David Medeiros in Lingua


By Andries W. Coetzee
Mar 17, 2013 Bookmark and Share

Lingua

A paper by graduate student David Medeiros appears in April's edition of Lingua. In this paper, David examines main clause word order facts in Hawaiian; the paper also includes data collected from the field. While Hawaiian is typically described as VSO, this paper argues that there is a subject/non-subject asymmetry, such that any verbal complement must follow the subject, barring verb-object incorporation. Crucially, this asymmetry extends to verbal complement clauses, yielding V-S-CP word order. The paper compares Hawaiian to the better-studied Niuean, and finds that the word order facts are essentially the same in both languages, despite differing in case-marking pattern, an especially relevant point since case properties have previously been taken to account for word order facts in Niuean. A 'shape conservation' analysis is then developed to unify the two grammars, without recourse to case properties. An additional goal of this paper is to contribute to the formal analysis of Hawaiian, a language which has seen very little research on syntactic properties. The full bibliographic information, together with an abstract, of the paper is given below.

Medeiros, David J. 2013. Hawaiian VP-remnant movement: A cyclic linearization approach. Lingua 127: 72-97.

This paper presents an analysis of main clause word order patterns in Hawaiian, a Polynesian language typically described as VSO. I provide evidence that Hawaiian is syntactically comparable to Niuean, including with respect to (pseudo)-incorporation in VOS word order. Given these similarities, and also considering properties of the Hawaiian TAM system, I argue that Hawaiian can be analyzed in a principled way in terms of Massam's (2001) VP-remnant movement analysis of Niuean. However, adopting the VP-remnant movement approach raises several empirical and theoretical complications concerning the formation of the VP-remnant prior to VP-raising. While remnant formation has been linked to case in Niuean, Hawaiian differs from Niuean with respect to case marking pattern; further, the case-based account of remnant formation does not account for V-S-CP word order in either language. Instead of linking remnant formation to case, and upon adoption of a true incorporation account of VOS, I characterize remnant formation as a shape conservation effect, such that subjects precede non-subjects. I formalize the shape conservation analysis in terms of relativized cyclic linearization, also comparing Hawaiian remnant formation to Scandinavian object shift, thereby allowing a unified analysis of VP-remnant movement for Hawaiian and Niuean.