Article published in:Impersonal Constructions: A cross-linguistic perspective
Edited by Andrej L. Malchukov and Anna Siewierska
[Studies in Language Companion Series 124] 2011
► pp. 57–90
Overlap and complementarity in reference impersonals
Man-constructions vs. third person plural-impersonals in the languages of Europe
This paper is concerned with two kinds of so-called R-impersonals, i.e. impersonals triggered by a reduction in referentiality, namely third-person plural impersonals (3pl-imps) and man-constructions (man-imps). In the languages of Europe, both of these impersonal constructions display a wide range of uses including referential uses and therefore enter into competition with topicality and definiteness based-impersonals. Building on the work of Giacalone Ramat & Sansò (2008), the current paper maps out the distribution of 3pl-imps relative to man-imps and relates these patterns to an important typological factor in the European context, namely the formal realization of pronominal subjects (see e.g. Holmberg 2005; Cabredo Hofherr 2006; Siewierska 2007). This relationship will, however, be argued to be somewhat more nuanced that has been previously assumed. Keywords: generic; episodic; existential; passive; agentivity; pro-drop; voice
Published online: 20 July 2011
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