T.I. Console info at TICONSOLE.NL
Fri Jul 3 07:37:14 UTC 1998

Jacob Baltuch wrote:

>[in Drav. langauges?] locatives can be raised to subject position in a
>passive context, whereas this is impossible in Indo-european languages,
>like Sanskrit. There only indirect and direct objects can be raised thus,
>like in English, Dutch etc.

>Could you give some examples of this raising business?

I don't know what your knowledge on generative grammar business is, but let's assume it's almost zero, regarding your word `business'.

There are two options to analyse passive sentences: with raising and with movements. If you are fond of Deep Structures, both are an option, if you prefer Surface Structures only, only movements are an option. Maybe I should have given here the term movements or move-x instead of raising. But that are matters of definition (plus a bit more).


John gave a book to Mary
SU - verb - DO - IO


A book was given to Mary by John
Mary was given a book by John

You see, both original objects can occupy subject position. This is a common phenomenon in a number of IE languages (English, Sanskrit) and non-IE languages (Japanese), but not all languages. All languages permit DO to SU.

Languages which do not allow movement/raising of IO to SU are IE Hindi, German, Dutch and non-IE Tamil, Kannada.



1) rAmo nalAya pustaka.m dadAti
2) nalAya pustaka.m dIyate
3) nalo pustaka.m dApyate


1) john-ga mari-ni hon-o atae-ta
2) hon-ga john-ni (yotte) mari-ni atae-rare-ta
3) mari-ga john-ni (yotte) hon-o atae-rare-ta


1) nAn avan-ukku oru pustukam ko.tu-tt-E.n
2) oru pustukam avan-ukku enn-Al ko.tukkap-pa.t-.t-atu
3) * avan oru pustakam enn-Al ko.tukkap-pa.t-.t-An


1) mai.mne usko ek kitAb dI
2) ek kitAb usko mujhse dI gayI
3) * vah mujhse ek kitAb dI gaya

In Tamil some locative phrases can move to subject position in a passive clause.


1) ta.n.nIr to.t.ti(y)-il niramp-i(y)-atu
water - tank-LOC - fill-PAST
2) to.t.ti enn-Al ta.n.nIr-Ati ko.n.tu nirappa-pa.t-.t-atu
tank me-BY water-WITH fill-PAST-PASS

More examples and ample discussion in

K. Rangan: `Some Problems in Tamil passive structures', Indian Linguistics 40-4:218-229

(and of course my own book `The Bhasa Problem etc.)

Sandra van der Geer
email info at
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