are exemplified by Look into yourself versus I drew it toward me. Reflexivization is required also when the repeated noun derives f r o m an inner Source adverb, as in Mary expresses herself well.



subject and either a Locative or Source adverb. The reflexive affix in these sentences also marks a directional relation holding between the Source or Location and the object. Thus, the se indicates more than a reflexive relation between subject and adverb. It indicates also a relation of reflexive possession of the object. This same relation exists in (64) John washed his hands, where the his is interpretable as pleonastic, as is indicated by formal directions of the sort, 'First wash the face in warm water; then apply the medicated cream'. The article preceding face is a substitute for your. Now, in Spanish, when a whole-part relation exists between the subject and the object or motion adverb, and when a coincidence relation exists between the object and the adverb, a syntactic haplology rule must be applied, which leaves the reflexive affix to mark both the directional and the possessive relations. Syntactic haplology must be sharply distinguished from ellipsis. Haplology involves condensation without ambiguity or loss of information. Ellipsis, on the other hand, always involves loss of information and results in ambiguity. An example of ellipsis is found in (60), which is ambiguously derived from either


(65)Ajuan rompio la pierna a Juan 'John broke (John') the leg' (66)ΛΧ rompio la pierna a Juan 'X broke John the leg'.

In Spanish, the reflexive pronoun, a si mismo occurs only in active reflexive sentences; in English, on the other hand, this pronoun can occur in both active and mediopassive sentences. In all cases, the English pronoun marks a whole-part relation that obtains between the subject or some Objective constituent and a body part or a Factitive object. Thus, sentences like (67) John expresses himself well are derived from Bases of the sort (68) John expresses (out of himself) (his) ideas well. This same whole-part relation exists in Spanish reflexive sentences. The ambiguity in (58) is the same for both Spanish and English, since John broke his leg could be interpreted as an active reflexive sentence or as a mediopassive alternant for (69) (a) John got his leg broken, which alternates with and

(69) (b) John got himself a broken leg, (c) John got a broken leg.

The ambiguities that exist between reflexive and mediopassive sentences will be discussed for both languages in Chapter III.


The intimate relationship of reflexives to intransitives and passives has generally been viewed as notional rather than grammatical. It has been argued, for example, that whether a sentence is syntactically active or passive depends completely on the form of the verb.1 This is not the case, as we will see in this chapter. The notion of voice is relational rather than formal or categorial.2 The voice of a sentence can be made syntactically overt in numerous ways. For example, the choice of inseparable affixes with noun phrase-objects in Spanish makes overt the participation of the object or indirect object in the verbal activity. But voice change can occur also with no change in verbal form. This is the case with intransitive mediopassives in English, which correspond quite consistently to several types of Spanish reflexives and to the middle voice in Greek. In Eskimo and Ooldea, the subject of a transitive verb is in the active case, while a passive case affix is attached to verbal objects and intransitive subjects. In some cases, a change of voice is achieved simply by a change in word order.8 The theoretical relevance of these observations is this: that any alteration of the active relationship of the verb to the participants, whether in terms of membership behavior or of form and membership behavior, is a voice conversion, and voice conversions occur independently of any morphological alteration of the verb. It follows, therefore, that there are as many possible voice modulations as there are ways in which participant relations can be manifested. The simplest voice change in Spanish is achieved by deletion of a generic cognate object, as in Juan canta bien (condones) 'John sings (songs) well'. The most complex are the various types of passives which involve special verbal auxiliaries, as well as positional and formal 1

See Otto Jespersen, The Philosophy of Grammar (London, Allen and Unwin, 1924). The term 'formal' refers to lexical categories, such as NP and Prn. The term categorial refers to the highest level categories, such as Means Phrase, Destinative Phrase, and so on. Given the categorial membership, lexical membership is predictable. The reverse is not true. 3 This is true, for example, in Spanish: Se abre la puerta a las diez corresponds to 'The door gets opened at ten'. La puerta se abre a las diez to 'The door opens at ten'. 2



change of participants.4 Between these extremes are several types of intransitive reflexive constructions. 1.0.


Whether the reflexive pronoun must be deleted depends on the relationship of both subject and object to the Source, the Destination, and the Means Phrase. For example, with all reflexives of motion, both subject and reflexive object are participants at the Source and the Destination. With these verbs, the reflexive object is obligatorily deleted. Thus, although it has commonly been said that such verbs as acostarse, levantarse, and sentarse are most accurately translated as 'to put oneself to bed', 'to raise oneself', and 'to seat oneself, these translations are incorrect. We cannot say (1) *Juan se sento a si mismo (2) * Juan se acosto a si mismo (3) *Juan se levanto a si mismo.


In fact, the verbs which correspond to these in English turn out to be more nearly accurate glosses. Sentarse is 'to sit (up or) down'; levantarse is 'to rise up' or 'to get up'; and acostarse is 'to go to bed'. The reflexive affix with these verbs performs the functions of directional affix and intransitivizing morpheme. As intransitive marker, it plays essentially the same role as stem change in from and from

(4) (a) (b) (5) (a) (b)

I sit down, I set me down, I rise at seven every morning, I raise me at seven every morning.



Intransitivization is required also in Spanish verbs of motion through space. Observe the following sentences: (6) Juan se escondio deträs de un ärbol 'John hid behind a tree', (7) Juan se puso en camino para Londres 'John set out on the road to London', (8) Juan se acerco a Maria 'John drew near to Mary', (9) Juan se volvio a casa 'John returned home (from here)'. 4

These changes include nominalizations, verbalizations, and adjectivalizations, as we will see.



The English sentences corresponding to (6) and (8) may occur with or without the reflexive pronoun. We can say and

(10) John hid himself behind a tree (11) John drew himself near Mary,

but we cannot say or

(12) *Juan se escondio a si mismo deträs de un ärbol (13) *Juan se acerco a si mismo a Maria.5

Notice that in all the preceding examples the reflexive affix has directional functions. In (6) and (8), the se corresponds to the English Daff, which specifies 'directional toward, coming from elsewhere'. In (7) and (9) se corresponds to Edir, which specifies 'directional from, going elsewhere'. Thus, sentence (9) would be understood only as 'John went back home from here'. On the other hand, in (14) Juan volvio a casa 'John returned home', there is no reference to the Source. In all cases the reflexive affix points to the Source of the activity, whether the Source is the place where the subject was, or whether the Source is the subject.



In Spanish, the reflexive affix is always an intransitivizing morpheme. No predicate constitutent in a reflexive sentence can become the subject of a SER-passive sentence. However, there are instances in which a reflexive sentence with a nonreflexive object is ambiguously active or mediopassive. This is the case, for example, in


(15) Juan se corto el dedo 'John cut his finger', (16) Juan se rompio la pierna 'John broke his leg',

which could derive either from or

(15) (a)Ajuan a Juan el dedo corto, (16) (a)Ajuan a Juan la pierna rompio,

or from 5

Notice that this holds also for vestirse, although in English we can say either Mary dressed in white or Mary dressed herself in white; in Spanish we can say only Maria se vistio de bianco.

36 or


(15) (b)AX a Juan el dedo corto, (16) (b)AX a Juan la piema rompio.

Thus, like the corresponding English sentences, these examples can be interpreted as either

and or as and

(17) (a) (b) (c) (d)

John John John John

cut his finger (himself) broke his leg (himself), got his finger cut, got his leg broken.

Clearly, in the sense of (17) (c) and (d), both the English and the Spanish sentences are mediopassive inversions. This is apparent in (18) (a) Juan se cayo y se rompio la pierna 'John fell down and broke his leg', where the conjoined sentence in English is an alternant for (17) (d) or for (18) (b) John's leg was broken. 2.0.1. The problem in analysis of the English sentence is to account for the alternation of the possessive determiner and the 'object' in the mediopassive equivalents. This can be achieved by carrying the analysis of the GET-passive a little further. (17) (d) has the same deep structure as


(19) John got himself a broken leg, (20) John got a broken leg.

The category of the reflexive pronoun in the GET-passive is apparent in (19), where it is quite clear that John and himself are derived from the same node, since, if we accepted the traditional interpretation of the Base, (21) X for John the leg broken (to his disadvantage), we would have to assume that (19) has the same structure as 'John got himself a new hat', which is not the case.0 The whole noun and its reduplicated whole - the 6

In the GET-passive and all other mediopassives requiring a passive participle, the reflexive pronoun is simply a reduplication of whatever noun is passive subject. This is true for I had my book stolen from me and I got myself badly bruised in a fall. In the first of these examples, the passive subject and the me of from me are both derived from the literal Source adverb; in the second / is the passive subject and myself is the optional substitute for a partitive noun such as my leg.



reflexive pronoun - or the pleonastic determiner are derived, not from the object node, but from the Destinative adverb.7 2.0.2.

The Bases underlying the active and mediopassive sentences analyzed here are the same for both English and Spanish. The se of the Spanish Juan se rompio la pierna marks the object as part of the subject, but has no lexical status.8



In the sentences, (22) Juan se corto el pelo, (23) Juan se construyo una casa, and (24) Maria se hizo un vestido, the subject is interpretable as either the Cause of the activity, or as the active subject. These sentences could be understood as either (22) (a) John cut his hair, (23) (a) John built himself a house, (24) (a) Mary made herself a dress, or as


(22) (b) Juan se hizo cortar el pelo 'John had his hair cut', (23) (b) Juan se hizo construir una casa 'John had himself a house built', (24) (b) Maria se hizo hacer un vestido 'Mary had herself a dress made'. 9

Notice that only (23) (a) manifests the same ambiguity exhibited by (23). In John built himself a house, John may be the actual builder, or he may have hired the building done. 7

Actually, there are very few verbs with human nouns as direct objects, and these are chiefly simple verbs of motion. The traditional notion of the object as the 'goal' of the activity is generally more acceptable when speaking of the human 'object'. 8 Tesniere, in his Elements de syntaxe structurale, notes that there is a dialect in French where the affix does not conjugate for person with certain verbs. Thus one hears, Je se lave, tu se lave, il se lave, where the se generalizes to include all three persons. In Spanish, children are admonished to say sientense 'sit down' instead of sientesen, where the AFFIX is actually INFIXED.

" Notice that, textbooks of Spanish notwithstanding, these sentences do not alternate with subjunctive sentences. We do not say *Maria hizo que se hiciera un vestido.



Traditionally, a reflexive sentence is defined as one in which the subject is both agent and patient. Configurationally, reflexives and passives - or rather, reflexives, causatives, intransitives, and passives - are conditioned alternants.10 These constructions exhibit a pattern of alternation not unlike the conditioned variants of a phoneme, as we will see in Chapter IV.

10 This statement can be expanded to include several types of mediopassives, causatives, and many nominalizations.


As we have seen, several terms have been used to explain the grammar and semantics of the reflexive affix. Among these are interest, spontaneity, emotional involvement - in short, affect. This means, supposedly, that in all those cases where the affix does not literally represent action by the subject, on or for the subject, the subject is still in some little understood way, acting on itself. Therefore, it is argued that the reflexive corresponds to the middle voice in Greek. The accepted definition of the middle, of course, is 'action by the subject, on or for the subject'.1 That the Spanish reflexives are middle verbs is undeniable. Also undeniable is the fact that the relational functions of the middle voice have been as thoroughly misrepresented as has the Spanish reflexive. The passive voice simply reverses the active relation; the paraphrastic causative makes overt the active and passive functions of the object. The middle includes features of the active, or of the passive, or of the causative, according to the type of verb. In all cases where the middle affix se occurs, it indicates some modification of the active or transitive direction of the verb. The definition of the middle emerges from the study of Spanish reflexives. The affix se is, in all of its occurrences, the auxiliary of the middle voice. In order to show how this is so, we must first define the transitive voice.

1 The most commonly agreed upon definition of the middle voice is concisely stated by Adelaide Hahn in "Partitive Apposition" (Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Linguists, p. 789): "The middle verb indicates that the subject acts either (a) directly on himself, or (b) indirectly for himself." In fact, as we shall see, this definition accounts only for those occurrences of the middle with expressed or recoverable reflexive objects (whether in Greek or Spanish). A much more accurate definition of the middle was given by Dionysius of Thrace in Art of Grammar (in the translation found in General Course in Language, Vol. 1, The Chicago University Press, 1944): "action is . . . Ί-strike'; passion is Ί-am-struck', while the intermediate middle represents sometimes action, sometimes passion, as 'I-stand-fixed'. Ί-stand-ruined', 'I-did-for-myself, Ί-wrote-for-myself." In this chapter we shall see that the middle is precisely a combination of active and passive features never wholly equivalent to either of the other voices.




In classical Latin grammar a transitive verb was defined as one which could undergo a passive or mediopassive transformation. All other verbs were called 'neutral' or 'intransitive'. It was the scholastics who limited the definition of 'transitive' to verbs which take direct objects. They apparently misinterpreted the term, which might best be glossed as 'convertibility' or 'transformability', a property which was considered independent of the occurrence of a direct object. The term 'intransitive', on the other hand, can be interpreted as 'nontransformable'. However, intransitive, like transitive and passive, is a voice. An intransitive sentence in Latin is one that might be said to have already undergone transformation. It is 'intratransitional', rather than 'neutral'. The classical definition of transitive is accepted in this study, since it is perfectly clear that passivization is by no means limited to sentences that take direct objects. On the contrary, there are sentences with direct objects which cannot be passivized, and sentences with no direct objects which CAN undergo a passive transformation. A transitive sentence, then, is one that can undergo some passive or mediopassive transformation. And for every middle or passive sentence, we must presuppose theoretically a corresponding transitive sentence, as we will see in the analyses that follow.



Bello recognizes in sentences like


(1) Juan se espanta fäcilmente 'John frightens easily', (2) Juan se enfada fäcilmente 'John angers easily',

a type of object inversion. From his observations we infer a Base string such as (3)AUnspecified subject fäcilmente Juan espanta.2 An important characteristic of these constructions is that they focus on the inherent capacity of the object for becoming frightened or angry. They are not limited, however, to sentences containing Manner adverbs. We can say also


(4) (a) Juan se espanta de la muerte 'John gets frightened (at the thought) of death', (b) Juan se enfada por nada 'John gets angry over nothing'.

Notice that the reflexive affix is required in these sentences. There is no (5) * Juan espanta de la muerte 8

Actually this Base is incorrect, but it is used at this point for the sake of simplicity.




(6) *Juan enfada por nada.

Notice also that no agent is recoverable or even implied in these inversions. There is no (7) *Juan se espanta por la muerte. What is implicit in these sentences is 'disengagement' from whatever the subject permits to bother him. Among the distinguishing characteristics of these constructions, then, are a HYPOTHETICAL subject which may be unrecoverable, and an optional adverb of Frequency, such as siempre 'always'. The hypothetical subject may be John's thoughts about something or any appropriate X. In intransitive passives, according to G. O. Curme, the activity proceeds naturally and spontaneously from the subject.3 Formally, these intransitive inversions lie between the opposite poles of active and passive; that is, they are mediopassive.4 2.1. The intransitives analyzed in 2.0 will be referred to as habitual mediopassives. There is another group of mediopassives with human subjects in which the subject underlying Source or Dative object - responds to a causal force. For example, we can say,


(8) Juan se alegro mucho al oir la noticia 'John became very happy upon hearing the news', (9) Juan se quedo triste al saber que no salio bien en los exämenes 'John became sad on learning he had not come out well in the exams'.

The subjects in (8) and (9) are the Cause Phrases. A time lag is implied in these sentences between the Cause Phrase and the Predicate Phrase. I assume for these sentences a Base in which Cause Phrase is an alternant of the Subject Phrase, and the Predicate Phrase is the result clause. I do not assume a multi-sentence Base for these sentences.5 The first breakdown in their generation is simply (10) #2# 3

->- Cause Phrase

Predicate Phrase.

See George O. Curme, Syntax (Boston, D. C. Heath, 1931), 437-447. There is a relationship between verbs which can undergo the middle transformation and those which can be converted into resultative (state) passives, as we shall see. 5 I hold that there is no recursion through S, but rather there are expansions of individual categorial nodes. When we return to #S#, we are starting a new sentence. Infinite depth does not in any essential way imply infinite recursion through #S#. The notion of recursion through S, which is generally accepted, has led to numerous derivations in which the information assumed in the input sentences contradicts the information of the output. This is true, for example in I told him to go. This sentence gives us no information about whether anybody went anywhere. The Base suggested for these sentences, I told him and He went simply doesn't work. 4



The Cause Phrase for (8) is then expanded into the temporal clause cuando oyo Juan la noticia, or, into al oir la noticia, or if we choose an active equivalent, the sentence has a simple form: (11) A Juan le alegro la noticia. The distinction between simplex and complex, then, at least in sentences like the preceding ones, is not basic; it is configurational.



It has often been repeated that the only grammatical feature which distinguishes the mwmo-reflexive from the reflexive — intransitive — passive is that in the latter the subject is inanimate. 6 However, there are other formal differences between the two constructions. The reflexive passive must be interpreted, not as a basic active sentence, but as a type of passive transformation. If we interpret the se of (12) Se abren las puertas a las nueve "The doors open at nine o'clock' as a replacive for a repeated nominal, important linguistic facts and relations are obscured. First, and by no means trivial, is that this sentence is felt to be a type of impersonal passive in which the NP is a passive subject and an expressed agent is not permitted. 7 Furthermore, there is no recoverable disjunctive phrase, as there is in sentences where se is an object marker. and

(13) (a) *Se abren las puertas a si mismas (b) *Las puertas se abren a si mismas 'The doors open themselves'

are ungrammatical. Notice next that this verb, when it has an inanimate subject, cannot occur without se. There is no (14) *Lo abren las puertas *'The doors open it'. In short, sentence (13) comes from a Base having an unspecified subject: (15)λΧ abre la puerta. In (13) the NP is the grammatical subject. In (15) it is the object. The presence of « See page 156 of Nida's Morphology (The University of Michigan Press, 1949, second edition), where the se of se pega 'he hits himself' and se dice 'it is said', are formally equated. The difference between these two is semantic, according to Nida. 7 By "not permitted" I mean that the agentive phrase por + NP is ungrammatical in these sentences. It does occur in substandard language, however, its occurrence being one more proof that the se is a passive Aux.



the se, then, in (13) changes the constituent structure of the sentence. In short, (13) is a transformation of (15). It is, furthermore, the only passive that can be derived from a string containing the indefinite subject X. There is no (16) *Son abiertas las puertas (por uno) 'The doors are opened (by one)'. Both in the reflexive passive and its English equivalent, there is a contrast with the agentive passive (BE EN and SER DO). The latter refers to the contact of the passive verb with the subject, whereas the reflexive passive refers to the activity in process, action being carried on and affecting the subject. The reflexive passive differs from English equivalents with respect to inversion, however. If the NP in a Spanish sentence has no determiner, or is a que-clause nominalization (attached to a minimal string), inversion is not permitted. Thus, we can say


(17) Se cantaron himnos 'Hymns were sung' (18) Se sabe que es verdad 'It is known that it is true',

but not or

(19) *Himnos se cantaron (20) *Que es verdad se sabe.



It is important to note that although the reflexive passive sentences have often been referred to as examples of optional subject-inversion, the order 'Verb + subject' is GRAMMATICALLY THE BASIC ORDER OF THESE CONSTRUCTIONS. Sentences with this order correspond generally to GET-passives in English. It is only when the reflexive passive subject is moved to the front of the sentence that it can be said to be inverted, and the inverted sentences generally correspond to English intransitive passives or '-able' constructions. Thus, a sentence such as (21) La puerta se abre sola corresponds to (22) The door opens by itself.8 Κ the Base contains an adverb of Manner, a further conversion is permitted, creating a simple intransitive, as in 8

Se abriö sola la puerta 'It opened by itself, the door (did)', is obviously a different transformation.



(23) La puerta abre bien "The door opens well', in which the verb is completely disengaged from the hypothetical subject. In this sentence we are describing the construction of the door.



The examples in 3.0 and 3.1 with the exception of (17) - (20), are habitual mediopassives. Further examples of this construction are


(24) Se rasga el papel fäcilmente 'Paper is (to be) torn easily', (25) Se cierra la ventana fäcilmente "The window is (to be) closed easily'.

These constructions, like those in 2.0 with human subjects, focus on the inherent capacity of the object for tearing, closing, etc. The word order given above is the basic, colorless order. Notice that the sentence is contrastive if we invert the subject: (26) (a) El papel se rasga fäcilmente contrasts the paper with something else. The full sentences underlying (26) (a) and (26) (b) La ventana se cierra fäcilmente might be something like


(27) (a) El papel se rasga fäcilmente, pero la tela no 'Paper tears easily, but cloth doesn't' (b) La ventana se cierra fäcilmente, pero la puerta no 'The window closes easily, but the door doesn't'.

Notice also that it is the NP we are contrasting in these sentences, not just the verb. The grammatical rule which produces this word order is, therefore, at odds with the rule presented by Dr. D. L. Bolinger, who has stated that sentences like (24) are examples of optionally inverted word order. According to his rule, Spanish places the most important element (the information point) in final position.9 He would have us interpret as

(28) Päper tears (' = phonetic loud stress) (29) Se rasga el papel

and • See D. L. Bolinger, "English Prosodic Stress and Spanish Sentence Order", Hispania, (1954), 152-156.





(30) Paper teärs (31) El papel se rasga.10

As I have already indicated, these inversions are grammatically conditioned. They occur independently of loud stress. In fact, the so-called inversion in (31) is not at all equivalent to phonetic loud, or emphatic, stress in English. An element in its basic position can obviously not have been switched to that position for emphasis.11 Furthermore, as we have seen, when the word order in (31) is possible, it is the NP which may receive loud stress, not the verb. 3.2.1. The invariable se of the reflexive passive sentence functions as a verbal auxiliary. It marks the verb as a mediopassive intransitive, which focuses on what Aristotle called the phora 'the state of being borne along'. These constructions may, of course, include completion of the activity. For example, in (32) (32) Se abrio la puerta a las nueve 'The door got opened at nine', the verb is in the completive aspect, but the activity is viewed as having been 'going on', as well as being completed. This is distinguished from (33) Juan abrio la puerta 'John opened the door', in which the activity is simply completed. By way of further illustration, the progressive passive in English, (34) A house is being built there corresponds to (35) Se estä construyendo una casa alii; but there is no sentence, (36) *Una casa estä siendo construida.12 Finally, it is instructive to note that Bello, following Aristotle, divides verbs into two main classes with respect to their capacity for conversion into S£7?-passives 10

In fact, (119) is not a grammatical sentence. Having uttered El papel se rasga, one is compelled to add an adverb of Manner, such as facilmente 'easily'. 11 Notice incidentally the failure to make concord (in substandard Spanish) in Se vende flores 'Flowers sold' (or 'for sale'). The rule for concord is, of course, among the latest rules in the syntactic component. 12 See note 7. Sentences like this can be found in newspapers and books, and they are uttered by scholars. But they are not spoken Spanish.



versus reflexive and stative passives: non-Stative verbs, including both cyclic and point-action verbs, and Stative verbs, including such verbs as ver, saber, considerar. He explains that the sentence I closed the door implies the stative passive, The door is closed; whereas I saw him does not imply I then left off seeing him or He is seen. Non-Stative verbs permit conversion into intransitive and stative passives. Stative verbs, whether passives or 'actives' like saber 'to know' are generally defective in distribution. 3.2.2. The impersonal


The se of the reflexive passive, like the BE EN or the GET EN of English passives indicates a passive relation that exists between the underlying object and some subject. In the case of se the subject is often unspecifiable, but in some cases, the affix itself is felt to be simultaneously the sign of the mediopassive and the impersonal subject. Notice the following sentences. (37)ΛΧ ( = Uno) vive (una vida) bien aqui Λ'Χ lives (a life) well here' (38)ΛΧ hablo de la guerra λ'Χ spoke of the war' (39)λΧ mato a los cristianos Λ'Χ killed the Christians'. In (37) and (38) we have examples of verbs that can take only cognate objects. In (39), the object is a human one, which, according to the rules already presented, cannot be converted into a reflexive passive subject. All three of these sentences, however, permit a reflexive conversion: (40) Se vive bien aqui O n e lives well here', (41) Se hablo de la guerra 'There was talk about the war' or "The war got talked about'. (42) Se mato a los cristianos "The Christians got killed'. In (40), the cognate object (reflexive passive subject) is deleted, resulting in an impersonal construction in which se is both the Aux of the reflexive passive and an indefinite subject reference. The same is true of the se in (41) and (42). In all three cases the verb is singular. Although Bello recognized the relationship of the impersonal se to the reflexive passive Aux, he considered these constructions to be grammatically inexplicable anomalies. However, the rules outlined informally above reveal the intuitively felt relationship of the impersonal construction to the reflexive passive, by providing the grammatical basis for the interpretation of se both as



Aux and indefinite MEDIO-PASSIVE subject reference. The Base structure underlying the reflexive passive has a subject marked for [+Human], [+Indefinite], No lexical item need ever be chosen for nodes market in this way. If the object in these sentences is marked [Animate], the reflexive passive (Rpas) rule automatically applies, and concord with the Rpas subject is required. If the object is a cognate, or is marked +Human, the impersonal passive rule applies.



These are perhaps the most consistently misinterpreted of the mediopassive constructions. As I pointed out in Chapter I, traditional grammarians have defined the reflexive with these verbs as a sign of emotional involvement in the verbal activity a sign of some sort of inner psychic emphasis. The affix has been considered compeltely optional, an element chosen when the speaker wants to convey this involvement. Examination of certain structural regularities in the behavior of these verbs reveals, on the contrary, that the reflexive is obligatory in sentences containing an adverb of Source. 4.0.1. In the Base, these verbs occur either with an adverb of Destination or Source. Notice the following sentences. (42) Juan va a la escuela 'John goes to school' (43) Juan cayo al rio 'John fell into the river' (44) Juan marchaba hacia las montanas 'John went toward the mountains' (45) El libro cayo al suelo 'The book fell to the floor'. The phrases a la escuela, al rio, hacia las montanas, al suelo, are all adverbs of Destination. In the following sentences are illustrations of Source adverbs: (46) Juan se va de Madrid 'John goes away from Madrid', (47) Juan se marcho de la casa 'John went off from the house', (48) Juan se cayo del ärbol 'John fell out of the tree'. That these adverbs must be considered formally different from each other is con-



eluded from the fact that sentences having a human subject and a Source adverb contain the reflexive Aux. There are no such sentences as


(49) *Juan va de Madrid ""John goes from Madrid' (50) *Juan marcho de la casa 'John went from the house' (51) *Juan cayo del ärbol 'John fell from the tree'. That the reflexive here is distinct from reflexive object constructions is concluded from the fact that there is no (52) *Juan se va a si mismo de la casa. 4.0.2. Next I turn to the group of sentences in which the reflexive is optional, if indeed it CAN be said to be optional. It is sentences like (53) Juan se va a la escuela 'John goes off (away) to school' (54) Juan se cayo al rio 'John fell down into the river' (55) Juan se marchaba hacia las montanas 'John went off (away) towards the mountains' that are invariably given to exemplify the description of these structures as reflexives of involvement. Here again, important features have been overlooked. Previous discussions of these constructions have been based on the view that the only difference between


(56) Juan fue a la biblioteca 'John went to the library' (57) Juan se fue a la biblioteca 'John went off to the library'

is the optional occurrence of the reflexive affix. On the contrary, in sentences of this type, if the affix occurs without the adverb of Source, the speaker feels that an adverb such as de aqui 'from here' is implied. 4.0.3. A characteristic difference between the Destination and Source adverbs in these constructions is that the Destination must be explicit in the basic active sentence; we may say



(58) Juan se fue 'John went away', leaving

de aqui

implicit; but there is no


(59) *Juan fue (60) *Juan cayo.

The Destination Phrase is deletable only if some other adverb is chosen, as in


(61) Juan no va 'John isn't going' (62) Juan va a las diez 'John is going at ten o'clock'.

In both (61) and (62), the Destination adverb - and no other - remains implicit. 4.0.4. Amado Alonso refers to the reflexive with these constructions as inceptive. It is important to note that the affix is a Source directional (Edir) regardless of whether the Destination is present. It indicates 'directional from, going elsewhere'. When the Source adverb is present, se has been said to be movement being started.13 ".. . irse ο marcharse indica la partida de un sitio, ir ο marchar se refiere mäs a la direction ο destino." 14 4.0.5. As can be seen from the preceding discussion, there either grammatically or semantically that the subject action, or indeed, that he has any attitude at all in MUST go away reflexively, whether or not he goes

is simply no way of showing, is emotionally involved in his the matter. Since the subject willingly is syntactically and

13 Anna Granville Hatcher has noted that the reflexive with verbs of movement in Old French served to mark the action as inceptive. She points out also that the same is true of modern French II s'en va 'he goes away from (en) a place', although the number of verbs in the category is reduced to two: aller and venir. (See her book, Reflexive Verbs: Latin, Old French, Modern French, The Johns Hopkins Studies in Romance Literatures and Languages, Vol. XLIII.) 14 Translation: irse 'to go away' indicates departure from a place; ir 'to go' refers more to the direction or destination. (In A m a d o Alonso and Henriquez-Urefia, Op. cit.. 111.) This explanation of the difference between the middle verb and the active verb in Spanish (or Greek) holds, obviously for the English glosses. In other words, the verb + separable particle (separable prefixes in German) represents a middle relation. If the verb is intransitive + particle, it represents the subject carrying out the process or movement; without the particle, the action + goal is represented; Ί-go-away (from someplace)' is middle; 'I-go-to-




semantically irrelevant. There is no more indication of emotional involvement in Juan se va, than there is in 'John goes away.'



For all sentences with caer we must assume a possible transitive alternant. Thus, (63) (a>X en el ataque muchos hizo caer becomes


(63) (b) Muchos cayeron en el ataque 'Many men fell in the attack', (64) (a)AX al suelo el ärbol hizo caer

is rewritten as (64) (b) El ärbol cayo al suelo 'The tree fell to the ground'. If the adverb is Elative, as in (65) (a)AX del ärbol Juan hizo caer, we derive (65) (b) Juan se cayo del ärbol. 4.1.1. The verb caer has traditionally been analyzed as a primary intransitive - an analysis which will not account for the relationship of caer to hacer caer, nor for the passivity of the subject in the intransitive sentences. The only difference between (63) through (65) and other mediopassive inversions studied thus far is the required causative auxiliary in the active sentence. Caer-sentences are mediopassive. Whether or not the reflexive affix - the middle voice marker - is required depends on whether the motion refers back to the Source, or simply to the Destination.



With these constructions, as with all other reflexives, the affix is a directional and a middle auxiliary. Examples of verbs included in this category are entrar 'to enter'; salir 'to go forth'; quedar 'to leave or be left'. Entrarse focuses on the



entering, as seen from outside; salirse, on the going forth, as seen from the inside. An example of a sentence with entrarse is (66) (a) El animal corrio y se entro en la madriguera 'The animal ran and entered the lair', where the entry is viewed from the outside. As an example of a grammatical sentence with salirse, we have (66) (b) Cuando la mama estaba hablando con la vecina, el chico se salio por la ventana 'When the mother was talking with the neighbor, the child got out through the window'. In this sentence, the se, like English out, implies 'from inside where he was'.

4.2.1. The verb quedar Quedar plays three different intransitive roles. In (67) Juan se quedo todo el dia en casa 'John stayed at home all day', its behavior is that of an intransitivized reflexive. In (68) Juan se quedo triste al oir la noticia 'John became sad on hearing the news', its behavior is that of a single-response mediopassive. On the other hand, in (69) A resultas de un accidente, quedo cojo por toda la vida 'As the result of an accident, he was lame the rest of his life' the focus is not on the response, but on the duration of the state.

4.2.2. The verbs morir and nacer The usual interpretation of the reflexive with these verbs is, of course, interest on the part of the subject. Again, the usual interpretation does not hold up under grammatical analysis. Bello, it will be recalled, says that the reflexiveness of these verbs is simply not felt by the speaker. Morirse, according to him, is 'to approach death'. It indicates natural as opposed to violent death. We can say (70) Se murio de pulmonia 'He died of pneumonia', but not



(71) *Se murio ahogado 'He died of suffocation (or drowning)'.15 What these observations add up to is natural Cause, which has entered the body and worked from the inside. In (70) the Cause of death is natural, as opposed to afflicted by some external agent. Again the se is a directional affix. In the completive aspect, Juan se murio corresponds to 'John passed away (from someone)'. When the verb is in the non-completive aspect, the affix is obligatory. (71) could occur without the reflexive; however, in (72) Juan se muere (se estä muriendo) de pulmonia 'John is dying of pneumonia', there is no non-reflexive alternant. The conversion of nacer into the reflexive middle (it is inherently a middle verb) may well be interpreted as a stylistic one rather than a completely grammatical one. It is perhaps best glossed as 'to spring to life'. This is said of flowers which burst into bloom.



It is perhaps because verbs discussed in 4.2 so often occur in this construction that the reflexive is interpreted as a sign of involvement. Observe the following sentences. (73) Se me cayo el libro 'My book fell' (74) Se me ocurrio una idea 'An idea occurred to me' (75) Se me murio mi padre 'My father passed away from me' (76) Se me perdio el dinero Ί lost my money'. The 'involvement' in these sentences is indicated by the me, the se being the mediopassive auxiliary. Contrary to common belief, self-agency is NOT attributed to the passive inanimate subjects, and they cannot be shifted into subject position.16 The

15 10

See GDLC. This refers to a note of Cuervo's - note 103, page 460. Again it must be stressed that to say that inversion of the inanimate subject in these



discourse tone of the Spanish sentences is precisely that of the English correspondents. By this I mean that such translations as 'My book up and fell on me', which are commonly given for these constructions, convey the tone of the Spanish sentences INCORRECTLY. Notice that the human Source or Destination directional is required in these constructions. There is no


(78) *Se cayo el libro 1 7 (79) *Se ocurrio una idea.

Equally ungrammatical are


(80) *Me murio mi padre (81) *Me ocurrio una idea.

The mediopassive subject (logical object) MUST remain in its original, object position. And, if the disjunctive adverb is retained, it occupies subject position. We can say (82) A mi se me ocurrio una idea but not


(83) *Se me ocurrio una idea a mi (84) *Una idea se me ocurrio a mi.

Notice, incidentally, that with morirse, the Source adverb is deletable. Se murio mi padre is an alternant of Se me murio mi padre.

sentences is not permitted, is NOT equivalent to saying such inversion does not occur. It does occur, as a stylistic device for producing some effect. Notice the following dialogue: El Daciano Quiruelas, por mas que se esforzo, no fue a lo suyo y permitio que la ocasion se le escapase. - iComo una anguila? - Pues, si . . . Ο como un avecica, ique mäs da? (This occurs in Camilo Jose Cela's novel, Tobogän de Hambrientos, Barcelona, Editorial Noguer, S. Α., 1962, page 267.) Translation: Έ1 Daciano Quiruelas, no matter how hard he tried, did not succeed in paying attention to his own interests, and allowed the opportunity to (take its own initiative and) escape from him. Like an eel? Well, yes, or like a little bird, what difference does it make?' The response, 'like an eel . . w o u l d not be normal (in the sense of completely grammatical) with que se le escapase la ocasion. With the latter, origin of movement is attributed to the human subject; with the former, 'opportunity' is its own agent and, therefore, the logical subject. 17 Me cayo el libro could only be 'The book fell to me (as a prize)'. It has been argued that (187) is a possible sentence. The answer to the argument is yes, it certainly is a possible sentence in the appropriate context. We can say Se cayo el libro in the same context in which we might say 'The book fell down*.



4.3.1. It is always the case with gratuitous reflexives that something happens to the Source or Destination adverbs. Thus, (85) Se me olvido hacerlo Ί forgot to do it', always implies that the activity is unintentional. In (86) Olvide hacerlo, the forgetting is active and could be deliberate. A third possibility with olvidar is (87) Me olvide de hacerlo, which focuses on the activity of the subject. Juan se olvido de hacerlo implies that the forgetting, though not intentional, is his fault.



Recall now that in the discussion of directional affixes in Chapter II of this study I pointed out that one function of the directional affix in (88) I picked the book up is to incorporate the object in the activity of the verb. This affix specifies a relation of identity - coincidence - that holds between the object (or the subject or both) and the place where it was or will be. Note also that when a sentence has no direct object, or the reflexive object has been deleted, the affix incorporates the SUBJECT in the activity. Now, all non-active sentences in which the subject is incorporated must be said to be in the middle voice. In Spanish this includes all sentences in which the reflexive morpheme is affixed to the verb. In English, this holds for all mediopassive intransitives, intransitives with subjects internalized by the directional affix,and all sentences with the mediopassive auxiliaries GET and BECOME. 18 The constructions studied in this chapter correspond to intransitive, GET, and BECOME-mediopassives in English. These are actional passives, in which the subject is incorporated in the 'state of being borne along'; that is, in which activity is predicated of an inactive subject.19 The various types of middles will be compared in Chapter V.

18 It is only in the completive aspect that the passive can be clearly distinguished from the middle. In Greek the aorist is the only tense which distinguishes the middle from the passive. 19 It is extremely interesting to note the number and context of middle verbs Aristotle uses in his definition of change: gignesthai 'become'; kineisthai 'change' (intransitive); and so on.


In order to define the parameters of the middle voice in Spanish, we must investigate the relationship of reflexives and certain simple-intransitive constructions to Factitive, Causative, and Stative verbs. Reflexive constructions make overt some identity relation that holds between the grammatical, or surface structure, subject and some other constituent in the sentence.1 The relation may be one of strict identity, as is the case when subject and object, Source, or Destination are the same; or it may be one of Factitive, Translative, or Stative coincidence.2 This is the case with causative mediopassives, where the subject is identified with - is a participant at - the Source or the Destination, or the new state.3 With these verbs the result object, or the new state created by the verbal activity coincides with, and may be a PART of, the subject. Thus, very frequently a relation of identity can be said to obtain between the grammatical subject and the verb itself. Juan se espanta de la muerte derives from (in the present interpretation) aA Juan le produce espanto la muerte, where the result object espanto resides in the Source, Juan. In the case of reflexive constructions which are condensation-equivalents of active constructions, it is always the case that the verb is an inner Factitive in which the subject is notionally the Source or the Destination (apoderarse). When a middle construction is unmarked, the verb may be one of natural motion or activity of the grammatical subject, or the activity may be iterative, and hence, completely disengaged from a Cause (girar 'to revolve'; temblar 'to tremble')· All of these types will be discussed in this chapter.



With Stative Factitives, such as ver 'to see (the sight of)', the reflexive indicates a relation of identity between the grammatical subject and the verb: 1

The grammatical subject may of course be the subject in the Base. Factitive mediopassives denote a 'becoming something'; Translatives are verbs of 'coming into a new state'. 3 The subject in many of these sentences is the Source. 2




(1) Se ven las montanas desde aqui 'The mountains can be seen from here' (2) La montanas se ven desde aqui 'The mountains are visible from here'.

Sentence (1) assumes a potential viewer. Sentence (2), on the other hand, focuses on the visibility of the mountains, independently of whether anyone sees them or not. 4 The same interpretation holds for hallar and encontrar 'to find' when they occur in reflexive passive constructions. 1.1. With such verbs as llamar and considerar, the only grammatical passive equivalents are mediopassives with se. We can say


(3) El chico se llama Juan "The boy is called John' (4) A Maria se la considera bonita 'Mary is considered pretty', 5

but not (5) *E1 chico es llamado Juan (6) *Maria es considerada como bonita,


scholarly treatises and textbooks of Spanish notwithstanding. With Stative main verbs, then, the mediopassive focuses on the accessibility, or on some characteristic description of the subject. A sentence such as (4) could have as an equivalent, in certain contexts, (7) Maria es bonita 'Mary is pretty'. 1.1.1. Notice that admirar and amar, in and

(8) Maria es admirada de todos (9) Maria es amada de todos,

cannot properly speaking be called passives. They correspond to and 4 5

(10) 'Mary is the admiration of everyone' (11) 'Mary is beloved of everyone'.

Desde aqui se ven las montanas is interpreted as 'From here and no other place*. Mary is considered a pretty girl is, of course, an equivalent of 4.




The ambiguity of BE-passives with deleted agents has been described by Curme, who notes that (12) The door was closed may have either the structure of (13) The door was open or of (14) The door was opened by the maid." Now, it has been suggested that the Stative adjective, open, is simply one of numerous adjectives that occur in BE-predicates. However, the logical relationship of these participles to passive sentences must be accounted for.7 Logically, a door is (stands) open because it has been opened by someone. Grammatically, the generation of Statives is determined by certain adverbs of Time, Thus,


(15) (a) *The door has right now been opened, (b) *The door has been opened at this moment, (c) *The book has been laid on the table at present

are ungrammatical. The choice of these adverbs makes obligatory the conversion of these into


(16) (a) The door is open right now, (b) The door is open at this moment, (c) The book is (lying) on the table at present.

Adjectivalization of these participles is the result of the stative passive transformation. Every occurrence of BE (Stative adjective) (Locative adverb) is a Stative passive. In other words, the Locative meaning of BE in these sentences is grammatically determined: (17) (a) John is in bed, and

(b) Mary is off in Europe this summer

result from participle deletion; (17) (a) is derived from (18) (a) John is lying in bed, and (b) is derived from (18) (b) Mary is gone off in Europe this summer.8 6

See Curme, Op. Cit., the chapter on "Voice". Furthermore, the adjectival behavior of these participles does not distinguish them from passive participles, because ALL passive participles are adjectival. 8 Predicates with BE EN - SER and EST AR in Spanish - are like those with HAVE and TENER in that they are always derived. The meanings of these pro-verbs, therefore, are those 7



2.1. In Spanish the stative passive is also called the 'resultative passive'. A sentence such as (19) La puerta estä abierta 'The door is open' results from (20) Se ha abierto la puerta 'The door has got opened'. Notice that the time of the participle is prior to that of the Aux ESTAR. This is always the case with stative passives. One of the most interesting properties of cyclic verbs is that they seldom admit the S£7?-passive.9 We can say (21) Juan estaba sentado en un banco 'John was seated (or sitting) on a bench', but not (22) *Juan fue sentado en un banco por Maria 'John was seated on a bench by Mary'. Similarly, we can say


(23) Juan estaba enojado 'John was angry', (24) Juan estaba cansado 'John was tired',

but not or

(25) *Juan fue enojado por Maria (26) *Juan fue cansado por Maria.

In short, with Causatives of motion, emotion, and change, which require the participation of the human object, the SER-passive is ungrammatical. In fact,

of the deleted main verb. In the case of statives (ESTAR + passive participle) the perfective aspect of the underlying verb phrase is always presupposed. β F. Agard, in Modern Approach to Spanish (Holt, 1964) implies that the resultative passive is indifferently interpretable as a conversion of either the reflexive passive or the SER DOpassive. Such an interpretation does not take account of the relation of the resultative to the mediopassive and the intransitive of process. The resultative implies that the action has been (got) achieved, and is, essentially, a paraphrase of the mediopassive (and only the mediopassive).



(27) *Juan fue espantado por Maria 'John was frightened by Mary is not only ungrammatical; it could


be said.10


It is true for both Spanish and English that


(28) Maria estä triste 'Mary is sad' (29) Maria estä alegre 'Mary is happy'

may presuppose (30) (a) Maria or (b) Maria 'Mary and (31) (a) Maria or (b) Maria

se ha puesto triste se ha entristecido has become sad(dened)' se ha puesto alegre se ha alegrado.

It is perhaps best to reserve the term 'transformation' as opposed to 'restatement' to constructions such as the stative passive, where the state is felt to be a result of, rather than a strict equivalent of, the perfective sentence. It is important to note, however, that not all sentences containing Stative adjectives presuppose perfective active or mediopassive constructions as their forerunner.



Spanish has no single Aux which corresponds to BECOME or GET. In general it can be said that the mediopassive equivalent of cyclic verbs focuses on the 'coming to be' of something. Corresponding to (32) John became a lawyer, we have (33) Juan se hizo abogado,11 and for (34) John became sad, 10 It must be stressed that to say a sentence is ungrammatical is not the same as saying it would never be uttered. In the spoken language, passives with human subjects are ungrammatical. In essay style or newspapers, many examples of passives can be found. Their occurrence does not make them grammatical, however. 11 This sentence is NOT translatable as 'John made himself a lawyer'. Such a translation misinterprets the structure of the Spanish sentence.



we have or

(35) Juan se quedo triste (36) Juan se puso triste.

The active congener in (33) is a Factitive verb, and (35) presupposes a Causative. All mediopassives specifying a change in state or condition presuppose Factitive or Causative congeners. This is the case, for example in


(37) (a) La ropa se secaba al sol 'The clothes were drying in the sun', (b) La nieve se derrite al sol 'Snow melts in the sun', (c) Cuando llueve, se mo ja la tierra 'When it rains, the earth gets wet'.

Notice that (37) (a) and (b) are glossed as mediopassive intransitives. It is important to note that these sentences do NOT correspond to GET-passives. It is possible to say (38) (a) Se secaba la ropa al sol if the al sol is derived from a Means adverb. We might say something like (38) (b) Antes se secaba la ropa al sol, pero ahora se usan mäquinas electricas. 'Previously, clothes were dried in the sun, but now, electric machines are used'. In the present tense, (39) (a) Se seca la ropa al sol, could be an instruction, translatable as (39) (b) 'Clothes are (to be) dried (by putting them) in the sun'. In (39) (b), the phrase al sol is a fusion of Location and Means in a simplex sentence, which may be expanded as shown in parentheses. The same structure is implicit in (40) (a) Se derrite la nieve (poniendola) al sol 'You melt snow by putting it in the sun'. The phrase al sol in this sentence derives from a Cause Phrase rather than a Means Phrase. The active causative configuration is (40) (b) El sol derrite la nieve "The sun melts the snow'.


3.0.1. Syntactic



English intransitives corresponding to (37) (a) and (b) have the same Base Structure as the Spanish sentences. If we examine a sentence such as (41) (a) One dissolves sugar in water, it seems clear that 'in water' is at once a Means Phrase and a Location Phrase, which have been fused into one constituent phrase at the sentence level. This blending, then, is an instance of syntactic haplology, which was discussed briefly in Chapter II. Syntactic haplology is a process whereby two or more categories or elements are fused into a single prepositional phrase at the sentence level. Underlying (41) (a) is (41) (b) One dissolves sugar by putting it in water, or, perhaps more basically, (41) (c) One makes a solution of sugar by putting it in water, where make a solution is a Factitive VP, of sugar is a Material adverb, and by putting it in water is a Means Phrase dominating a Location Phrase-expansion. Since (41) (a) does not have as part of its INFORMATIONAL input an indicative sentence You put sugar in water, it is derivable from a one-string Base. The Means Phrase in this construction must be marked [+Means] and [+Locative] (+Loc). This feature specification determines the Locative expansion of the Means Phrase into the generic Locative gerund putting, a replica of the Material adverb, and the Location Phrase, in water. There are several reasons for viewing the subjoined expansion as a derivation from Means rather than Sentence. First, it is always the case that a relation of identity holds between the subject and the Means Phrase. In many cases the identity relation permits substitution of the Subject Phrase (SP) by the Means, as in (42) Water dissolves sugar. 12 In every case the Means Phrase is expandable into one of a very small number of constant phrases determined by its selectional features. As we saw in (41) (b) and (c), a Means noun which is [+Loc] requires Locative expansion. Sentences like and

(43) (a) I cut the cake with a knife (b) I shot him with a pistol

may be expanded into 18

Substitutability is determined by the features of the Subject Phrase, the verb, and the discourse membership of the sentence. At the discourse level, the substitution of Means for the subject may be a function of repetition or of an unspecified subject. Generatively - out of context - we assume a Base with an unspecified subject. Thus, 'X hit the boy with a bullet ->- The bullet hit the boy'.

62 and


(43) (c) I cut the cake by using a knife (d) I shot him (by) using a pistol.13

If we choose this expansion, which is optional when the Means is not [4-Loc], the sentences may be equivalently reshaped as and

(43) (e) I used a knife to cut the cake (with) (f) I used a pistol to shoot him (with).

Now, either we assume all sentences with Means Phrases are complex - which would be completely unconvincing - or we accept the configurational derivation from a one-string Base. Furthermore, if we analyze sentences with Means-subjects as simplexes, it follows that the strings underlying them are simple. The clausal expansions of the Means Phrases are extractable as functions of the selectional features of the string. It is absolutely crucial to our understanding and portrayal of syntactic processes to distinguish between extracted and extractable - REDUNDANT form and minimal form which derives (directly) from the non-redundant categorial input of the Base.14 3.0.2. Syntactic haplology, as I pointed out in Chapter II, must be sharply distinguished from ellipsis, which by traditional definition, creates ambiguities. Haplology, on the other hand, is the fusion of two categories or like elements without loss of information. In Sugar dissolves in water, the prepositional phrase is unambiguously Means and Location, although, of course, the Location Phrase is derived from the Means Phrase. In the surface structure only the Locative relationship is marked, but the dual membership is nevertheless entirely clear. Another type of fusion can be observed in sentences like (44) (a) I watered the lawn. This sentence is derived from (44) (b) I put water on the lawn, where water is the object and on the lawn is a Location Phrase. We will see more examples of this type of condensation in the remainder of this Chapter.15 13 It does not follow that clausal expansion of Means Phrases are limited to these constants. The point of this observation is simply that for any sentence with a simple Means Phrase, one of these constant-expansions is possible. 14 Equivalent reshapings of the instructional sentence, One dissolves sugar in water include One puts sugar in water to dissolve it, Sugar dissolves if one puts it in water, and If one puts sugar in water, it dissolves. 15 Notice that this condensation must precede the rule for passivization: although we cannot passivize the lawn when it behaves locatively - there is no *The lawn was put water on - we can say The lawn was watered.





Many mediopassives of 'Becoming' have paraphrastic adjectival alternants. 16 We can say, for example,


(45) (a) Juan se puso furioso . . . 'John got furious' (b) Juan se enfurecio . . .

(45) (a) is required in the context, (46) (a) Juan se enfurece de ver la injusticia 'John is infuriated at the sight of injustice'. On the other hand, both (45) (a) and (b) may occur in the context (46) (b) Al ver esa injusticia, Juan In (46) (a) the Cause Phrase de ver la injusticia is the transitive subject. The Cause bears an active relation to the VP, as in (47) (a) A Juan le enfurece (ver) la injusticia '(Seeing an) injustice infuriates John'. In (46) (b) the choice of se puso furioso implies a cause-effect relationship between the Cause Phrase and the Predicate Phrase. The Cause Phrase can function either as a transitive subject or as a causal clause. In the latter case the PP is a result clause. Thus, se puso furioso focuses on the reaction brought about by the Cause. The Aux se puso is temporally prior to the Stative adjective or participle in the actional mediopassive, while in the stative passive the participle is temporally prior to the auxiliary.17 Se enfurecio is a single temporal unit. In both the simple and the paraphrastic forms, as with all actional (versus stative) mediopassives, the intransitivized verb focuses on the 'coming to be' of the state, or, to put it Aristotle's way, on 'the state of being borne along'. The latter phrase more aptly characterizes actional middle constructions, where the subject is incorporated in the activity which 'bears it along' into a passive state. It is crucial to note that this notion of 'being borne along' is inseparable from the notion of intransitive mediopassive and has no intrinsic connection with a verbal aspect. Various attempts to explain the characteristics of intransitive and GETmediopassives have resulted in contradictory descriptions in terms of inceptive and 16

In those cases where only one of the constructions is possible, the gaps are accidental. In those cases where both constructions are possible, the paraphrastic alternant is less formal. 17 In those constructions which are true passives, the time of the Aux and the participle is the same. In participial mediopassives such as I got tired, the getting to be precedes the state in the same way that going precedes gone.



effective aspect. Curme, for example, applies both terms to GET-passives. Amado Alonso refers to all mediopassives or causatives as inceptive. This is simply not the case. Neither ponerse furioso nor enfurecerse is inceptive. This notion is the result of confusion between aspect and voice. In The door opened, there is no formal or intuitive basis for defining the activity as inceptive. Indeed there is no point-action interpretation possible for this sentence. The verbal focus is on the activity as a whole. To be sure, there ARE mediopassive intransitive verb phrases which can be said to be in the inceptive aspect - The door started to open is inceptive; The door started to close is inceptive; The door opened and The door closed are simple intransitives. Although certain middle constructions occur only with verbs in the habitual aspect, the aspect is not identifiable with the voice.



All the actional middle constructions studied in Chapter IV and in 1.1.1 through 3.0.1 of this chapter are responses to causation: a tree falls in response to whatever has made it fall. A large number of verbs that permit mediopassive intransitivization are themselves Causatives which can (in some cases, must) have paraphrastic equivalents. Causative paraphrasis (which is also periphrasis) occurs in Spanish with hacer 'to make', dejar 'to let', and a few others. For example, in (48)AUna räfaga de aire golpeo la puerta de la azotea Ά gust of wind made the door on the roof bang', the string must be expanded to contain the causative auxiliary: (49) Una räfaga de aire hizo golpear la puerta de la azotea. Similarly, (50) A Juan le sentaron en un banco, might possibly be paraphrased as (51) A Juan le hicieron sentar en un banco. 3.2.1. There are a number of intransitives in Spanish that behave like mediopassives but are distinguished (in some cases) by the non-occurrence of the reflexive affix or by the lack of a simple active congener. One of these, caer, we have already seen. Further examples are (52) Juan tiritaba de frio 'John shivered with cold',




(53) Juan temblaba de miedo 'John trembled with fear' (54) Juan se estremecio de horror 'John shuddered with horror'.

The examples in (52) and (53) are iterative physical responses to causation. Iterative responses, which may continue after the Cause is removed, do not take the reflexive affix. These are Stative verbs, which can be paraphrased as and

(55) Juan estaba tiritando de frfo (56) Juan estaba temblando de miedo.

In (54), on the other hand, we have an example of a single response to causation, and the reflexive is required. Sentences (55) and (56) are disengaged from the Cause. Notice incidentally that disengagement is a necessary feature of these unmarked middles, since the affix is required in (57) Juan se estaba helando de frfo 'John was freezing with the cold', where presumably withdrawal of the Cause coincides with cessation of the effect. Since the lack of simple active congeners is the only feature that distinguishes tiritar, estremecerse, and caer from other mediopassive intransitives, it is clear that these occur with parenthesized objects in the Base Structure. An obligatory rule then converts tiritar to hacer tiritar. In this way we account for the fact that Juan in hhacer temblar a Juan is not the object of hacer, but of hacer temblor.



According to the accepted interpretation of comerse, the reflexive indicates that the activity results in some advantage to the subject or that the subject is involved in eating. This interpretation is, to say the least, a curious one. When the father says to his child, (58) Cometelo todo 'Eat it all up', it may well be to the child's advantage to follow his father's orders, but there is nothing in the grammatical field to indicate that this is so. The se in


(59) Juan se lo comio todo 'John ate it all up' (60) Juan se bebio toda la cerveza 'John drank up all the beer',



corresponds grammatically to the Daff 'up' in English. Compare with the sentence, (61) John ate all the food up off the plate, where up specifies a relation of identity that holds between food and the Destination, which is notionally the subject, John. Notice that the se is possible with these verbs only when the focus is on the activity rather than the object. We cannot say (62) *Juan se comio media manzana y dos peras 'John ate up half an apple and two pears'.

4.0.1. With Stative verbs such as temer 'fear', sentir 'feel', and saber 'know', the reflexive affix identifies the subject with the Source of the state. It indicates that the fear or feeling comes from inside the subject: (63) Me temo que te equivoques Ί fear (deep down) that you are making a mistake' (64) Yo me siento enfermo Ί feel sick (inside)' 18 (65) Yo me se la leccion Ί know the lesson (inside)'.19



The term 'deponent' is used traditionally to refer to passive verbs which have no simple transitive congeners, and which are assumed to have 'active meanings'. Configurationally, we must reject the notion that deponents are formally passive but semantically active, since it is always the case that these verbs are distinguishable from transitives. In Spanish a number of verbs occur only (qua verbs) with the reflexive affix. These generally correspond semantically (and often etymologically) with the deponents in Latin and Greek. With all of the deponents in Spanish, an identity relation holds between the subject and the verb itself. In (66) Juan se obstina en creerlo 'John is obstinate in believing it', we see that both the Spanish and the English correspondent exhibit this type of 18

But not *Yo siento enfermo. Yo me si lo que hago is Ί know deep down what I'm doing'. Yo me se la leccion is Ί know my lesson from inside'. 19



identity, signaled in English by the copulative is. Both of these sentences are Mannerconstructions. They derive from (67) Juan lo cree obstinadamente 'John believes it obstinately', where the Manner adverb modifies the subject and, therefore, the whole sentence. The identity relation that holds between the subject and the Manner adverb is one of possession. In (68) Juan se queja de todo 'John complains about everything', the subject is the Source of the activity and the verb quejarse is equivalent to emitir quejas 'to emit complaints'. Theoretically all inner verbs could be treated as middles. The inner verbs include those of knowing, thinking, forgetting and remembering, enjoying, meditating, theorizing, and so on. Formally, whether a verb requires the middle affix depends on its selectional features. In most cases we find alternation between active and middle, and even the deponents have transitive congeners in some earlier stage of the language. 4.2.



The alternation between transitive and middle, in both Spanish and English, often involves a change in the directional relation that holds between the subject and verb, and the rest of the predicate of the transitive sentence. Sometimes the middle affix simply specifies a latent directional relation, as it does with comerse. That is, whether we use comer or comerse, a relation of identity (coincidence) exists between the subject - the Destination - and the object. With saber, on the other hand, the knowledge may come from outside or not, while saberse specifies that it does NOT come from outside, that it has an inner Source.20 Similarly, olvidar leaves the subject-verb relationship unspecified, while with olvidarse, the forgetting must come from inside. 4.2.1. Change in the directional relationship of the subject to the predicate is what distinguishes aprovechar 'to give use to, to use' and aprovecharse 'to get use out o f , and apoderar 'to empower' from apoderarse 'to get power over'. The distinction between the transitive and the middle of these verbs is the difference between give to and 20

By w a y of c o m p a r i s o n , n o t e t h a t John felt Mary knew the answer is passively restated as It was felt by John that Mary knew the answer. T h e passive is n o t possible, h o w e v e r , f o r John felt inside that Mary knew the answer. T h e r e is obviously n o such sentence as *It ivas felt inside by John that Mary knew the answer.



take (or get) from in English.21 In the transitive voice, the post-verbal noun is the recipient of the activity; in the middle actives, the subject both gives and receives.



The grammar of reciprocal sentences in English has been discussed by Lees and Klima and L. Gleitman, who maintain that reciprocal sentences generally derive from two-string Bases.22 There are many difficulties with the two-string interpretation. These are especially apparent in sentences with inherently reciprocal verbs, where the reciprocal construction is a configurational variant of a simple-sentence transitive construction. This is the case, for example, with (69) John and Mary met (each other), which derives from (70) John met (with) Mary, and with (71) John and Mary married (each other), which derives from (72) John married himself to Mary. Similarly, we have (73) (a>X combines hydrogen with oxygen, along with its mediopassive alternants, and

(73) (b) Hydrogen and oxygen combine (c) Hydrogen combines with oxygen.

Notice that it is only with inherently reciprocal verbs that the intransitive construction is possible. All other reciprocal construction in English require each other or one another. Deletion is not permitted in (74) The boys see each other, which derives from something like (75) Each of the boys sees the other of the boys. 21

There are instances in English where take functions as the middle alternant of give: Bill gave John a beating - John took a beating from Bill. This is an example of syntactic suppletion. 22 See R. B. Lees and E. S. Klima, Op. Cit., and L. Gleitman, "Coordinating Conjunctions in English", Language, 41, No. 3 (1965), 260-293.



Rules previously proposed, which assume a two-string Base for reciprocal constructions do not account for the fact that the pronoun each is part of the subject, while other is part of the Predicate Phrase. It seems clear from the evidence, therefore, that sentences with conjoined nominal subjects, such as (76) John and Mary saw each other, must be viewed as simplexes, and that a simple sentence may have plural subjects, or plural objects, or both. These plurals may be either a series of conjoined nouns or they may be simple plurals, as in (74) and (75). 23 4.3.1. Intransitivization is more frequent in Spanish reciprocal constructions than in English. Intransitivization results, of course, in technical ambiguities with reflexive constructions, but it is interesting to note that, practically, there is seldom any problem in understanding the reference. Thus, (77) Juan y Maria se miraron would almost inevitably be understood as (78) Juan y Maria se miraron uno a otro 'John and Mary looked at each other, where uno is part of the Subject Phrase and otro is part of the predicate.



The middle affix marks the subject as a participant in the Predicate Phrase. The only feature that all middles have in common, as we have seen, is this incorporation of the subject in the predicate. 24 Incorporation is literal in sentences with repeated constituents; that is, in reflexives, reciprocals, and reflexive causatives. In middle actives and deponent constructions, incorporation is a function of an inherent subject-verb relationship. In these sentences the subject is both the originator of the activity and the Source or Destination, even though it is not necessarily repeated as a predicate constituent. This means that inner Factitives and verbs which are generically classifiable as 'take-from verbs' may be thought of as inherent middles, 23

To treat conjoined nominals differently from the plurals in (73) and (74) is quite counterintuitive. Furthermore, analyzing these plurals in terms of two or more sentences creates insurmountable arithmetical problems. 24 Emile Benveniste, in "Actif et moyen dans le verbe", Grammaire et Psychologie (special number of Journal de Psychologie), 1950, 119-127, speaks of the middle subject as internalized in the verbal process, but gives no indication of the ways in which the subject is formally internalized. 'Incorporation' seems to be the better term.



regardless of whether they require the middle affix. The affix simply functions as an overt marker of this relationship. All marked middles are intransitive; that is, they cannot be passivized. 4.4.1. With the mediopassive intransitive, the middle affix marks a directional relation holding between the subject and the verb; it marks the verb as mediopassive and the subject as a participant in the activity, just as le marks the object as a participant in oblique sentences. As with reciprocals and reflexives, there are ambiguities between the mediopassive with human subjects and the reflexive: (79) Juan se tostaba al sol could be interpreted either as or

(80) (a) John was tanning himself in the sun (b) John was getting tanned in the sun.

Notice that even if the underlying sentence is reflexive, intransitivization is required. There is no (81) *Juan se tostaba a si mismo al sol. 4.4.2.

The ambiguity of reflexives and


Several types of ambiguities have been noted in this study that suggest a close relationship between (1) reflexive and causative; (2) reflexive and reciprocal; (3) reflexive and mediopassive intransitive; and (4) causative and mediopassive intransitive. The close relationship of these constructions has been noted for both Spanish and English. There are instances in English, for example, where a sentence is intransitive, reflexive, and passive at the same time. This is the case with (82) (a) The refrigerator defrosts itself in ten minutes, which is a condensation of (82) (b) The refrigerator defrosts by itself, and is derived from (82) (C)AX defrosts the refrigerator by means of the refrigerator. It is probable that such sentences as (82) (a) are best treated as stylistic deviants. Nevertheless, they are common derivatives of unquestionably grammatical sentences like (82) (b). The intransitive inversion is required if we choose an X-subject and a Means Phrase that repeats the object. Although we might accept (83) (a) ?The refrigerator is defrosted automatically,



we cannot say (83) (b) *The refrigerator is defrosted by itself. Thus, it would seem that repetition of the object of a sentence, when the subject is λΧ, triggers a kind of passive that is both intransitive and reflexive. And, if we choose to delete the by, the result is an intransitive passive sentence with a reflexive object. 25 4.4.3. Traditionally, a reflexive sentence is defined as one in which the subject is both agent and patient. Formally, reflexives and passives - or rather, reflexives, reciprocals, mediopassive intransitives, and passives - are alternants. Included in the reflexives are reflexive causatives and possessive constructions. 4.4.4. There are many ways in which a sentence can be medialized, with or without the inflection of the middle voice. In Spanish, the generation of aprovecharse versus aprovechar depends on the choice of predicate constituents underlying the basic sentence. With this and like verbs, then, the choice between transitive and middleactive is made in the Base. 4.4.5. Other apparently active sentences which are generally considered intransitive because they have no objects are those with verbs of motion like ir, venir, and llegar, and verbs of conversion like desvanecer and its correspondent 'to vanish'; 'disappear', 'elapse', and so on. It has already been shown for Spanish that ir, venir, and llegar have both active and middle forms, and that, since the middle constructions change the subject-verb relationship, the active forms must be considered (in a sense) transitive. This is true also for come and go in English, and for the other so-called intransitives noted above. In the case of go, notice that it occurs in sentences which are ambiguously active and mediopassive: (84) John went out may be derived from (85) John went out of here or from (86) John went out (of consciousness) like a light. 25 In Spanish the sentence that corresponds to (81) and (82) is La nevera se deshiela maticamente.




Sentence (86) may presuppose a causative in which John is an object. Similarly there are sentences in which came is the mediopassive alternant of bring or make come. (87) John came out of his depression is a mediopassive of (88)ΛΧ brought John out of his depression. In Spanish the verb desvanecer may occur reflexively. We can say either


(89) El humo desvanecio en el aire 'The smoke vanished into the air' (90) El humo se desvanecio en el aire "The smoke vanished away into the air'.

Sentences (89) and (90) are like caer and caerse-sentences in that they are mediopassives which presuppose transitive congeners. In Spanish, desvanecer CAN occur transitively, although its English correspondent, vanish, cannot. Nevertheless, since the English verb is also mediopassive, we must assume the Base to be the same for both: (91)ΛΧ

en el aire el humo desvanecio ΛΧ in the air the smoke vanished.

This Base must be assumed also for elapse, disappear, and so on, which are mediopassive intransitives. In fact it seems to be the case that verbs which occur only intransitively must be assumed to be defective in their distribution. Just as He is said to be brilliant presupposes the currently non-existent They say him to be brilliant, The smoke disappeared in the air, which is felt to be mediopassive, presupposes X disappeared the smoke in the air. The verb disappear has no passive because it is already a passive alternant. It is in the middle voice. There are verbs which have passives but no middles, verbs which have middles but no passives. Verbs which can be either medialized or passivized, or both must be considered transitive. Verbs which CANNOT be medialized OR passivized must be considered to be defective. These verbs in many instances, appear to derive from nouns. This is the case for the so-called middle verbs in English, resemble and weigh. The former, which is reciprocal, is a restatement of (92) John bears a resemblance to Mary. The latter restates from sentences like (93) X has measured the weight of the meat as two pounds. -» The meat has the weight of two pounds or -» The meat weighs two pounds.



When intransitive verbs are not derived from nouns, they must be assumed to have some type of transitive congener.



We have noted that in Spanish, human objects of Causatives of motion and emotion cannot be passivized. In fact it is doubtful whether a human object - or any other object - is normally passivizable in the spoken language. Even examples that are often given in textbooks are of doubtful grammatically. The passive of action or activity - the actional passive - is regularly the mediopassive intransitive in Spanish. It is a misnomer to refer to the so-called 'true' passive with SER DO as the passive of action. SER DO-passives are descriptive; in some instances the VP modifies the subject; in others the VP is in apposition with the subject. The passive is descriptive in (94) John was (the man) killed by a policeman, and it is appositional in (95) It was hoped by them that you would come, which is the equivalent of (96) It was their hope that you would come. Operationally, we must permit passives to be generated for spoken Castilian, in order to derive descriptive phrases such as un libro escrito por Juan 'a book written by John'. But notice that the underlying passive string MUST undergo reduction. There is no *un libro que fue escrito por Juan.2" I believe it is true for English, as well, that the BE EN passive is not the actional passive.27 BECOME (EN) and GET(EN) are the auxiliaries of the actional passive.28 Actional passives and mediopassive intransitives are the constructions that correspond to mediopassive intransitives in Spanish.29 26

This fact about the use of the passive has the obvious pedagogical implication that to teach the passive in the early stages of a Spanish course is a rather unfortunate mistake. Students should learn how to handle reflexive passives early, and the passive participle should be taught only as an adjective. Much later, when interference is less likely, the passive can be taught. The student needs to recognize the passive for reading newspapers, listening to formal lectures, and reading essays and learned journals. He does not need it for spoken Spanish. 27 For English, as for Spanish, the passive is more formal. Mediopassives with GET, while extremely common in spoken English, are not generally considered appropriate to written style. 28 Actually there is another mediopassive Aux in English: H A V E EN. This is the required Aux when certain categories are passivized. An example of the H A V E E N passive is I had that stolen from me which is the only possible passive for the Source adverb. 29 It should be emphasized that even constructions with G E T or BECOME + adjective must be considered mediopassive alternants. The fact that He got dirty alternates with He got dirtied but that He became happy does not alternate with He became happied is accidental, as is illustrated in my "Paraphrastic Causatives".


Any attempt to construct an explanatory theory of the structure of a natural language presupposes, of course, some set of axioms and some notion of the essential hierarchy of those approaches most likely to produce the simplest explanation. The possibility of an explanatory definition of the unique grammatical character of any one language hinges on the possibility of explaining all other languages in like terms. And if all languages can be explained in like terms, it follows that all languages, simply because they are members of L(anguage), must be assumed to have a common grammatical substratum: the substratum relation L which holds between English and German, or Mandarin and Cantonese, must hold among Mandarin, German, English, and Cantonese. Operationally, then, an explanation of differences between one language and any other language, presupposes a characterization of the universal basis, for the simple reason that it is impossible to understand the differentiating properties until we know what properties are shared by all languages. Configurational theory assumes that natural languages share the same Base; that is, that the major categories and the order of constituents in the Base are the same for every language. Every language has Means Phrases, Manner Phrases, Verb Complexes (VC), and so on. Now, the fact that not every language has adjectives would seem to contradict this claim, but an analysis of the behavior of parts of speech shows that the claim holds.



It is generally held that noun phrases, adjectives, and prepositional phrases are major categories, and that such notions as 'subject-of' and 'object-of are relational rather than categorial. Configurational theory assumes that the situation is the reverse of what previous theory claims.1 Take the case of prepositional phrases. Prepositions are relation markers. Their behavior is precisely that of case affixes 1

The question of the status of lexical morphemes was discussed in my dissertation.



in synthetic languages. A prepositional phrase, then, cannot be said to be a major category. The term applies to a paraphrastic (and PERIPHRASTIC) realization of a category such as Means, Manner, and so on. The surface character of these phrases becomes quite apparent when we note their instability. A Manner Phrase may be realized in one instance as an adverb (easily), and in another instance as a prepositional phrase (with ease). Finally, given the category of Manner or Means, the lexical category - prepositional phrase - is predictable. The reverse is not true.


The notion 'object-of is said to be definable for English as the relation holding between the NP of a VP of the form VANP and the whole VP. If this definition is correct, then we must assume that in (1) Mary made the material into a dress, the relation 'object-of' holds between the material and the VP. On the other hand, in (2) Mary made a dress out of the material, the object relation holds between dress and the whole VP. Since the noun dress is the Factitive object in both of these sentences, and since these sentences derive from the same terminal string, the relational definition does not hold for a large subclass of Factitive verbs. Turning to another class of Factitives, Causatives of emotion, we find conclusive evidence for rejecting the previous definition. For example, in


(3) (a) John scared Mary quite badly (b) John gave Mary quite a bad scare,

the noun Mary is the Dative, not the direct, object. The same is true for (4) (a) The idea frightens Mary, which has as an alternant, (4) (b) The idea is frightening to Mary. It is important to note that the to in (4) (b) is not simply a constant required by certain transforms; with some verbs it is a totally stable particle. This is the case in


(5) (a) The idea appeals to Mary (b) The idea is appealing to Mary,

where the relationship of to Mary to the VP is the same as in (3) and (4). The to in these constructions, then, is part of a prepositional phrase which is a possible realization of the Dative Phrase.




Since verbs are strictly subcategorized in terms of objects with unstable prepositions, we must conclude that prepositional phrases are in some sense higher level constituents than noun phrases. And since prepositional phrases do not have major categorial status, noun phrases do not have major categorial status. 1.3.


The Base category of a lexical morpheme is not to be confused with its base form; that is, the fact that verbs are formed by adding -en to adjectives, is a morphological one, not a syntactic one. Syntactically, sadden and gladden are prior to sad and glad, in precisely the same way that Someone has closed the door precedes The door is closed (now). The category of the adjective, like that of NP, is lexical. And lexical categories are derivatives of major syntactic categories. 2.0.


The notion of equivalence is based on the assumption that all grammatical transformations of a Base string are informationally equivalent reshapings of the whole pattern, which make overt relations that are latent in the basic sentence. Among the implications of this theory are (1) that any change in a sentence pattern is a change in the whole configuration which cannot be explained in terms of additions and subtractions alone; and (2) that all the possible permutations of the participants in a sentence will yield at least one equivalent grammatical sentence. 2.1.


1 have pointed out that with ease and easily are possible realizations of a Manner Phrase. Similarly, notice that sinceramente and 'sincerely', con sinceridad and 'with sincerity' are equivalents, but these two are not necessarily equivalents of de una manera sincera or of the English 'in a sincere manner'. The first two are derivatives of a Manv-adverb, which modifies the VP. The third example derives from a Man s adverb, which modifies the whole sentence. All of these are derivable from the appropriate Manner node without recourse to a second sentence. They are simply possible realizations of Manner. The phrase in a sincere manner is expandable also as in a manner (which is) sincere, and the wA-phrase is in no sense more basic than any of the other possibilities. The phrase in a manner is one of a few possible constants derivable from a Manner Phrase.2 2

Notice that in John is sincere in manner, sincere modifies manner, and the whole phrase predicates something of John. This sentence is derived from something like John behaves in a sincere manner.



Other examples of categorial equivalents are extremely, to an extreme extent, and to an extent which is extreme. These are three possible expansions of the same Extent Phrase, which may have as a derivative 'ίο+Determiner+extent'. Again this constant is not more basic than the adverb extremely.



Just as there are instances where wA-phrases are parts of the same simple sentence as the constituents they modify, there are many cases in which the simple-complex distinction is a matter of two configurations for a simple Base rather than the synthesis of two or more strings. We have seen examples of such sentences in this study and will see others, such as (6) Se abre esta puerta fäcilmente 'This door is (to be) opened easily', which have as complex reshapings,


(7) Es fäcil abrir esta puerta 'It is easy to open this door', (8) La puerta que se abre fäcilmente es esta 'The door that opens easily is this one'.



In order to define the parameters of conversion for a string we must know all of the intercategorial relationships of the constituents. For middle configurations we must know the relationships that hold (1) between the subject and the predicate; (2) between a participant and each of the other participants; (3) between each and the VP; and (4) between each and the whole sentence. The relevant participants in the Predicate Phrase (PP) are the objects, the Destinative and Source adverbs, Manner, and Frequency. Frequency adverbs are determinants in the generation of both middles and passives. Manner determines only middles. The Cause Phrase may be a possible substitute for the Subject Phrase.



Operationally, one of the ways to discover the intercategorial relationships of a sentence is to find its possible reshapings. The set of possible configurations for



a string is a family of transformations, or configurations. To say that Y is a transformation of X is to say that a relation of equivalence holds between X and Y. 3 Equivalent configurations bring out relations that are latent in the basic sentence. When we see, for example, that (9) I made a dress out of silk is equivalent to (10) I made a silk dress, we know that a relation of coincidence exists between silk and dress. Similarly, a relation of coincidence exists between book and on the table in (11) I put the book down on the table. This relation exists also between book and down, and down and on the table. The Locative Phrase predicates something of the object. And silk can be said to predicate something of dress ('The dress is silk'). An important type of intercategorial relatedness is active and passive relatedness. The Means Phrase, for example, is passively related to the subject, but actively related to the VP. This is proved by the fact that we have an instrumental subjecttransformation which converts the Means Phrase into the active subject. Another type of relationship latent in the Base is possession. There are at least three major types of possessive relation: subjective or agentive, objective, and Dative. The phrase John's present could be derived from the present given to John or the present given by John. Unless a string is specified for possession by the subject, the Dative Phrase bears a relation of possessive coincidence to the object. On the other hand, in the string (12)Ajohn scratched head, where a whole-part relationship exists between subject and object, a pleonastic possessive determiner is required, to produce (13) John scratched his head. the possessive his refers to the subject. These pleonastic determiners can be derived by lexical redundancy rules. In (14) John gave Bob his hand. The possessive his refers to the subject. These pleonastic determiners can be derived by lexical redundancy rules. 3

This is true for GRAMMATICAL transformations. The operation that deletes the agent from a passive sentence, changing the information, is an ellipsis, not a grammatical transformation. Zelig Harris, in "Transformational Theory", Language, 41, N o . 3 (1965) 363-401, defines grammatical transformations in the same way, but within a different theoretical framework.



Lexical redundancy rules can also generate part nouns in some instances. We can say (15) I broke John's arm but not (16) *l broke John. The partitive noun arm CAN be supplied by a redundancy rule which inserts a partitive noun to the right of a human object. When the human object (Destinative, Source, or Extant object) is a whole noun that repeats the subject, the partitive is 'self'. 3.1.1. The categories in the Base are ordered so that each constituent bears some relation of dominance - or modification - to all constituents to the right of it.4 For example, each participant category is theoretically an active or passive subject. The verb, therefore, will be the last constituent to the right before boundary. Since the subject dominates all other constituents, it is the leftmost constituent. Following the subject is the Means Phrase, which is passively related only to the subject.



Sentences such as (17) (a) The acorn grows into an oak, which is equivalent to and

(17) (b) Out of the acorn grows the oak, (c) The oak grows out of an acorn,

have no active subject and must be derived from a Predicate Phrase. It is interesting to note in this context that in some languages a passive case affix is required for all intransitive subjects and for inanimate subjects of transitive sentences. This passive affix is attached also to the objects of transitive verbs. The implication of this behavior is that intransitive and inanimate subjects are in SOME sense derived subjects, if not by conversion rule, then by derivation from the Predicate Phrase. In other words, for an intransitive sentence with an inanimate, non-causal subject, or one which has no corresponding transitive, we might assume that the intransitive subject is derived from the Objective Phrase in the Base. Notice that causal subjects 4

This will not be true for every sentence type. Destinative may determine the choice of partitive Factitive object in some sentences (John cut a hole in the wood); in other instances, the DestinativeP does not determine other constituents.



- those clearly derived from a Cause Phrase - are often inanimate event-nouns, as is the case in (18) (a) (It was) an accident (that) brought me here, which converts into (18) (b) I came here by accident. The transitive sentence is basic in that transitives are said to be prior to passives. Configurationally, of course, (18) (a) and (b) are just two different ways of presenting the same information. Finally, notice that a sentence such as (19) The two roads met undoubtedly has a different structure from (20) John and Mary met. The latter is simply a truncated active reciprocal. Sentence (19) exhibits the behavior of a mediopassive sentence. The question is, what kind of original subject can be supposed for such sentences? The simplest way to handle them certainly seems to be to assume that there are defective, or subjectless sentences in all languages. Much of the behavior of these sentences could be attributed to metaphor. If this is the case, we do not have to account for them in a basic grammar. However, 'The acorn grows into an oak' is not metaphorical. I think it must be characterized in the grammar 4.0.


It is not intended or even hoped that these rules will generate individual sentences. Rather, it is hoped that they will characterize the Bases for the various types of constructions presented in this study. 1. # Σ # -*• # (Determinant) S # Determinant can be realized as one of several clause determiners which modify the whole sentence. These include Condition Phrase, on condition that or if; Purpose Phrase, in order that, and so on, which modify, and to some extent determine, the shape of the sentence. 2. S —* (Subject Phrase) Predicate Phrase 3. Subject Phrase -> SbjP, . . . The three dots mean that there may be other possible rewritings of Subject Phrase. Examples are Agentive Phrase and Cause Phrase. It is not yet clear whether the Cause Phrase is ever a rewrite of Determinant, although some types of causal phrases are apparently derived from Determinant.



4. Predicate Phrase -*> (Accompaniment) (ObjectiveP) V C ObjectiveP includes the categories which can function as verbal objects. V C is the Verb Complex - the verb and its auxiliaries. 5. ObjectiveP -»(Destinative) (Source) (ObjP) Destinative includes both the person and the place-destinations of the verbal activity. Source is any of several types of place and Material adverbs. ObjP is the category of the direct object. , c , fSourceP 1 , 6. S o u r c e - >v ( L , . 1T J ) [MatenalPj ' 7.


ί (ExtantP) /(SourceP - ) I (Factitive)

ExtantP is the category of the Extant object (the object moved); Factitive is the category of the object of result - the object created by the verb. The rule is to be read as Objective Phrase, or; is rewritten as Extant Phrase in the context of Source Phrase + Objective Phrase; or it is rewritten as Factitive. 8. Factitive 9.

(SpecificationP) Factit

Factit^f™ TransP

FctP is a Factitive Phrase, the thing created; TransP is a Translative Phrase, the state or emotion created.

10. SourceP

SublativeP DelativeP ( SuperlativeP ElativeP

SublativeP is out from under, DelativeP is from·, SuperlativeP is off·, and ElativeP is out from inside. 11. Destinative (DativeP) (DestinationP) DativeP, or Dative Phrase, is normally the person receiving the verbal activity or the object. DestinationP may be either the person or the place which is the goal of the activity.

12. DestinationP

IllativeP AllativeP ( LocativeP DestinativeP

IllativeP is into a place; AllativeP is to or towards; LocativeP is on or in·, DestinativeP is at in shoot at. 13. Accompaniment -> (AccompP) (MeansP) (ExtentP) (MannerP) AccompP is an adverb of Accompaniment; MeansP is by means or NP·, MannerP is in some manner, ExtentP is to some extent.



J Fadj 1 14.

-P-> 1


J TransP]

/ jFctP J J

NP - P is any symbol ending in P. Fadj is a Factitive adjective. 15. NP Determiner Ν Determiner is one of several determiners including definite and non-definite articles. In general these can be supplied by transformations. Some device must be introduced here to allow for more than one NP for reciprocal constructions and other plural subject and object-constructions. 16. Ν [+N] The symbol [+N] indicates a switchover from categorial to lexical features rules. SbjP 17. [+N] *>· [±Ncg] in ObjP MeansP [±Ncg] is a cognate noun - one which has a verb always associated with it. An example for SbjP is the thought (I think) frightens me. t+Sbj] / SbjP [+Means] / MeansP | " +Man s MannerP 1 +Man v [+Loc] / DestinativeP 18. [+N] [+Mat] / MaterialP [+Fct] / FctP [+Tr] / TransP [+Loc] I SourceP





+Tre " +Trm +Trg +Trc

[+Tre] is emotional state; [+Trm] is mental; [+Trg] is physiological; [+Trc] is physical; these are all necessary for the subcategorization of Translative verbs. " +Fcx~ 20. [+Fct] ->+Fci [Fcx] is an external factitive - build a house; [+Fci] is an inner Factitive - make a theory. 21. VC Aspect Vb Aspects include completive versus non-completive, which is prior to tense breakdown, and perhaps adverbs of Frequency, which determine aspects within the framework of completive or non-completive.



22. Vb •> [+V] + V is the symbol indicating a change from categorial to lexical feature rules. 23. t+V] [+Vfc] / (Accompaniment) ObjectiveP The verb is marked according to its co-occurrence with these categories. [+Vfct] 24. [+Vfc] -*·• [+Vm] [+Vcg] [+Vca]

JPfFct1 }[+Tr _ / (Destinative) (Source) / [+Ncg] / [+Tr] /

[+Vfc] is a Factitive verb; [+Vm] is a verb of motion; [+Vcg] is a cognate verb; [+Vca] is a Causative verb. A single verb may possess any or all of these features.



These rules apply the features of one category to those of another. They are government rules, which may or may not affect the shape of a constituent. Among these are rules for gender and number concord and the rule which applies the features of the Material or Source adverb to the Factitive object. In some cases this rule requires gender and number concord Juan se hizo rico:

By this rule a Translative noun such as espanto in Juan le produce espanto eso takes on the features of the Source adverb. Espanto, which is a [+Tre] is marked for the feature, [+Human]. Another rule which overlays features plays a role in the generation of cognate verbs: [+Vcg] -» t+Ncg +Vcg] This combination of features underlies such cognate phrases as think thoughts, feel feelings, and so on. There are many such verbs in any language, and they will be semantic cognates with cognate verbs in other languages.



The pre-passive rules must include all those which render a sentence unpassivizable, including both rules of the expansion and the condensation type. Condensation rules precede expansion rules. Examples of these are: 1. ObjP + Vb




This rule converts producir espanto and 'arouse fright' into espantar and 'frighten'. It converts 'put water on the lawn' to 'water the lawn'; and 'put the books on the shelves' to 'shelve the books'. 2. Source + Vb Vb This rule converts sacar de la tierra and 'take out of the earth' to desenterrar and 'unearth'. 3. Manner + Vb -> Vb This rule converts cerrar la puerta con un golpe to golpear la puerta and possibly 'shut the door with a bang' to 'bang the door shut'. 4. Means + Vb -> Vb This rule converts cortar con una hacha to hachear and 'stab with a knife' to 'knife'. 4.2.1. Redundancy expansions Among the redundancy expansions which must precede the rules for active and passive equivalents are: 1. The insertion of hacer and 'to make', dejar and 'to let', as auxiliaries with paraphrastic causative verbs. This rule is obligatory with 'weak' verbs such as caer. 2. The addition of prefixes and suffixes and/or directionals, some instead of causative auxiliaries; others in addition to them. Directionals, such as up, down, may be considered affixal. 3. Insertion of partitive nouns for body parts and clothes where required or permitted. 4.2.2.


Dissimilation of cognate verb-object phrases is a highly productive process. For Spanish, an example is tomar una bebida for beber una bebida. The English glosses represent dissimilations also: take a drink substitutes for drink a drink. The term 'dissimilation' is used here to describe a syntactic operation which makes cognate constituents less alike.5 We can think a thought, have a thought, or give a thought, and so on, where think a thought is unquestionably basic. 4.2.3. Pleonastic possession This rule will specify the features of the possessive determiner in such cases as (21)Ajohn learned lesson, which can be rewritten as (22) John learned his lesson. 5

See my article on "Syntactic Dissimilation".



The same rule could account for


(23) John did his homework, (24) John cut his hand, (25) John gave his toys away.

An important property of these sentences is that they are no longer passivizable. We cannot derive


(26) His homework was done by John (27) His toys were given away by John

from (23) or (25), since the possessive determiners in (26) and (27) can only refer to someone other than the agent.



In 2.0 of this Chapter it was stated that theoretically all the possible permutations of the participant categories in a string will yield a sentence.® To illustrate, let us take a Base such as (28)Λ SbjP la lingiiistica 1

SourceP TransΡ Vb Juan interes provoca 2 3

Juan is the one in whom the interest is aroused, and the phrase interes provoca is taken as one constituent. That is, we assume it has already had the rule ObjP + Vb -» Vb applied to the string. The six possible permutations of the string are all said to be realizable as equivalents. These are derived in the following order: 123 (a) La lingiiistica es lo que a Juan le interesa 213 (b) A Juan la lingiiistica le interesa (mucho) JA Juan le interesa (mucho) la lingiiistica 231 IJuan se interesa por la lingiiistica 321 (d) Lo que le interesa a Juan es la lingiiistica 312 (e) El que se interesa por la lingiiistica es Juan 132 (f) La lingiiistica es lo que le interesa a Juan. These examples illustrate the active and passive potentials of (28). Notice that there is no or β

(29) *La lingiiistica le interesa a Juan (30) *Juan es interesado por la lingiiistica. This was illustrated in "Intransitivization" with the equivalents of John frightens




The variants in (a), (d), (e), and (f) are the results of emphasizing one or another of the constituents. In (c) there are two possibilities: the causative active and the mediopassive. Another type of sentence for which all the possibilities will in some cases yield a grammatical sentence is the mediopassive with inanimate objects, or rather, subjects. In the example that follows, only the Base ordering will not yield a grammatical sentence in Spanish: (31)a

213 231 321 312 132





(J _ I) fdcil lapuerta abre 0 n e l J 1 2 3 (b) La puerta es fäcil de abrir (c) La puerta se abre fäcilmente Uno abre la puerta fäcilmente (d) Se abre la puerta fäcilmente Abrir la puerta es cosa fäcil (de hacer) (e) Se abre fäcilmente la puerta (f) Es fäcil (para uno) abrir la puerta.

Comparison of (31) with its English correspondent shows that for English, all of the permutations produce grammatical equivalents: (32)A





(\ ^ \) ={£}>

ease 7

the door 2

open 3

123 (a) θ 1 e a s ^ § e t s the door opened > ί s easy (for one) to get the door opened 'jit': one 213 ( b ) ^ ^ 6 ^ 0 0 Γ e a s y ) to open I The door is easily (to be) opened

231 (c)

The door opens easily The door is (to be) opened easily

321 (d)

One opens the door easily Opening the door is easy (for one) (to do)

312 (e) What opens easily is the door 132 (f)


y opens the door jit is easy (for one) to open the door.

The family illustrated in (31) and (32) is that of potential resultative constructions. It could be called the family of potential passives. All of the potential passives are mediopassives; (a), (d), and (f) are potential active equivalents for English, while only (d) and (f) in Spanish are potential actives. This permutation



pattern is productive for all habitual mediopassives, characterized by possible cooccurrence with the [+Man v ]-adverbs jäcilmente and 'easily', dificilmente and 'with difficulty'.7 4.3.1. Notice that the order 123 can be said to be closer to the Base historically as well as synchronically for English: (33) One easily the door opens was at one time a grammatical sentence. It would be interesting to see some account of the relationship of the basic active sentence order to the Base order, to see, for example, whether languages whose basic sentence order is the same as Base order have changed less than English or Spanish at the syntactic level - that is, at the level of ordering of major categories. Changes in prepositions and verbal auxiliaries would be far less significant as measures, though such changes make the surface structures look quite different. 4.3.2. As can be seen in the preceding illustrations, the shape of the sentence for any of the permutations is conditioned partly by choices in the Base, partly by the permutation itself. The Base determines, first of all, the family of transformations that is, the types of constants to be added and changes in form to be imposed. For example, a Base such as (34) John







produces the family


(34) 123 213 231 321 312 132

(a) ί John is a good at hockey playing I John is a good hockey player (b) John's hockey game is well played (c) John's hockey playing is good (d) John plays hockey well (e) John plays good hockey (f) John is good at playing hockey.

This family of configurations makes overt all and only the relations latent in (34). The shapes of the sentences differ markedly from the shapes of the family derived from (32). Thus we see that the permutation - the syntaxis - determines the choice 7 A t least one other adverb must be recognized for the English family. Although hard could only occur in a Manner node as the hard way, or sometimes hardly in a different sense, we have the construction It is hard to open that door, which presupposes something like One can hardly open that door.



of constants and inflections, but only in terms of what is permitted by the relationships in the Base itself. The problems of determining which of the constituents for any Base are permutable, and which of the constituents are to be taken as one permutable element - producir espanto espantar - are yet to be solved. Notice that in (32) the choice of the indefinite One as subject determines the adjectival configurations - (a), (b), (d), and (f) - while the choice of 'ΛΧ' determines the adverbial configurations in (c) and (e). The hypothetical subject for one which is optional in the adjectival configurations, is not freely permutable. It must be assumed, therefore, that the positioning of this phrase follows the other permutations. 4.3.3. The position of preposition rules The choice of prepositions depends on the category, its relationship to the verb, and the transformational history of the sentence. The retention of certain prepositions in the passive (The war was talked about) indicates that the rules which generate undeletable prepositional category markers must precede the active and passive permutations. Unstable constants, on the other hand, such as the to of It is frightening to Mary, are perhaps best treated as results of permutational and configurational choices. Some prepositions occur independently of configurations; others are configuration-bound. To put it another way, in some sentences we feel that a preposition has been deleted. We do not feel this, however, in It frightens Mary. Rather, we feel that in It is frightening to Mary, the to of the DativeP has materialized. This intuitive difference must be accounted for in the grammar.



There are many instances where a particular permutation is determined by extrasentential features. For example, the pattern that governs (35) A la senora le di un asiento 'To the lady I gave a seat' is Ά X si y a Y no'. Thus, (35) implies something like (36) A la senora le di un asiento, pero a su hijo no 'To the lady I gave a seat; but to her son I didn't'. The sentential focus is on the DativeP, or the DativeP AND the object. The pattern is fixed; that is, this pattern and no other is what underlies sentences of this shape. By way of further illustration, notice (37) (a) El papel se rasga fäcilmente 'Paper tears easily',



which implies (37) (b) El papel se rasga fäcilmente, pero no se arruga 'Paper tears easily, but it doesn't wrinkle', where the contrastive emphasis is on the verb, but not on the last element. The colorless word order for (37) (a) is (37) (c) Se rasga el papel fäcilmente. If we change to (37) (d) Se rasga fäcilmente el papel, we imply something like (37) (e) Se rasga fäcilmente el papel, pero no la tela 'Paper can be torn easily, but cloth can't'. When the subject is in first position, it is felt to be more 'active' than when it follows. This is true even for (38) La nieve se derrite al sol, which can occur only in this word order in the mediopassive intransitive equivalent. Another three-way permutation in which each ordering has different implications is


(39) (a) Se abrieron las puertas a las diez 'The doors got opened at ten' (b) Las puertas se abrieron a las diez (c) A las diez se abrieron las puertas.

(39) (a) implies something like (40) (a) . . . y (por ellas) entro una multitud de gente (39) (b) implies (40) (b) . . . y a esa hora entro una multitud de gente 'and at that hour there entered a multitude of people' and (39) (c) implies (40) (c) . . . y a las once los habian vendido todos 'and at eleven they had sold them all'. In (39) (c) las puertas carries the LEAST information and is deletable. The Time Phrase is the focal point of the sentence and is paralleled in the conjoined sentence. In (39) (b) the whole sentence requires further information, and in (39) (a), it is the SECOND element which receives further contrastive comment.


CONFIGURATIONAL THEORY AND MEDIALIZATION The rules for word order in Spanish are far more complex than the preceding illustration would indicate. What it is important to note here is that word order requirements are determined by the Base categories - the type of verb and so on - and certain extra-sentential features, such as parallels and contrasts. It is far from possible to say that this or that position in a sentence automatically gives greater prominence to a constituent. This depends on the sentence type, and often what is interpreted as greater informational prominence occurs as the result of deletion of the conjoined sentence which gives added information about the last constituent in the sentence.



It has been my purpose in this study to present a description of the behavior of the middle voice in Spanish and the corresponding English constructions. The theory of voice, and of language description in general, is an integrated one. By this I mean that sentences are viewed as consisting of, but not reducible to the number of observable parts. The theory is generative, in so far as it correctly describes, in an ordered way, the tacit knowledge we have of linguistic processes. It differs from transformational theory in several crucial respects, among these being the treatment of complex sentences. I do not view every complex sentence as consisting of more than one sentence, nor do I assume that a part which plays two lexical or relational roles is necessarily the result of its being derived from two separate nodes in the Base. In fact, a single category may be represented by two or more parts at the sentence level; that is, what is one in essence may be more than one in form. Transformational theory, at least as it is now practiced, assumes that the whole is essentially the sum of the parts. Configurational theory assumes that no single configurational equivalent will contain all the parts that can be derived from the Base. The point of these observations is that language structure is generated by syntaxis and extraction as well as synthesis, and perhaps syntaxis plays the more important generative role, although at all times we must take into account structure above the sentence level. The theory of voice, as illustrated throughout this book, assumes that a Base has at least as many realizations as there are ways in which some relation latent in the active sentence can be made overt. All of the configurations generated by permutation - by syntaxis - in this chapter are sets of possible voices for each of the Bases given. Each of the sets contains informationally equivalent reshapings of the Base, and each configuration makes overt some relation not made overt in the other equivalents. Configurational theory assumes that the role played by a constituent in the surface structure is not necessarily its role in the Base. It recognizes, for example, metonymic replacement, whereby a Source or Material adverb may substitute for an object. This is the case for example in Juan se Ιανό las manos and 'John washed his hands',


where las memos and 'his hands', are Source adverbs.8





It should be stressed that my purpose in this book has been to characterize voice conversions, not to provide a device which will automatically generate individual sentences. It is after all the characterization which is most important to our understanding of linguistic processes. Finally, it should be noted that in every case where a Spanish construction has a corresponding English construction, the Bases are assumed to be the same for the two languages, although the surface structures differ at times quite widely. 1 assume furthermore that every language must have some way of making middle voice relations overt.


The notion of metonymy is discussed at length in "Intransitivization", where it is shown that John washed his hands is derived from John washed the dirt off his hands.


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Active relatedness, 78-9 Adjective categorial status, 13, 74, 76, 78 Extent, 77 Factitive, 14, 82 Manner, 76, 86, 87 Stative, 57, 59, 63 Affix directional English, 25, 26, 35, 49, 51, 52, 54, 66, 67, 84 Spanish, 31, 34, 35, 49, 51, 52, 70 inseparable, 19-22, 24, 26 middle, 66, 69, 70 intransitivizing, 34 object, 23 reflexive, see Reflexive separable in English, 25, 26, 35 Alternant equivalent, see Equivalence morphophonemic, 38, 63 syntactic, 18, 38, 52, 63, 71, 72 Alternation, 67 Analysis by syntaxis, see Syntaxis by synthesis, see Synthesis Aspect completive, 17, 45, 54, 82 distinguished from tense, 82 distinguished f r o m voice, 63, 64 durative, 51 effective, 64 habitual, 41, 44 inceptive, 17, 49, 63, 64 iterative, 55, 65 non-completive, 52, 82 single-response, 51, 65 Auxiliary causative, 50, 64 mediopassive, 73 passive, 73 Axiom, 8, 75

Base component categories, nature of, 7, 75, 76, 77, 90 general structure, 12, 13, 61-2, 72, 90 rules, 80-5 string, 12 universality, 75 Base form versus category, 76 Category major, 7, 33, 74-7, 80-3 lexical, 33, 74-7 Causative verbs, see Verbs Causativization, paraphrastic, see Constructions Cause Phrase, 41, 52, 60, 63, 65 Cognate verb, see Verbs Coincidence, 14, 26, 29, 32, 54, 55, 66, 78 Completive, see Aspect Complexity, superficial, 77, 85-8, 90 Configurational theory axioms of, 12, 74-80, 90 contrasted with previous theories, 12-15, 41, 42, 74-80, 90 Constructions causative, see Verbs cognate, see Verbs mediopassive, 35-7, 41, 44, 45-7, 50, 59, 60, 63-4, 70-73 paraphrastic causative, 13, 39, 64, 65 reciprocal, 68-9 reflexive, see Reflexive transitive, 40, 67 Deponent, 66-7 Determinant categorial status, 80 Directional, see Affix Dissimilation, syntactic, 26, 84 Dynamic participation, see Membership behavior

96 Ellipsis versus haplology, 32, 61-2 Emphasis, 44, 45, 88-90 Equivalence defined and illustrated, 12-15, 59, 85-88 Extraction transformations, 30, 41-2, 62, 90 Factitive adjective, 14, 82 objects, 14, 61, 81 verbs, 54-5, 61 Field grammatical, 12 semantic, 12 structure above the sentence level, 88-9 Habitual aspect, see Aspect Haplology, syntactic, see Ellipsis Holistic behavior, see Configurational theory Identity coincidence, see Coincidence reflexive, 27-9, 31 Inversion, 43-5, 56, 88-90 Means Phrases, 7, 60-2, 74, 80-3 Membership behavior, illustrated, 12-15, 29, 75-7, 86-8, 90 Metonymie coincidence, 27, 31 replacement, 27, 90-1 Middle defined traditionally, 39 parameters, 39 in Greek, 39, 54 in Spanish, see Reflexive Mood, see Determinant Non-completive, see Aspect Noun Phrase categorial status of, 76 Oblique defined by Bello, 15 Object human NP as direct object, 37 Paraphrasis paraphrastic causative, see Constructions Participant, see Category Partitive, see Possession Passive parameters, 57, 73 relatedness, 78-9 Possession, 26, 31-3, 78, 84-5 Predictability of lexical categories, 75 Prepositional Phrase

INDEX categorial status, 74-5 position of preposition rules in the grammar, 88 Pro-verb, see Dissimilation Pronouns contrasted with verbal affixes, 19-22 derivation, 24, 27 Reciprocal, see Constructions Recursion, 41 Redundancy rules featural, 83 lexical, 14, 62, 79, 84-5 Reduplication in mediopassives, 36, 73 Reflexive Affix versus pronoun, 28 Constructions causative, 37 deponent, 66-7 gratuitous, 52-54 impersonal, 46-7 intransitives active, 34-5, 47-8 mediopassive, 35-7, 41, 44, 45-7, 50, 59, 60, 63, 64, 70-3 reflexive (object), 27, 31-2 reciprocal, 68-9 pronouns, 29-31 Stative adjective, see Adjective participle deletion, 57 resultative passive, 57-9, 63 verb, 55-6 Suppletion, syntactic, 68 Syntaxis, 13, 14, 15, 90 Synthesis, 13, 14, 15, 90 Tense, see Aspect Transformations elliptical, 12 grammatical, 12 families of, 13-15, 85-7 Transitivity, defined, 40 Translative, see Verbs Verbs Causative, 17, 21, 37-8, 50, 58-60, 72-3, 75 Cognate, 26, 31, 46, 83-4 Deponent, 66-7 Factitive, 55-6, 61, 81-3 middle, see Deponent and Middle passive, 73 Stative, 55-6, 66 Translative, 55, 83 Voice, defined, 33-4