Grammaticalization without Feature Economy: Evidence from the Voice Cycle in Hungarian
Tamás Halm
April 2020

The present paper is a corpus-based study of the Voice Cycle in Hungarian. Based on data from the Old Hungarian Corpus and the Hungarian Historical Corpus, I will argue that while in Old Hungarian, middle voice was encoded through a separate inflectional paradigm (contextual allomorphy in the subject agreement suffix conditional on the feature content of a silent Voice head), in Modern Hungarian, middle voice is encoded through dedicated middle voice suffixes (i.e., the Voice head is spelled out overtly). I will claim that the underlying grammaticalization process involved the reanalysis of frequentative suffixes (v heads) as middle voice suffixes (Voice heads). I will show that this reinterpretation was not based on shared abstract features, but rather, on a principled correlation between middle voice and frequentative aspect: since some types of middles (antipassives and dispositional middles) were likelier to be associated with a frequentative or habitual reading than actives, frequentative suffixes were susceptible to be reanalyzed as middle suffixes in the course of language acquisition. I will thus claim that in addition to Feature Economy (Gelderen 2011), reinterpretation based on correlation between featurally independent grammatical markers should also be regarded as a mechanism of grammaticalization.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004496
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Diachronica 37:1, 1-42
keywords: voice; grammaticalization; middles; hungarian; antipassives; anticausatives, semantics, syntax
previous versions: v3 [April 2020]
v2 [May 2019]
v1 [January 2019]
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