Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 467–497 | Cite as

Voice and relativization without movement in Malagasy

Original Paper

Abstract

Major syntactic processes in Malagasy (Madagascar) are conditioned by its rich, typically W. Austronesian, voice system. This is true of the formation and interpretation of relative clauses, focus constructions, nominalizations, control structures, imperatives, the distribution of reflexives, and more. Similar claims hold to varying extents in related languages. Limiting ourselves to Malagasy, we derive, and compositionally interpret, nuclear Ss headed by verbs in different voices. Such Ss are directly projected from verbal affixes, not derived by A or A′ movement, contra other approaches. We derive relative clauses (RCs) directly from predicates in different voices. No operator movement is needed or used. We compositionally interpret RCs, which only requires interpreting predicates in different voices but not variable binding operators or bound variables. This yields a new analysis of the “Subjects Only” constraint in Malagasy. Further, Malagasy’s rich voice system suggests a cognitive trigger for the use of variable binding operators in RCs in voice-poor languages such as English.

Keywords

Malagasy Voice Case Invariant Compositional interpretation Relative clause Theta role 

Abbreviations

1=

1st person

3=

3rd person

s=

singular

pl=

plural

AG=

Agent

TH=

Theme

GL=

Goal

dem=

demonstrative

dft=

default

gen=

genitive

acc=

accusative

pres=

present

Foc=

focus

excl=

exclusive

imp=

imperative

iff=

if and only if,

∈ =

set membership

∩=

set intersection.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of LinguisticsUCLALos AngelesUSA

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