The passive in Erzya-Mordvin folklore
The aim of this research is to shed some light on theMordvin passive, an inadequately studied grammatical aspect of the language. Passive sentences contain a special polyfunctional derivative suffix -v-. Since only some groups of verbs with this suffix are passive, final judgement on the meaning can be rendered only in context. The relationship between the derivative and the root verb is illustrated using valence roles of case grammar. There are two groups of passive clauses: 1) where the primary actant is reflected as the agent in the surface structure, and 2) where the primary actant is not visible in the surface structure. A concise historical overview of the 170-yearlong study ofMordvin passive is also presented.