Article published in:Cross-Linguistic Perspectives on the Development of Text-Production Abilities in Speech and Writing. Part 2
Edited by Ruth A. Berman and Ludo Verhoeven
[Written Language & Literacy 5:2] 2002
► pp. 163–181
Passive voice constructions in written texts
A cross-linguistic developmental study
The distribution of passive constructions is examined in written texts produced by native speakers of five Languages (Dutch, English, French, Hebrew, and Spanish), from four Age groups (aged 9–10, 12–13, 15–16 years, and adults). These languages contrast in the variety of structures available to promote a patient and to downgrade an agent in event encoding. The results show significant effects of Language and Age. When a language has productive alternative rhetorical options for the two functions, it relies less on passive constructions. Across all five languages, passives increase with Age. However, even our youngest subjects show a language-specific rhetorical bias.
Published online: 10 January 2003
Cited by 45 other publications
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