Inchoative, a Third Voice (A Synchronic Study)

Mohammad Jafar Jabbari


The linguistic term "inchoative" is far from clear. Some scholars use the term synonymously with "inceptive" and "ingressive" referring to an aspectual form which expresses the commence of a state or activity. However, inchoative has also been used in another sense by grammarians, synonymously with "ergative" or "middle" as a verb expressing a change of state.  In the second sense, inchoative is more a voice in contrast with active and passive than an aspect. While the contrast between passive and inchoative plays an important role in language teaching and language learning, it has been neglected in almost all grammar textbooks. Furthermore, in the Persian language, certain sentences are ambiguous between inchoative and passive. This has resulted in the formation of some erroneous English sentences, by Iranian EFL learners. This study, scrutinizing the inchoative voice in English and Persian, aims to show the relationship between, active, passive and inchoative to help EFL learners differentiate the three voices.


Active, passive, inchoative, voice, Case Grammar

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