Russian Language Journal


James S. Levine


study, voice, Russian, transformation


In an early and important study of voice in Russian, Babby and Brecht (1975) introduced significant theoretical revisions to prevailing transformational analyses of passives in Russian. In their article, B&B demonstrated the inadequacies of previous analyses, which posited a single “passive transformation” for Russian. Instead, they proposed an analysis of voice that achieved maximum generality by accounting in a principled way for the syntactic relations between active, passive, and middle sentences. In particular, they argued that passives formed with the suffix –en-­‐‑ must be derived differently from passives in –sja, the former resulting from a lexical process that derived –en-­‐‑adjectives from perfective transitive verbs, while the latter were derived from imperfective verbs by syntactic rules.