Juni 14, 2014

Object Agreement and 'Pro-Drop' in Kerinci Malay

Timothy McKinnon, Peter Cole, Gabriella Hermon, “Object Agreement and 'Pro-Drop' in Kerinci Malay”, Language, 87, 4 (2011): 715–750.
DOI: 10.1353/lan.2011.0092


KERINCI IS a group of grammatically diverse Malayic varieties spoken in Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. This article focuses on a previously undescribed dialect of Kerinci, spoken in the village of Tanjung Pauh Mudik (TPM). Many Kerinci dialects have developed a morphological alternation in root-final syllables as a result of stress-related diachronic changes. In TPM, as in Sungai Penuh Kerinci (described by Steinhauer and Usman (1978), inter alia), lexical roots surface in two forms, termed ‘absolute’ and ‘oblique’, which differ in the phonological shape of their final syllable. These forms exhibit a wide array of grammatical properties that differ considerably between dialects. We focus on the function of this unique marking in the verbal domain, and argue that the oblique form marks agreement with a nominal complement. Our analysis explains why TPM, a language that retains the morphological properties of the traditional Malay voice system, unexpectedly appears to permit the extraction of nonsubject arguments from active clauses, contradicting the predictions of theories that causally link symmetrical voice morphology and a ban on nonsubject extraction from vP (e.g. Keenan 1972, 1979, Rackowski & Richards 2005, Cole et al. 2008).We argue that apparent cases of nonsubject extraction do not involve movement, but that the apparently moved argument is generated outside of vP and binds a phonologically null pronoun licensed by the oblique morphology; thus, we are able to relate TPM’s unexpected syntactic behavior to the availability of the absolute/oblique marking. This analysis has broader consequences for the theory of pro-drop. Neeleman and Szendrö’s (2007) theory of radical pro-drop is unable to differentiate between syntactically projected pronouns (like null objects in TPM) and nonobject pro-dropped arguments in TPM that lack the behavior of a syntactically projected argument. In light of this inadequacy, we put forward an alternative proposal regarding the universal typology of pro-drop.

Keywords: Voice, agreement, pro-drop, Kerinci, Malay, Austronesian.[]


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