IMPERFECTIVE VERBS AND THE PASSIVE PARTICIPLE IN CROATIAN

Author:
Jurica Polančec
Email:
jurica.polancec@gmail.com
Summary
The study examines the use of imperfective verbs in the passive participle form in the Croatian language. For the purposes of the study, ninety seven of the most frequent imperfective verbs which form the passive participle were collected from the hrWac 2.0 corpus (stative transitive verbs cannot normally form the passive participle). They were analyzed with respect to the criteria of frequency and acceptability. It was shown that most of the analyzed verbs are used freely in the dynamic passive function and that they express all of the typical meanings of imperfective verbs. The imperfective passive participle has some special uses when not used dynamically, in which case the contrast between telic and atelic verbs proves to be crucial. Atelic verbs, often used in the premodifying position, express permanent or characteristic features. In this function they can be replaced by the reflexive passive form, which conveys the same meaning. Telic verbs, on the other hand, have a twofold use. Numerous verbs can express the characteristic of an object that is the result of a previous action. This resultative use is quite idiosyncratic and such participles are often limited to premodifying position. The other use is the General Factual function, in which an imperfective verb is used to express a single, completed action. In neither use can telic verbs be replaced by the reflexive passive form. It was also noted that a dozen verbs are rarely used in the passive participle form, and their passive participle seems less acceptable than the rest of the sample. We have found no plausible explanation for this finding. Finally, the passive form of imperfective verbs may generally be substituted by the reflexive passive when expressing the future or past, which in turn shows that the verbal aspect is not a particularly important parameter when deciding between these two constructions in Croatian.
Key words
the passive; imperfective verbs; Croatian; the participial passive; the reflexive passive
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