Claudio rote:

>ive got a question to an old auxlang-veteran :-)

That could be me then - but not so much of the old...

>active form: to force (e.g. "i force...")
>passive form: beeing forced by someone (e.g. "i'm forced...")
>now lets look at this sentence:
>"humans are forced to eat and drink. they must eat and drink else they
>who forces here ? who is actor ?
>do they force themself ? or is it rather mother nature who forces there ?

From a logical point of view, altho the sentence in english is slightly
idiomatic, it is clear that the pressure to eat and drink comes from
something external to the surface subject, humans, rather than from within

If we now look at the passive sentence from the point of view of deep
structure, we find that unlike many passive sentences, it lacks a
prepositional phrase 'by NP' (NP = noun phrase).  So it differs from a
sentence like:

Bill was hit by Tom.

which, according to transformational grammar, is derived from an underlying

Tom hit Bill

In fact, this is simplified somewhat, as the underlying sentence would
probably be of the form:

pass NP1 past V NP2

where pass is a trigger marker for the passive transformation which converts
this structure to:

NP2 past be V-ed by NP1

Now, in your sentence the question is: what is NP1?  NP2 is clearly
'humans', but the lack of a by-phrase means that NP1 does not appear in the
surface structure.  In this case, rather than lose the generalization about
passives, it is best to posit an empty NP1, the semantic interpretation of
which is roughly 'something or somebody'.  So the deep structure would be

[Something] forces humans to eat and drink.

which is transformed to:

Humans are forced to eat and drink [by something].

where the by-phrase is deleted in the surface structure.

Kordiale, James Chandler
[log in to unmask] - IALs index

"Linguistics has been reduced by Chomsky and his disciples to a positively
mind-boggling level of stupidity and insignificance.  If ever the Prime
Minister wants an excuse to close down a university, she has only to look at
its department of linguistics." - Auberon Waugh, Oxymoron to a boiled egg
(1988) [review of The Chomsky Reader, 1987]

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