Antipassive reflexive constructions in Latvian

A corpus-based analysis


The article presents a corpus-based investigation of the antipassive reflexive constructions of Latvian. They are subdivided into deobjectives (with suppression of the object) and deaccusatives (with oblique encoding of the object). The emphasis is on the lexical input for the two constructions, frequencies and degrees of lexical entrenchment. The authors identify two subtypes of deobjectives: behaviour-characterising deobjectives (lexically entrenched) and activity deobjectives (weakly entrenched but freely produced ‘online’, hence detectable only through a corpus search). Deaccusatives tend to be lexically entrenched; they are strongly associated with the lexical class of verbs of (chaotic) physical manipulation, but extend beyond this class thanks to processes of metonymy and metaphorisation. The authors argue that while antipassives are often defined as constructions suppressing the object or optionally expressing it as an oblique argument, patientless and patiented antipassives are actually different constructions with constructional meanings of their own. While deobjectives conceptualise agency as a self-contained event even though an object is notionally required, deaccusatives convey low affectedness of the object.


Latvian, reflexive, antipassive, deobjective, deaccusative

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Published : 2020-12-30

Holvoet, A., & Daugavet, A. (2020). Antipassive reflexive constructions in Latvian. Baltic Linguistics, 11, 241–290.

Axel Holvoet 
Vilnius University  Lithuania
Anna Daugavet