passive and locative

Mon May 4 18:45:02 UTC 1998


Is anybody familiar with examples of languages with identical
morphosyntactic markings for the following two grammatical
categories: (a) passive, or patient orientation, on verbs;
and (b) locative, on nouns?

One well-known example is Malay / Indonesian, with _di_
for both.  (Prescriptivist grammarians distinguish between
the "two _di_'s" orthographically: the former is joined on
to the following verb while the latter is written as a
separate word.  However, Malays and Indonesians find it very
difficult to keep them apart when writing, and make frequent
errors -- suggesting that the distinction may not be
psychologicaly real for them.)

I am proposing a unified analysis encompassing both usages;
what I am looking for is cross-linguistic support for the
analysis, in the form of other languages in which the two
categories coalesce.

David Gil
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
dgil at

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