Among others, I recently read the passive definition by Martin Haspelmath (from THE GRAMMATICIZATION OF PASSIVE MORPHOLOGY, 1990), which states (page 26/27 of the book, the second/third page of the article):
It is well known, of course, that most passives involve some marking on the verb, but a number of cases have been mentioned in the literature that appear to be passives without special verbal morphology.
I claim that in general passive constructions without passive morphology do not exist. On closer inspection it turns out that the alleged cases of such passives should be analyzed differently.
He then goes on to list a few languages that following his approach do not actually have a passive, but only passive-like structures (or that have less passive constructions than previously thought) - among others English, Mandarin Chinese, Kinyarwanda, Acehnese and Palauan. (Edit: I might have misinterpreted this point a little: He does not propose that English has no passive at all, he only referred to one particular structure etc. - see the answer below! This does not make my question invalid, though.)
I'm not exactly sure whether I correctly grasp the extent of this approach.
Are there any other languages that are commonly said to have a passive, but that do not, according to this definition?
(E.g. the construction in Irish does not seem to count then, if I understand correctly - in the Doyle 2001 grammar, page 42, it says: "Modern Irish has a periphrastic passive, but no morphologically marked one."
Excerpt from the grammar:
"The periphrastic passive corresponds to the three types of aspect mentioned above:
- Progressive passive - bí + Subject + PRT + VN
- Prospective passive - bí + Subject + le + VN
- Perfective passive - bí + Subject + verbal adjective (VA)
Ta an tae a ól ag Maire. is the tea PRT drink-VN at Mary 'The tea is being drunk by Mary.' "
Also: Using this approach, are there any languages where one would still consider the existence of a passive controversial?