Praxis of linguistics: Passives in Dutch

ARIE VERHAGEN
1992 Cognitive Linguistics  
This paper examines the two major forms of passives in Dutch: with the auxiliary worden 'to become', and with zijn 'to be'. In contrast to traditional approaches, it takes the view that this usage is related to other uses of the verbs (i.e. passives are viewedäs analyzable). Thisprovides anaturalframeworkfor an integrated description of Standard and "non-Standard"forms of passives. More importantly, it explains a striking difference in actual usage that has not been taken into account before:
more » ... o account before: it is specifically the wordenpassives that give rise to problems of usage in texts and in writing classes. This paper claims that worden, being inchoative with respect to zijn, presents a state (denoted by the participle) äs coming about, while zijn simply presents the existence of a state. Consequently, a worden-passive presents a Situation front a perspective other than that of a participant that is implied to be present in this Situation (the agent), and this offen results in an effect ofdeliberate backgrounding. In a zijn-passive, the agent is not implied to be present in the Situation described (a state), so that no special effects result from the fact that it is not chosen äs the entity from whose perspective the Situation ispresented. Furthermore, the idea that different degrees ofdetransitivization are involved suggests new ways in which problematic usage of passives in texts may be avoided-i.e. Solutions to problems that traditional grammatical approaches to composition have been unable to deal with. The cognitive linguistic idea of analyzability of a grammatical construction can thus be successfully applied to practical problems; this provides a specific type of empirical support for the approach, which is to be welcomed in view ofa number of methodological andphilosophical considerations.
doi:10.1515/cogl.1992.3.3.301 fatcat:iqmavoi4hjhtfm6hadu2orq4re