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23. Passives and se Constructions


Subject Theoretical Linguistics » Syntax

Key-Topics generative grammar, grammar

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405198820.2012.00025.x


The clitic se in Spanish, like its Romance equivalents, is crucially involved in constructions representing core grammatical phenomena such as coreferentiality, impersonality, voice, causation, telicity, and so on. It is, therefore, not surprising that the properties of se constructions, of which we offer a representative (though not exhaustive) sample in (1), are amongst the most researched topics in Spanish linguistics. (1) a. Se observa(n) cambios en la economía. impersonal/passive se observe- sg (- pl ) changes in the economy ‘One can observe changes in the economy.’ b. Las casas prefabricadas se construyen fácilmente. middle the houses prefabricated- pl se build- pl easily ‘Prefabricated houses are easily built.’ c. Los hermanos se miraron. reciprocal the brothers se looked- 3pl ‘The brothers looked at each other.’ d. Los niños se lavaron. reflexive the children se washed- 3pl ‘The children washed.’ e. Ana se desmayó. pseudo-reflexive Ana se fainted- 3sg ‘Ana fainted.’ f. El cristal se rompió. unaccusative/inchoative the glass se broke- 3sg ‘The glass broke.’ g. Juan se comió las manzanas. aspectual/telic Juan se ate- 3sg the apples ‘Juan ate (up) the apples.’ h. Juan se fue. aspectual Juan se went- 3sg ‘Juan went (away).’ A descriptive account of se constructions can be found, among others, in Molina Redondo (1974) (see Mendikoetxea ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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