Phrase Structure and Grammatical Relations in Tagalog

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Center for the Study of Language (CSLI), Jul 30, 1993 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 240 pages
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Over the last twenty years or so, most of the work on the syntax of Philippine languages has been focused on the question of whether or not these languages can be said to have grammatical subjects, and if so which argument of a basic transitive clause should be analysed as being the subject. Paul Kroeger's contribution to this debate asserts that grammatical relations such as subject and object are syntactic notions, and must be identified on the basis of syntactic properties, rather than by semantic roles or discourse functions. A large number of syntactic processes in Tagalog uniquely select the argument which bears the nominative case. On the other hand, the data which have been used in the debate to assert the ambiguity of subjecthood are best analysed in terms of semantic rather than syntactic constraints. Together these facts support an analysis that takes the nominative argument as the subject. Kroeger examines the history of the subjecthood debate and uses data from Tagalog to test the theories that have been put forth. His conclusions entail consequences for certain linguistic concepts and theories, and lead Kroeger to assert that grammatical relations are not defined in terms of surface phrase structure configurations, contrary to the assumptions of many approaches to syntax including the Government-Binding theory. Paul Kroeger is presently doing fieldwork in Austronesian languages and teaching linguistics to fieldworkers from around the world.
 

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Contents

Some essential aspects of Tagalog morphology
12
Subjecthood
19
Actor properties
36
Termhood
40
Subjectless sentences
48
Typological considerations
54
Pragmatic Topic and Focus
61
Conclusion
68
A typology of controllee choice
104
Word order patterns
110
Configurationality
113
Problems for a configurational analysis
154
Modal verbs and Clause Reduction
167
The Clause Reduction construction
181
Clause Reduction as argument structure composition
197
Unbounded dependencies
209

Nonvolitive mood and controllee choice
80
Controllee choice
90
Functional control vs Anaphoric control
97
A unified account
221
Index
238
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