English Passive and the Function of Shodan in Persian

  •  Mohammad Abdollahi-Guilani    
  •  Kim Hua Tan    


Although English and Persian share a basic structure in the formation of passive with the help of past participle of the main verb accompanied by “be” in English and “shodan” (i.e. become) in Persian on a syntactic basis, Persian resorts to morphological alternation, too. However, the verb shodan is not merely an auxiliary verb; it can serve as a main verb as well. In fact, Persian passives have various overlapping realizations, bearing the meaning of “possibility” and “going”, too. This study also sought out to investigate whether or not passives differed in written texts. In addition to library resources, the study made use of a comparative text analysis approach to investigate the application of passive structures in the novel Animal Farm (Orwell, 1956) and its Persian translation (Akhondi, 2004). The results revealed that the conventional function defined for Persian shodan as an auxiliary verb for passive structure outnumbers the passive verbs used in the original novel. Findings also indicate that passive voice is not limited to one form of shodan and past participle; in fact, transitivity alternation plays a key role, too. In addition, the combination of shodan with nouns or adjectives is twofold: it can produce both active and passive voice structures. This study was targeted at EFL learners and teachers as well as translators who will duly be provided with fundamental awareness when dealing with English and Persian in learning / teaching process and translating from English into Persian and vice versa.

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