Slavic (2014)

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  • Slavic, Jessica G. 2014. On Impersonal Constructions: Implications of Celtic Verbal Inflections, manuscript de thèse de maîtrise. texte.

 Celtic languages, specifically Irish and Breton, possess a verbal inflection known as “autonomous” or “impersonal.” This thesis defines impersonalization as a phenomenon that de‐emphasizes the logical subject of a verb. Common forms of impersonalization under this definition include generic pronouns, passivization, and passive with expletive subject constructions. I hold that impersonal verbal inflections should be recognized as a comparable strategy for impersonalization. I recognize the inherent similarity that impersonal verbal inflections bear to passivization in this respect, but I maintain that impersonalization is a distinct syntactic category. All forms of impersonalization should be viewed as members of one broad category possessing heterogeneous syntactic strategies, which are unique and valid methods of de-emphasizing the logical subject. I show that there can be further variation within each strategy, and I give particular attention to the variation in theta role placement in Celtic impersonal forms.
 This thesis aims to establish the Celtic impersonal inflections as a form of impersonalization comparable to passivization or generic pronouns, and to provide a detailed description of these verbal inflections.