Object licensing in Fijian and the role of adjacency
Coppe van Urk
September 2017
 

Fijian displays a crosslinguistically unusual pattern of differential object marking (DOM) (e.g. Alderete 1998; Aranovich 2013). In typical DOM patterns, objects higher in animacy and/or definiteness receive additional morphological marking and appear in higher syntactic positions. In Fijian, however, pronoun and proper name objects, although higher on standard DOM hierarchies, must remain verb-adjacent and are morphologically reduced. This paper shows that this pattern arises because pronoun and proper name objects undergo morphological merger with the verb at PF, which may license a nominal (Levin 2015; Branan 2017). I provide evidence that, in contrast, common noun objects in Fijian are structurally reduced, and so do not need this licensing. As a result, Fijian provides support for an approach to DOM in which objects higher in definiteness/animacy have an additional licensing need (e.g. Massam 2001; Danon 2006; Ormazabal and Romero 2013; Kalin 2016). In this view, Fijian is not unusual, except that, instead of additional case marking or agreement, it makes use of a licensing by adjacency strategy to establish DOM.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003662
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Submitted
keywords: differential object marking, case, adjacency, licensing, fijian, syntax
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