Ability/possibility and stativity: Where is voice?

Panagiota Samioti


Τhis paper focuses on adjectival ability/possibility -tos participles in Greek. It is observed that they come from stative structures. Apart from stativity and modality, it is noted that they have more common properties with verbal dispositional Middle voice, such as genericity, arguments’ order, demotion of the agent and emphasis on the dispositional properties of the grammatical subject. Thus, it is suggested that they contain in their structure a Middle voice head, which licenses a generic agent with no control of the action, merged with a Generic operator. Crosslinguistic evidence confirms that ability/possibility meaning arises from stative structures and that ability/possibility structures share the same properties with dispositional Middle.


ability, possibility, stativity, dispositional Middle voice, Generic operator, adjectival participles

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