Relativization Asymmetries in Philippine-Type Languages: A Preliminary Investigation

Ivan Paul M. Bondoc


Philippine-type Austronesian languages possess a relativization constraint that allows only the syntactically pivotal phrase to undergo extraction. This paper revisits this claim and reports previously understudied variation within these languages. While several researchers claim an extraction restriction in Philippine-type voice only to the pivot argument, previous theoretical and experimental work have reported the permissibility of the agent non-pivot argument for extraction, particularly in Tagalog. This extraction phenomenon is further explored with native speaker judgments on five Philippine-type languages: Pangasinan, Western Subanon, Blaan, Akeanon, and Cebuano. The findings showed that in all five languages, the pivot argument is the most accessible element for relativization using the gap strategy. Yet, two of the languages surveyed also allowed the relativization of the non-pivot agent. This finding is aligned with previous work that suggests the greater degree of markedness of non-pivot agents in the accessibility hierarchy compared to pivots. The implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.

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