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Academic Paper


Title: Case alternations in Icelandic ‘get’-passives
Author: Einar Freyr Sigurðsson
Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Author: Jim Wood
Institution: Yale University
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Abstract: The analysis of ‘get’-passives across Germanic poses a number of challenges to our understanding of valency alternations: they exhibit surprising case alternations and recalcitrant thematic properties (Alexiadou 2012, Alexiadou, Anagnostopoulou & Sevdali to appear). In this article, we present novel data on ‘get’-passives in Icelandic; while Icelandic has played an important role in our understanding of case marking and valency alternations, ‘get’-passives have not, to our knowledge, been studied in this language before. By situating ‘get’-passives within the landscape of well-established case patterns of Icelandic, we are able to argue in favor of the following conclusions: (i) Icelandic ‘get’-passives involve unambiguously verbal passives; (ii) the surface subject of recipient ‘get’-passives (‘I got a letter sent to me’) does not originate as the dative indirect object of the passive participle, but rather originates as an (external) argument of ‘get’; and (iii) at least some intransitive ‘get’-passives (‘This got changed’) involve anticausativization of the corresponding causative ‘get’-passive (‘I got this changed’), as proposed for English by Haegeman (1985).

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Nordic Journal of Linguistics Vol. 35, Issue 3.

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