The passive as an impersonalisation strategy in Afrikaans and Dutch : A corpus investigation

Breed, Adri and Van Olmen, Daniel (2021) The passive as an impersonalisation strategy in Afrikaans and Dutch : A corpus investigation. Dutch Crossing, 45 (2). pp. 171-207. ISSN 0309-6564

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Although a lot of research has been done on the use of pronouns to express impersonal meaning in West Germanic languages, relatively little is known about the use of other possible impersonalization strategies. This article therefore examines the agentless passive as a possible impersonalizing strategy in Afrikaans and Dutch. On the basis of corpus data, we show that the agentless passive is a productive strategy for impersonalization in both Afrikaans and Dutch – in that it is being used in the entire range of impersonal contexts. However, it is more typically employed for corporate contexts and existential contexts where the subject is vague and number-neutral. Some variation in the use of the agentless passive in different genres are also seen. On the whole, however, the agentless passives behave very similarly in the two languages as an impersonalizing strategy.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Dutch Crossing
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Dutch Crossing on 16/05/2021, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? agentless passiveexistentialhuman impersonal pronounimpersonalizationpassiveuniversalcultural studiessociology and political sciencearts and humanities(all) ??
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Deposited On:
28 May 2021 08:40
Last Modified:
26 Feb 2024 00:44