Heidi Harley, University of Arizona

Suppressing subject arguments in Hiaki

The Hiaki passive suffix -wa appears in a very normal-looking personal passive, and also in an odd impersonal passive—odd in that it is productive with unaccusative as well as unergative intransitive predicates, provided they have a [+human] argument. It appears that -wa can even make a personal passive out of a raising predicate, suppressing the embedded subject and promoting the embedded object. 

I will lay out the empirical picture for you, mainly focussing on investigating whether the apparent impersonal construction might have a null impersonal subject argument, and arguing that it does not. Then I will illustrate where my thinking is going about how -wa operates, aiming for a unified treatment of -wa across the personal and impersonal constructions using half of Lechner 2012's reflexivization operation. Then I will ask for lots and lots of input.