The Study of Passive Voice in Kazakh and Russian Languages


To make a short resume of studying the voice in the Kazakh and Russian languages.To compare the category of passive voice in Kazakh and Russian linguistics.Comparative methodA review study of history of voice formation in Kazakh and Russian languages, we can conclude that both the Russian and Kazakh linguistics in question category of the passive voice is complex and not fully understood.Despite the fact that the category of the passive voice in the Kazakh and Russian languages has been and continues to be the focus of linguists, it requires further theoretical research.

Keywords: passive voice, collateral category, historical position


Researches of Kazakh and Russian languages have examined the category of Passive Voice depending on the locating position. In this case the history of learning Voice category in Russian language is different in its rich number of approaches, and characteristics as well as having a long tradition. In particular, F. F. Fortunatov characterized the category of Voice from morphological point of view, A.A. Potebnya – from syntactical, V. V. Vinogradov – from morphological- syntactical, A. V. Bondarko – from semantic-syntactical, and E.A. Pakhomov considers Passive Voice in Russian language in comparison to German.

In Kazakh linguistics the main attention in learning Voice category was given to historical position by Professor M.A. Kazen-Bekom, in comparison to other grammatical categories by M. Terentyev for instance, he compared Voice category with the category of Aspect, P.M. Melioranskiy and A.K. Borovkov investigated Voice category from morphological viewpoint.

G. Begaliev and N. Sauranbayev, S. Kanasbayev and S. Zhienbayev in their books of Kazakh grammar take a great attention to Passive Voice, I.I. Meshanikov and M.M. Gukhman compare Passive Voice with other grammatical categories, as well as A. Kalybayeva-Khasenova analyses Voice category from the position of Syntax and S.G. Shkuridin from the position of comparative analysis.

Voice category from historical position with the close connection to verbal control in the language of ancient Turkic monuments is examined by A.S. Amanzholov in his research studying. A great attention paid to voice –formatting affixes and their role in language as well N.K. Dmitriev in his work “Grammar of Bashkir language”. A.N. Kononov regards formative affixes of voice category to Turkic languages in his works on the grammar of modern Uzbek literary language. Category of Voice is also illustrated in the works of A. Iskakov, K. Akhanov, M. Tomanov, and M. Sergaliev.

Despite of the diversity of given views to linguistic category of voice, in each work of Russian language two voices are mentioned: active and passive, as well the consensus among scholars in their interpretation is not noticed.

In Kazakh and Russian languages the main attention to learning the relation among these voices (active and passive) is given in terms of syntax. For example, A.A. Potebnya, A.V. Popov denoted as a distinctive feature of passive voice in Russian language is the possibility of omission the producer of the action. As well as A.A. Shakhmatov opposes passive voice to active.

In Kazakh language as such distinguishing features are considered: a) to put forward the object of the action into the focus of the speaker :

(p. 440) As Ulpan was excited of her new, unfamiliar situation, though - she knew - as not only joy and happiness would be waited for her, but as well as the test, the difference between auls, whites and blacks, were thrown in her eyes from the first steps on the ground of Eseney.

b) an opportunity of not mentioning the agent of action:

(p.422) Kumyz they had drunk long time ago and drank it full enough.

(Translation, p. 110) Енді дастархан жайылып самауыр келе жатыр.

(p.422) It's time for a samovar - samovar, polished to a shine, puffing like a horse after a long run, was brought in a large tent by a young horseman, one of those who were serving in the tent of Ulpan on the bank of the Tobol river.

It should be noted that in translating sentences from Kazakh into Russian mainly the forms of passive verbs’ meanings are saved.

In Kazakh linguistics A. Kalybaeva-Khasenova – in her work "Voice Category Kazakh language" be name (Kalybaeva-Khasenova, 1951, p.6) contrasts active and passive voices in a different way, using for this purpose the notion of centrifugal / centripetal action.

V.V. Vinogradov, taking into account the data of morphology, syntax, and vocabulary in the study of Voice category, considers both voices (active and passive) in Russian language as synonymous and parallel structures, differently reflecting the same relationship to reality in language.

Speaking of our understanding of active and passive forms of voice, we note that they are based on no matter in what language they are handled is the same relationship between the subject, action, and the object, but considering in parallel to each other active and passive forms under “various angles”: from the subject performing the action, or the object side, experiencing the action. New ways to explore passive voice has opened the theory of field passivity. There are several structures in the field of Kazakh language passivity or field of passive voice in Russian language. Consider it necessary to give a brief description of these fields in both languages.

Thus, in the center of the field of passivity in Kazakh language (according to research of A. Kalybaeva - Khasenova) is grammatical category of passive voice, expressing this value by means of affixes –л, -ыл, -iл; -н, -ын, -iн, which are attached to the base of the verb:

(p. 444).

At Lake Kozhabay three hundred yurts have been gathered...

(Translation, p. 113)

We consider it appropriate to present as examples, charts showing the main indicators of passive constructions of Kazakh language, taken from the textbook of the authors S. Khasanova, T. Abdygalieva, K. Kassabekova, B. Shalabayev (Khasanova, 1996, p.34-35).

These authors in making those tables and schemes charts of the voice have repeatedly referred to historical heritage of A. Baitursynov, who made a great contribution to the study of voice-formation in Kazakh language. According to the classification A. Baitursynov the voice system of Kazakh language is represented in ten species, in the seventh in his table entitled “Voices” he highlights the form of passive voice.

In the center of Russian field of Passive voice A.V. Bondarko puts a form of “short passive participle + the verb TO BE in zero or non-zero form”. Both forms have a maximum range of features providing their central position in the field of passivity in Kazakh language and in the field of passive voice in Russian language.

Further these forms are going in descending order of these features.

1. In Russian language - a short passive participle + the verb to be in zero or non-zero form.

2. In Kazakh language – the base of the verb, it is also a root + affixes: -л,-ыл,-іл,-н, ын, ін + other affixes.

For a more complete disclosure of the issue about the history of passive voice in Kazakh and Russian languages, we consider it appropriate to address some scientific works of prominent linguists in this area.

The question of passive constructions is related to the story of Russian linguistics with the doctrine about the category of passive verbs. The problem of voices of Russian verb has been developed in several works, but in most of them the facts of morphological level were focused on, and syntactic structures considered only insofar as they include existed forms of passive voice of the verb and its collateral voice values were identified.

Thus, in Russian scientific grammar has long had the idea of the relativity of active and passive verb forms. Meletiy Smotritskiy considered this correlation of purely morphological and wrote in his “Grammar...”: (Smotrytsky, 1619,p.201) “Действительный залог есть, иже действо знаменует, слога «-ся» приложением страдательный из себя творит», «страдательный есть, иже страдание знаменует, иза отложением «-ся» слога действительный бывает…” (Active voice indicates an action, and the passive voice is formed with the ending “–ся” i.e. the action on the object, and if the ending “–ся” is removed from the verb then the active voice is formed.) Meletiy Smotrytsky identifies reflexivity with passive and an affix “-ся” he straightly calls “the end of passive voice.” M.V. Lomonosov, significantly changed the system of voice category of M. Smotrytsky who has already adapted it to the peculiarities of Russian language in § 275-280 in his textbook “Russian Grammar" he defines active and

passive verbs as: “Active voice means to act from one to another coming and acting in itself: lift up, washing. Passive verb means suffering from another incident: composed of participles of passive verbs and the verb to be.” M.V. Lomonosov also rejects the purely morphological correlation between active and passive forms of voice and comes close to the idea of relativity of active and passive constructions: “... when the actual turn into passive verbs, then the accusative must be nominative, nominative - instrumental or genitive with the preposition from” (Lomonosov, 1952, p.274-280).

As we have already seen Mikhail Lomonosov notes compatibility with passive verb with instrumental case without a preposition or genitive with the preposition “from”, the correlation of this instrumental or genitive with nominative case in subject in the verb of active voice, as well as emphasizing the need to distinguish in instrumental preverbal meaning the instrument from value of the figure.

The term “passive revolution” begins to be used from the middle of the XIX century in the writings of F. I. Buslaev, A. A. Potebnya, D. N. Ovsyanikov- Kulikovskiy.

F. I. Buslaev in his “Historical Russian grammar” makes no fundamental changes in the system of Lomonosov’s voice category. He binds the lexical- syntactic doctrine of transitive-intransitive verb with the doctrine of voice: “Voice means the activity of the subject or transitive to another thing ... or intransitive” (Buslaev, 1959, p.343).

Thus, the passive value is expressed and the actual form of a transitive verb as well. A.A. Potebnya argued against from this viewpoint of F. I. Buslaev confirming that neither verb can have several voice values at the same time. Voice value arises and implements, according to his viewpoint, only in the sentence, which included only the word lives present and individual life.

The views of A.A. Potebnya on the nature of voice category were changing. Thus, his disciple A.V. Popov leads the original definition of voice, offered by A.A. Potebnya: “Voice is such a formal meaning of the verb (and even words at all), which makes it necessary the absence or presence of the object and makes its (in the latter case) quality of the object” (Popov, 1881, p.300).

A.A. Potebnya subsequently changed his view on the essence of voice and laid it in his outline, published in Volume IV of his work “From the notes on Russian grammar”. “Voice is the relation of the subject to the object, or more precisely: the relation of the predicate to the subject and complement” (Potebnya, 1941, p.201).

As we can see, the development of passive voice A.A. Potebnya connects with the development of passive constructions. Valuable is his remark about the varying degrees of activity of the subject in active and passive revolutions.

A.A. Potebnya expresses the idea that the subject in passive circulation may be omitted (then before us the transformation of passive turnover with lowered instrumental actor) and may not be thought of (in this case we have passive impersonal construction): “The subject of transitive verb may be indicated by the addition of passive ( cannot be conceived) and is not expressed), and from of passive revolution does not stop being a passive”.

According to A.A. Potebnya, in impersonal passive sentences “passive form does not have quite passive values and may be because of the fiction that the verb has a vague subjective object. This object is valid only for its present to form character.” Academician V.V. Vinogradov noted a significant feature in the theory of voice of A.A. Potebnya: “...The doctrine of passive revolutions of Potebnya organically intertwined with questions about the history of subjectiveobjective system deals with questions about the development of different types of offers - verbal- nominal and verbal” (Vinogradov, 1972, p.600).

For us considerable interest gives the thoughts of A. V. Popov - a follower and disciple of A.A. Potebnya, about genesis of the category of voice, in particular of passive revolutions. He sees the main difference between active and passive revolutions in “a real revolution of the main from logical point of view the subject, i.e. manufacturer of action or state, is at the same time the main subject of the speech, i.e. subject, in the same speed of passive voice is the main subject or the action itself, the fact (impersonal passive constructions), or a minor from a logical point of view, the object on which manifests a certain action or condition (personal passive constructions), the manufacturer or the action is largely is ignored”. Consequently, after A.A. Potebnya A.V. Popov defines voice values to “relations between the manufacturer of the action, object, and subject” (Popov, 1881, p.300).

A.V. Popov considers active and passive constructions, their development an integral part of voice category, the

historical core of its evolution.

Speaking about the history of constructions - related to voice categories, he believes the most ancient of them impersonal passive revolution. Contrary to views of A.A. Potebnya, A.V. Popov primacy admits a one-term proposition. Communion as part of speech was preceded by a syncretic allocation of noun and verb. It is this stage of their development is reflected in impersonal passive constructions

Voice category in research studies of A.V. Popov is going out, in fact, beyond morphology and becomes one of the major problems of the syntax of a simple sentence.

Doctrine of voice created by A.A. Potebnya and developed by his disciples A.V. Popov and D.N. Ovsyaniko-Kulikovsky, is significantly different from the voice system of F. I. Buslaev from attention to the functioning of syntactic forms of voice category and, in particular, to verbal forms of passive turnover because they are carriers of passive values and unclear of verbal form casts doubt on passive nature of the whole construction.

D.N. Ovsyaniko-Kulikovskyi, outlining the concept of voice in his work “Russian Language Syntax” defines a voice as “verbal forms in which the ratio to subject to be reproduced as a person acting as a predicate to the action, in terms of authenticity, fictitious and imaginary role be as a producer of feature given in the lexical meaning of the verbpredicate” (Ovsyaniko-Kulikovskyi, 1912, p.127-136). He establishes two main voices: active and passive, with highlights of two varieties of passive revolution, at which he peculiarly characteristic treats the thoughts of A.A. Potebnya as a completeness of absence of energy in the subject of passive revolution. The first type is formally expressed by a combination of brief communion with auxiliary verb. The second type is formally expressed by the verb with ending “-ся” and has a passive shade of “incomplete imaginary” of subject as a producer of feature:

For the theory of voicemade by D. N. Ovsyaniko-Kulikovskyi this confusion of lexical and grammatical features in determining the voice value of the verbis typical.

His merit is that he, following after A.A. Potebnya, showed the necessity to study the problem of voices in close connection with the issue of active and passive constructions and made an attempt to consider not only the individual components of passive components of the voice, but also issues relating to the total revolution of the voice in general, grammatical meanings composite components in their relationship.

The system, built by an academician F.F. Fortunatov, presented in his famous article “About Voices of Russian Verb.” This system is based on the principle of correlation of grammatical forms and certain values. Abandoning the previous system, numbering up to six voices and defining voices as verb forms, identifying differences in relation to the subject of the action, academician F.F. Fortunatov distinguished only two voices: transitive (non-retrievable) voice, including transitive verbs without “-ся”, and intransitive (retrievable) voice consisting of correlative forms with the affix “-ся”, with intransitive meaning, for example: to build – to be built.

Verbs without “-ся”, not having correlative forms with the affix “-ся” (e.g., favor, go), and verbs with “-ся” that are not correlative with them without verbs “-ся” (e.g., to be pride of, to be afraid of), stand outside the voice category.

Thus, the problem of voice differences F.F. Fortunatov has differentiated the question about the structure and types of proposals. A well-known Russian academician V.V. Vinogradov wrote about it as: “There had to be a wider range of syntactic coverage of linguistic facts that are either included in the category of voice, or join to it.” A significant value in the development of doctrine of voice of the verbs has contributed an academician A.A. Shahmatova in most in his works. In the original definition of the voice given in his work “Outlines of modern Russian language” by name he followed the treatment presented by Fortunatov, the forms of voice by his definition, are "those different formation made from one and the same verb, which means various kinds of action and state relations, expressed by the verb to his subject” (Shahmatov, 1936, p.43).

Contrary to the view of academician F.F. Fortunatov, A.A. Shahmatov considered it very important for Russian language the differences in relation the action to the subject expressed by the verb of passive and active voices, and pointed out that these differences are reflected not only in the participles, but also in reflexive verbs. Shahmatov makes out three voices: active, passive and reflective (middle).

Active voice indicates that “an action or state of the subject occurs by the subject -himself”, passive - “action moves to subject of the predicate from another (psychological) subject.”

Academician A.A. Shahmatov comes from the psychological nature of passive revolution, denoting that the

usual sequence of representations is as follows: the subject of communication - predicate - object.

“It follows, - concludes Shahmatov - that passive voice by its form shows that combining with it the name of the substance ceases to be a producer of action, and turns into its patient”. A.A. Shahmatov, who is looking on the passive revolution from a psychological point of view as a whole, draws attention to the special relations that arise between members of the passive construction.

According to statement of A.M. Peshkovskyi, saying that passive value “is mostly created not as a form of the verb but as the form of the phrase, in which it enters” (Peshkovskyi, 1936, p.47).

A famous linguist S. Karcevskyi. (Karcevskyi, 1927, p.102) is isolating in Russian language an active-passive opposition and sees originality of Russian passive voice in liability for having two varieties of passive voice. One he considers the truly passive it is a revolution of predicate expressed by a passive participle e.g.. This type of passive voice – is semi–verbal and semi-nominal - corresponds to the idea of the state being a result of the action. The other varieties of passive S. Karcevskyi relates to passive construction of the reflexive verbs in corresponding (passive) value. This revolution, he does not consider passive in itself, but only just an imperfective parallel to the first type. S. Karcevskyi significantly expands the boundaries of Russian passive voice, including in it transforms of passive constructions not paying attention to the subject. He says that our linguistic consciousness easily allows the omission of the subject, not an agent, in passive revolution.

Academician V.V. Vinogradov, noting that in the category of voice intertwined diverse lexical and grammatical phenomena of the verb as well as he thinks the voice category as a grammatical opposition center of active-passive: “It is hard to doubt that the relationship and the opposition of active and passive revolutions – is the historical grain of voice category” (Vinogradov, 1972, p.600).

The essential point in the concept of academician V.V. Vinogradov, from our point of view, is to identify a criterion that allows attributing a particular syntax to active or passive. Thus, characterizing features, underlying voice classification of D.N. Ovsyaniko - Kulikovskyi, he writes: “...The difference between the subject and the real manufacturer action – is a syntax feature associated with the issue of active and passive revolutions.” Following after A.A. Potebnya, D.N. Ovsyaniko – Kulikovskyi, and A. A. Shahmatov academician V.V. Vinogradov has commented on different degrees of passivity in both varieties of passive revolutions. On his opinion, the passive construction with a reflexive verb is “close to middle-returnable meaning, it is much less expresses passive state of the subject than the passive-participle construction (cf., for example,).” In participle-passive revolutions with omission in instrumental case the main agent - “passivity characterizes not so much as action but as a state” (Vinogradov, 1972, p.601).

Having examined the views of prominent scholars on the nature of passive revolutions, it should be noted that the question of passive constructions in Russian language was considered at the level of the problem of verbs expressing syntactic aspect in some way to solve this problem. Such consideration, of course, did not contribute to in-depth study of their structure, semantics, relations between the constituent components and categories inherent passive revolution as a syntactic unit - proposal. Especially because in the center of almost all voice concepts outlined Russian verb where was recoverability- transience opposition, rather than active-passive.

The ratio of active and passive voices based on the opposition of active-passive, in the center of the study highlights active and passive constructions, as it is exactly in syntax constructions these voice values are implemented in their whole entirety.

Studying the conditions that allow to determine the predictive value of constructions as passive, E.A. Ivanova - Jankovskaya relates to them the presence of instrumental case with the meaning of the agent; the subject, indicating an inanimate object, such as Monitor is selected by student group; for machine propaganda team a concert was arranged, and in some cases the presence of the instrumental case with a meaning of tools for action, such as The water for irrigation pipes is transported.

E. A. Ivanova - Jankovskaya concludes that among these conditions “one cannot specify any such that in all cases could serve as a means of determining the value of voice revolution.” In most cases, the issue of voice value of syntax construction “can be resolved only on the basis of context.”

E.A. Ivanova - Jankovskaya in determining the differences between active and passive voices holds the traditional viewpoint coming from M.V. Lomonosov, A.A. Potebnya, D.N. Ovsyaniko–Kulikovskyi, A. A. Shahmatov and are reflected in the textbooks of academic Russian grammar.

The traditional definition of passive constructions based on two attributes: semantic- syntactic and morphological.

“Our demands are more moderate: the position of the subject should not take up the subject. Further it does not matter: it can be either free or occupied by any other participators, including object” - V.S. Khrakovskyi writes. (Khrakovskyi, 1970, p.25).

Range of proposals referred by V.S. Khrakovsky to passive voice is much wider than in traditional linguistics. He thinks that passive sentences refer to indefinite-personal such type as:, impersonal sentences like -. The reason for this, according to him, is a violation of the relevant “subject – subject” in these proposals, since the position of the subject in this case is free.

From the perspective of traditional linguistics, in the above constructions there is not specific verb forms (returnable or passive participle of the verb), and hence there is no reason to believe these morphological structures passive in themselves because it does not manifest opposition of two morphologically different verbal forms: active and passive.

Ignoring the morphological bases of allocation passive turnover - specific verbal form, which basically concluded passive value V.S. Khrakovskyi led to the abandonment of passive matter at all. Passive meaning, in his opinion, “is the result of bona fide scientific misconceptions ... All the differences between passive and active structures from each other ... can be described without referring to the notorious passive value. “Confirming Khrakovsky leads statement of the famous Russian scientist second half of XIX century A.V. Popov: “... The essence of the passive is not enduring actions of one object by another, “and that in the back of the passive action is presented as fact, such as the manifestation of the action in which the manufacturer or action is largely ignored” (Popov, 1881).

A.V. Popov playing here against simplistic interpretation of passive values associated with the interpretation of the lexical meaning of the word “passive” (suffer, suffer, suffer), and does not talk about the absence of passive values . Several researchers in their work develop the idea of sending the values of collateral put forward in the 30s V.P. Bryuhanov. The idea involves orientation in determining the collateral design accessories to consider the relation “subject – predicate”, leaving aside the attitude “verb – complement” being the other content categories - transitivity intransitivity.

In summary, it should be noted that despite the fact that Kazakh and Russian languages - national languages, and as such they are used as the primary means of communication in the respective ethnic group.

However, prevailing in Kazakhstan the situation is that Russian is used as the language of everyday communication, scientific and technical activities, and others is not only Russian, but also a part of Kazakh population.

Moreover, a part of Kazakh population is also used Russian language as a means of communication within ethnic (language of everyday communication, scientific and technical activities, etc.) and Kazakh language is becoming for them is the main (dominant), and the second component is bilingualism.

The noble mission of ethno- linguistics in language is to use this feature of language properly, recognizably derive and interpret past events in the life of ethnic group, its customs, traditions and worldview. It is important to note that ethno-linguistic study of languages can fully and accurately present their identity.

Analysis of peculiarities of passive voice in Kazakh and Russian languages allowed noted that in semantic representation of verbs of passive constructions, both in Russian and Kazakh languages cultural identity and characteristics of perception, thinking, and psychological makeup of Russian and Kazakh people are reflected.

In syntactical structure of Kazakh and Russian languages under the influence of monologue structures are formed the sentences with the meaning of passive value. They are developing during complications of eventual model of evaluating semantics, causing changes in structural organization of semantic components of the model, and turning it into an evaluative-event-construction. Through a series of passive constructions develops a proper assessment model of the sentence, reflecting factors of reality, organizing by two structurally semantic components in Russian language: in the form of “short passive participle +a linking verb “to be” in zero and non-zero form and by joining to the forms of transitive verbs of postfixes -ся (-сь).

It is known that the system of verb conjugation of passive voice of Russian language includes these or any other forms, as well as the choice of the form which is mainly determined by aspectual meaning of the verb.

Regarding to Kazakh language, historically passive voice meant action imposed by passive grammatical subject of an internal or external source, initially – by the person.

The only formal indicators of passive voice in Kazakh language are affixes: -л,-ыл,-iл, if the verb ends in -л, then these affixes are used: -н,-ын,-ін. The description, as well as an evaluation, may be subjected any situation, object, or person.

We note again that in Russian language passive value is expressed by participial form. Unproductive affixes of passive voice in Kazakh language are also derivatives affixes: -лын/-лiн: “тамақ желінді”- the meal was eaten, “iзделiндi”- were sought." In both languages the passive voice has both a verb and a participle. This again emphasizes the originality and complexity of among the forms of passive voice.

Therefore, taking into account the historical survey of studying voice category in Kazakh and Russian languages we can conclude that both in Russian and in Kazakh linguistics the question of category of the passive voice is complex and not fully understood. Despite the fact that the category of the passive voice in Kazakh and Russian languages has been and continues to be in the focus of linguists and it requires further theoretical research.


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Imambayeva*, G., Akhmetova, A., & Akhmetov, Y. (2019). The Study of Passive Voice in Kazakh and Russian Languages. In Z. Bekirogullari, & M. Y. Minas (Eds.), Cognitive - Social, and Behavioural Sciences – icCSBs 2014, vol 1. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 153-160). Future Academy.