Expressing adversity

Mayumi Masuko*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


One type of error frequently made by Japanese undergraduate students in their essays involves intransitive verbs such as occur, happen, and suffer. At first, it was thought that the reason for this type of error was simple transfer from their native tongue: intransitive as well as transitive verbs can be passivized in Japanese. Not all the intransitive verbs are passivized by the students, however, and closer inspection suggests that the students tend to passivize intransitive verbs when the sentences that contain them imply affectedness or adversity. One type of the ungrammatical passives differs from the so-called adversity passive in Japanese, and another behaves like the adversity passive, except that the former is ungrammatical while the latter is not. The reason for students' errors might be because they associate adversity with the passive construction and use passives whenever adversity is implied. Discussion of other expressions implying adversity and implications for both applied and theoretical linguistic work will also be given.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-211
Number of pages17
JournalLanguage Sciences
Issue number1-2 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Adversity
  • Error analysis
  • Morphosyntax
  • Passive
  • Transfer
  • Valency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Expressing adversity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this