Malagasy clefts from a Western Malayo-Polynesian perspective: Commentary on the paper by Hans-Martin Gärtner

Original Paper


This commentary primarily addresses Gärtner’s critique of the “pseudo-cleft” analysis for Malagasy. First, it is shown that this analysis is almost certainly correct for focus constructions in three other Western Malayo-Polynesian languages. Next, it is shown that certain unexpected semantic patterns observed in Malagasy (including the potential for strong quantifiers to occur within the focused predicate phrase, and the non-entailment of exhaustivity) hold in these other languages as well. Thus, the semantic arguments against the pseudo-cleft analysis for Malagasy are not conclusive. Finally, on the basis of comparative evidence from Tagalog, it is suggested that the structure of adjunct-focus in Malagasy may actually be quite different from that of subject-focus, even though both constructions must satisfy the same morphological constraints.


Syntax Focus Cleft Indonesian Tagalog Kimaragang 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Institute of Applied LinguisticsDallasUSA

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