Impersonals in Polish: an LFG perspective


Surrey Morphology Group
Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences
University of Surrey
Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH
United Kingdom


Polish has a large number of constructions which have been referred to as impersonal because they lack a canonical subject. I discuss syntactic, morphological and lexical properties of these constructions in turn and argue that they can be classified into four distinct types: constructions with optionally unexpressed pronominal subjects, morpholexically derived constructions with obligatorily unexpressed syntactic subjects, genuinely subjectless constructions formed with defective verbs and passivised intransitive predicates, and constructions with overt non-agreeing subjects. I offer LFG-type analyses of the first three categories of construction. I identify subjects for two of them at the argument structure and functional structure levels of representation, and confirm only one type of construction as truly subjectless at all levels of syntactic representation of the predicate.