Does the si passivante come from the Latin passive?

  • I would say, not formally: the Latin passive has a very different form, with special passive verb endings containing R. Functionally, I suspect it may have been the replacement of the Latin passive.
    – Cerberus
    May 16, 2023 at 21:52

1 Answer 1


There is a well-attested grammaticalisation path going:

Relexive > middle > anticausative > passive > impersonal

This means that, in the contest of grammaticalisation, there are many occurrences of reflexive constructions turning into passives. Grammaticalisation itself is a very broad topic, but it probably suffices to say that it's a form of linguistic change making words or constructions more "functional" at each successive step; a simple example would be Latin MICA 'breadcrumb' > It. mica, a negation adverb void of any lexical meaning and thus purely functional. In the case of the si-passive, we can hypothesise a similar line of development starting with the Latin reflexive.

You may consult this paper (the link to the PDF file seems to not be working for some people, so here is the link to the article on the publisher's site) for more info.

  • 1
    The paper seem to be private and not accessible?
    – Denis Nardin
    Jun 14, 2023 at 13:39
  • I am not sure why, it's a direct link to a PDF hosted on academia.edu. I have edited the answer to add another link.
    – eslukas
    Jun 14, 2023 at 13:49

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