Complementation in three Formosan languages--Amis, Mayrinax Atayal, and Tsou

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Liu, Tsai-hsiu
Formosan languages
thesis / dissertation description
This dissertation provides a comprehensive description of syntactic constructions involving complementation in three typologically representative Formosan languages--Amis, Mayrinax Atayal and Tsou. Specifically, three types of constructions are discussed: (i) constructions with a full complement clause; (ii) constructions with a shared argument; and (iii) constructions with a ―raised‖ argument. The research questions are centered on four topics: clause linkers, null arguments, serial verb constructions, ―raising‖ phenomena, and split subjecthood. Cause linkers in these languages are homophonous with various other items. The homophony suggests that these clause linkers may have their origins in the homophonous items. The most likely sources for the clause linkers include: (i) accusative Case marker; (ii) coordinating conjunction; and (iii) verb of saying. Control constructions come in three types: actor control, patient control, and apparent patient control. The null argument (that is, controlee) needs to be a trigger actor in all control constructions except for Amis patient control. Moreover, the matrix clauses must have an overt trigger argument in all control constructions. In previous Formosan studies, the constructions with juxtaposed verbs were treated SVC. However, the present study shows that only the relevant constructions in Tsou are SVC and that Tsou has two types of SVCs: same-actor SVC and same-trigger SVC. Apparent ―raising‖ occurs in constructions with a full complement clause and actor control construction. The trigger argument (also known as ―topic‖, ―pivot‖, ―focused NP‖, and so on) of the full complement clause can be optionally realized as a trigger/accusative argument in the matrix clause. This study shows that this optional ―raising‖ is not an instance of raising, but involves A'-movement of a null operator. Raising in actor control, on the other hand, is shown to be an instance of raising with the embedded patient obligatorily moving into the matrix trigger position. Like Philippine languages, the subject properties distribute over actor and trigger in Formosan languages. Split subjecthood is also attested in the Formosan complementation, in which the subject properties are carried by actor NPs, trigger NPs, and actor-trigger NPs.