Axel Holvoet

Vilnius University


Antipassive reflexives in Latvian



The article deals with antipassive reflexives in Latvian, with side glances at other Baltic and Slavonic languages. The purpose of the article is to locate antipassive reflexives in the semantic space of reflexives and middles by establishing their mutual relationships and their conceptual and diachronic links to other types of reflexive-marked middles. Two types of antipassive reflexives already identified in the literature, viz. deobjectives and deaccusatives, are discussed. First, deobjectives are set apart from metonymic reflexives. Then the relationship between deobjectives and deaccusatives is discussed: deobjective constructions, which suppress the object, encode decreased prominence of the patient, whereas deaccusatives, which substitute oblique (prepositional) marking for direct object marking, encode decreased affectedness and atelicization. A further type is also introduced that has not hitherto been identified in the literature, the ‘deagentive-deaccusative’ type. With antipassive reflexives it shares the oblique marking of the object but it differs from them by a shift of subjecthood from the agent to a theme/medium argument; in this respect, they resemble anticausatives.


Keywords: antipassive, reflexive, deobjective, deaccusative, Latvian, Lithuanian