Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 375–414 | Cite as

Spec of IP and spec of VP: Two subjects in Austronesian languages

  • Eithne Guilfoyle
  • Henrietta Hung
  • Lisa Travis


In this paper we claim that certain facts from four Austronesian languages provide striking support for the claim that there is a VP-internal subject position in addition to the traditional subject position of SPEC of IP. We show (i) that subject-sensitive properties may be split between SPEC of VP and SPEC of IP, theta-sensitive properties (such as binding and control) associated with the former and structure-sensitive properties (such as extraction and quantifier float) with the latter; (ii) that word order facts about these four Austronesian languages as well as variations among the languages follow from the assumption that the two subject positions may be licensed simultaneously at S-structure. Lastly, we show that the proposed analysis of Austronesian phrase structure allows the placement of Austronesian languages within a typology of passive.


Word Order Subject Position Austronesian Language Theta Role English Passive 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eithne Guilfoyle
    • 1
  • Henrietta Hung
    • 2
  • Lisa Travis
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Linguistics Program Department of PsychologyBrandeis UniversityWaltham
  3. 3.Department of LinguisticsMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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