Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

James S. Roberts


This thesis describes the voice system of Bugis (also known as Buginese), a Western Austronesian language of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Using Role and Reference Grammar as a theoretical framework, I analyze the Bugis voice system as symmetrical in the sense of Arka (2003), with two distinct transitive constructions: actor voice, in which the actor is the privileged syntactic argument (PSA) and undergoer voice, in which the undergoer is the PSA. This contrasts with previous analyses, which have classified Bugis as lacking a symmetrical voice system (Hanson 2003; Jukes 2006). The choice between the two transitive voices in Bugis is determined by the definiteness of the undergoer. Essentially, a transitive clause with a definite undergoer appears in undergoer voice, while a transitive clause with an indefinite undergoer appears in actor voice. In addition, I describe passive and antipassive constructions in Bugis, which are defined in terms of syntactic demotion (rather than promotion) of their actor and undergoer arguments. I make reference to the discourse functions of each of the four voices throughout the presentation.

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