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Peter Arkadiev (Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies) Towards a typology of passive lability with special reference to Abaza

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Uncoded passive alternations, also known as passive lability, are only rarely mentioned and discussed in the typological and theoretical literature on passive and voice, despite their being prominent in some language families (e.g. Mande) and linguistic areas (e.g. Western Africa). In this talk I start by discussing the peculiar objective resultative construction in Abaza, a polysynthetic Northwest Caucasian language, and investigate the degree of its similarity to the cross-linguistic prototype of the passive. Given that the Abaza resultative is morphologically unmarked, I argue that it can be considered an instance of passive lability. Further, I propose a preliminary typology of uncoded passives on the basis of a small convenience sample of examples I could gather from the literature. I’ll try to show that this phenomenon is somewhat more widespread than is usually believed and that its cross-linguistic variation largely fits within the typology of “canonical” morphologically marked passives and complements it.