Lefteris Paparounas will be defending their dissertation proposal on Friday, February 4 at 1:30pm. The defense will take place in person at Claire Fagin Hall Room 116, and on Zoom.

The proposal document can be found here; the abstract is included below.


Title: Voice from syntax to syncretism

Dissertation supervisor: David Embick

Proposal committee: Julie Anne Legate, Martin Salzmann (chair), Florian Schwarz


This dissertation provides an investigation of the syntactic, morphological and interpretive properties of Voice on the basis of a number of case studies from Modern Greek. At the heart of the dissertation are two facts concerning the interaction of Voice syntax and morphological realization in this language. The first is Voice syncretism: in Greek, a number of arguably distinct argument-structural configurations (passives, reflexives, reciprocals, middles, and some anticausatives) syncretize into the same set of morphological exponents. The second fact of interest is Voice displacement: though Voice is arguably a low syntactic category, Voice distinctions are indexed on peripheral affixal elements such as aspect, tense, and agreement suffixes. The broad challenge undertaken in this dissertation, then, is to elucidate the Voice syntax of a language whose morphology systematically fails to reflect it transparently.

I show how a close investigation of Voice displacement provides insight into the nature of the locality conditions governing contextual allomorphy, with the Greek facts favoring a strict adjacency condition that interacts with and constrains the application of specificity-based conditions such as the Elsewhere Principle. I subsequently provide an in-depth discussion of the syntax and semantics of different verb classes participating in Voice syncretism, beginning with an investigation of Greek reflexives that suggests a close link between reflexivity and Voice. These considerations are extended to the controversial domain of the Greek passive, and finally to the Voice-related composition of participial structures.