Dr. Carlee Arnett completed her B.A. at Mt. Holyoke College, her M.A. at the University of California/Davis and her PhD at the University of Michigan. Her main research interests are semantics, history of the German language and second language acquisition. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the German Department at the University of California/Davis.
2004 0-7734-6319-4 Hopper & Thompson’s (1980) seminal article on transitivity brought forth renewed interest in the passive and other correlates of transitivity. Langacker (1982) and others working with the Cognitive Grammar (CG) framework argue that the passive voice is an independent construction and that it is not a reorganization of the active voice. Language specific problems for the German passive include the use of the dative case to mark certain passive participants, passives formed from verbs and preposition combinations and impersonal passives. This study provides a semantic analysis of all the types of passive constructions found in German and shows that these construction types are related. A corpus of written data is used and the focus is on radial categories of meaning in Modern German.