In the literature, Marshallese verbs are often categorized as perfective or as passive. However, sentences containing perfectives and passives share numerous morphological, syntactic, and semantic similarities. As a result, it is difficult to tell whether these sentences are perfective or passive. In this paper, I examine perfective and passive verbs and sentences and provide semantic and syntactic evidence supporting the existence of two verb categories. First, I show that while passive verbs denote events, so-called perfective verbs denote the resulting state of events and are thus resultatives rather than perfectives. Second, I show that passive verbs are syntactically different from resultatives in that they may cooccur with an agent phrase preceded by in. Lastly, I make a case for the existence of a passive construction in Marshallese and argue that in is the head of a Voice projection.


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pp. 233-258
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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