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LRC Speaker Series presents, Heidi Harley

Date & Time:
November 3, 2017 | 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
CHD 420
Heidi Harley, Professor of Linguistics, University of Arizona


Invisible Passivization

There are many contexts cross-linguistically where transitive verbs receive a passive interpretation in the absence of passive marking. In this talk I develop an analysis of invisible passivization in Hiaki, a Uto-Aztecan language of Arizona and Mexico. Passive is supposed to be a universally morphologically marked category compared to the active, but in Hiaki desiderative, causative and abilitative constructions, passive is not marked. I link the morphological invisibility of the Hiaki passive to a surprising property of the overt (impersonal) passive, namely that it can apply to unaccusative as well as unergative verbs.  I propose that overt Hiaki passive morphology is a reflex of an Agree relation between Voice and an embedded, morphologically null passivizing head. It is this head, not Voice, which derives all the morphology-less passives in Hiaki. I then suggest that morphology-less passive interpretations in other languages may be amenable to a similar approach. 











Bio: Heidi Harley is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona, hailing from the town of Portugal Cove, in Newfoundland, Canada. She earned her PhD from Massacusetts Institute of Technology in 1995, and joined the University of Arizona faculty in 1999. Her research focuses on the syntax, morphology, and lexical semantics of language.

Her work has appeared in various venues including LanguageLinguistic InquiryLinguaJournal of Linguistics, and Studia Linguistica, and many edited volumes and handbooks. She is the author of a textbook on English word structure for Wiley/Blackwell. She has supervised more than 20 doctoral students, and has taught at many linguistics summer schools in the US, Germany, Mexico and Brazil.