Reflexivity and argument-demotion marking in Slovene

This paper investigates Slovene constructions with the reflexive morpheme se, which, despite their apparent diversity, can be divided into only four major classes, corresponding to four different uses of se (reflexive/reciprocal se, inherent se, middle se and anticausative se). It is argued that these four uses follow from the interaction of two features: whether se is an internal argument or a demotion marker, and whether se is attached to the verb in the syntax or the lexicon.

The paper attempts to systematically analyse all four types of Slovene constructions with se in order to identify their distinctive properties. The analysis reveals that each use of se has at least one property not shared by other uses, thus providing the evidence in support of the proposed classification. Moreover, it is shown that several semantic and aspectual properties, such as delimitedness, internal and external causation and spontaneous occurrence of an event, play an important role in the syntactic realisation of arguments in Slovene. In order to account for the full range of uses of se, future research will have to provide an explanation of how these properties interact with other features of Slovene predicates with se.

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