The Syntactic Relationship Between Transitivity and Voice
International Journal of Language and Linguistics
Volume 3, Issue 2, March 2015, Pages: 40-51
Received: Jan. 27, 2015; Accepted: Feb. 19, 2015; Published: Mar. 10, 2015
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Author
Roseline Abonego Adejare, Department of Language, Arts and Social Science Education, Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos, Nigeria
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Abstract
This study presents a holistic description of the syntactic relationship between transitivity and voice, which has not attracted overt attention. The data comprises 2,187 finite verbal group (FVBG) clauses abstracted from a 17,600-word corpus of orthographically transcribed spoken instructional texts recorded in selected secondary schools in Lagos State, Nigeria. The scale-and-category version of the systemic grammatical model aided the analysis. Fourteen features of syntactic relationship were identified in the literature and their occurrence in the data was ascertained. The pattern and frequency of occurrence of transitivity and voice were determined. Findings confirm the fourteen features and show that the same 1,180 FVBG clauses indicated both transitivity and voice. Voice was however syntactically more basic than transitivity because its unmarked active voice was 26 per cent higher than transitivity’s unmarked transitive. Transitivity was 67 per cent transitive and 33 per cent intransitive while voice was 91 per cent active and 9 per cent passive. Their joint occurrence was 65 per cent active transitive, 25 per cent active intransitive, 8.1 per cent passive intransitive, and 1 per cent passive transitive. Only rarely did there occur such perfect correspondences as active transitive with passive transitive. Passive intransitive clauses with animate subjects were restricted to the text dealing with persons and personalities. The transitive verbal group clause with the rankshifted clause as complement and the non-let imperative clause were shown to be passivisable without extraposition and replacement, and against traditionally held views on transitivity and voice, respectively.
Keywords
Transitivity, Transitive, Intransitive, Voice, Active, Passive, Finite Verbal Group Clause
To cite this article
Roseline Abonego Adejare, The Syntactic Relationship Between Transitivity and Voice, International Journal of Language and Linguistics. Vol. 3, No. 2, 2015, pp. 40-51. doi: 10.11648/j.ijll.20150302.12
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