Patient is/gets Vb'ed


This affix expresses dynamic passive, which contrasts with the static passive expressed with the affix V{-ðau}V. This difference is very clear in Greenlandic, and also in a language like Danish, but unfortunately not in English. See the AITWG, chapter 9, for a detailed description of the difference between these two kinds of passive constructions.

Kalaallisut Translation Notes
qimmeq toqunneqarpoq the dog is/gets killed I.e. it transitions from one state (being alive) into a new state (being dead). Compare this with the static passive qimmeq toqutaavoq, 'the dog is/was killed', which instead denotes that the dog is now in a state of having been killed.
qimmeq Piitamit toqunneqarpoq the dog was killed by Piitaq This example illustrates that the former Agent can be reintroduced in the ablative case (here with the ending N{mət}, i.e. 'by Piitaq'). In a passive construction, the Agent is removed, thereby reducing the valency of the stem, and the Patient is promoted to subject of the resulting verb. In the active construction Piitap qimmeq toquppaa, 'Piitaq kills the dog', the dog is the direct object, referring to the Patient role. In qimmeq toqunneqarpoq, the dog is promoted to subject, but it is still the Patient of the action (i.e., it is being killed), whilst the former Agent, Piitaq has been removed. By reintroducing him in the ablative case, this information is still included in the sentence, but the focus in the passive construction is still on the dog and the fact that it was killed, compared to the active construction where focus is on both Piitaq and the dog.