[Lingtyp] passive, wh, and case-marking

Frederick J Newmeyer fjn at u.washington.edu
Wed Apr 1 21:06:21 UTC 2015

Dear Lingtyps,

Consider a language with the following properties:

1. Productive case marking distinguishing subjects from direct objects
2. A passive-type construction involving a change of word order.
3. A ‘wh’-type construction where the displaced element is not in an argument position.

In English and in many other language the direct object under passivization is case-marked as a subject, while the displaced ‘wh’-element retains its ‘original’ case marking. Consider an example from English (in a dialect where ‘who’ and ‘whom’ are strictly distinguished):

1. She/*Her was seen by him.
2. *Who/Whom did you see?

Does anybody know of a language that works in the opposite way?



Frederick J. Newmeyer
Professor Emeritus, University of Washington
Adjunct Professor, U of British Columbia and Simon Fraser U

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