Object licensing in Fijian and the role of adjacency
Coppe van Urk
January 2019

Fijian displays a crosslinguistically unusual system of differential object marking (DOM) (Alderete 1998; Aranovich 2013). In typical DOM effects, 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 surface without an article. This paper argues that this pattern arises because pronoun and proper name objects undergo morphological merger with the verb at PF, which allows a nominal to escape the Case Filter (Levin 2015; Branan 2017). I present evidence that, in contrast, common noun objects in Fijian are structurally reduced, and so do not need Case licensing. As a result, Fijian provides support for an approach to DOM in which objects higher in definiteness/animacy have an additional Case licensing need (e.g. Massam 2001; Danon 2006; Ormazabal and Romero 2013; Kalin 2018), and against theories that rely exclusively on differences in syntactic position or overt marking.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003662
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Natural Language & Linguistic Theory
keywords: differential object marking, case, adjacency, licensing, fijian, syntax
previous versions: v1 [September 2017]
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