The agentive construction in Baltic and Fennic


The article deals with the agentive construction, a construction identifying the agent used mainly in adnominal position and in the position of nominal predicate but distinct from the agented passive. The notion is known from Finnish grammar (where it has dedicated morphological marking, the agentive participle), but the article describes a similar construction in Latvian. The marking of the agent in the Fennic and Baltic agentive construction is possessive, which points to an areal convergence. The article offers a corpus-based analysis of the lexical input and the semantics of the Latvian agentive construction and discusses the relationship between the agentive construction and the resultative passive. Attention is also given to intra-Baltic historical processes, notably to mechanisms of the rise of an agented passive in Lithuanian from an original agentive construction as retained in Latvian.


agent; agentive construction; passive; resultative passive

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Published : 2019-12-31

Holvoet, A., Daugavet, A., Spraunienė, B., & Laugalienė, A. (2019). The agentive construction in Baltic and Fennic. Baltic Linguistics, 10, 195-236.

Axel Holvoet 
Vilnius University, Institute for the Languages and Cultures of the Baltic, Universiteto g. 5, LT-01131 Vilnius  Lithuania
Anna Daugavet 
St Petersburg University, Department of General Linguistics, Universitetskaya nab. 11, RU-199034, St Petersburg & Vilnius University, Institute for the Languages and Cultures of the Baltic, Universiteto g. 5, LT-01131 Vilnius  Russian Federation
Birutė Spraunienė 
Vilnius University, Institute for the Languages and Cultures of the Baltic, Universiteto g. 5, LT-01131 Vilnius  Lithuania
Asta Laugalienė 
Vilnius University, Institute for the Languages and Cultures of the Baltic, Universiteto g. 5, LT-01131 Vilnius  Lithuania