In English, verbs that stand for experiences (e.g. see, hear, sense, notice, realize) can occur in passive forms and clauses as we see in these examples:

"Tommy sees the baby sloth." --> "The baby sloth is seen by Tommy."

"We heard the cat's yowling." --> "The cat's yowling was heard by us."

"The therapist sensed frustration." --> "Frustration was sensed by the therapist."

"The detective noticed the slip of paper." --> "The slip of paper was noticed by the detective."

"They realized the danger." --> "The danger was realized by them."

Is this true in all languages studied that have passive voice? Or do some languages that have passive voice forbid the passivization of sentences whose subjects stand for experiencers and whose verbs stand for experiences?

More generally, how do languages that have passivization vary when it comes to which classes of verbs can occur in passive forms and clauses?

  • 1
    Maybe I should have limited my questions to languages that a) allow passivization, and b) have nominative-accusative morpho-syntactic alignment. Dec 13, 2022 at 2:36


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