A Functional Analysis of the Passive Structure in Persian
This paper investigates the frequency of occurrence of the passive structure in two registers of Persian, i.e. short story and scientific articles, regarding their information structure. The quantitative and qualitative study of the data shows that the occurrence of the passive is much more frequent in scientific articles than in short stories. By undertaking a contrastive analysis of the samples, and considering criteria such as agent-orientation and information load of sentences in the two registers, it can be concluded that, in order to observe the principle of objectivity (which is integral to scientific researches and writings) writers tend to use passive sentences frequently, since traditionally, the passive is considered as one of the principal means of achieving impersonality and objectivity in a text, as it enables the removal of any explicit agency. On the other hand, in comparison with the short stories, in the scientific articles the information content is on a high level and the sentences are longer and more complex. As a consequence, the syntactic management of this information load requires the writers to use the passive structure in order to create a cohesive and coherent text.
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