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Abstract

This study explores the semantic and pragmatic functions of voice in the Central dialects of Malagasy through quantitative and qualitative analyses of a set of oral narratives. Analysis of semantic transitivity parameters and discourse topicality reveals a preserved but weakened connection between non-actor voice (NAV) and high transitivity and actor voice (AV) and intransitivity. Both AV and NAV constructions have an active–transitive function; antipassive and passive functions are achieved, respectively, by omitting the patient in AV or the agent in NAV. Patterns of anaphoric argument omission show that the pivot position has grammaticalized as the locus of high topicality arguments, paving the way for transition from a transitivity-dominated to a thematicity-dominated language. Thus, despite the morphological conservatism of the Central Malagasy voice system, it shows significant functional divergence from the most conservative Philippine-type systems.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9421
Print ISSN
0029-8115
Launched on MUSE
2021-12-03
Open Access
No
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