Unbounded dependency constructions in Western Austronesian
This dissertation presents an account of unbounded dependency (UD) constructions in two western Malayo-Polynesian languages (from now on Western Austronesian, or WAn), Tagalog and Palauan. The UDs in WAn have been described as typologically unusual: they are represented by two distinct types of phenomena, chains with voice constraints, in which verbs must appear in a strictly determined voice form, and wh-agreement, or the presence of verb forms unique to UDs. Whereas wh-agreement is associated with only two languages in WAn, Palauan and Chamorro, chains with voice constraints have been reported for a variety of WAn languages, most notably the Philippine (Tagalog, Ilocano, Cebuano), the Javanic languages (Malay, Javanese, Madurese, Balinese, Indonesian), and Malagasy.
However, according to the majority of works on WAn UDs, chains with voice constraints and wh-agreement are atypical among A-bar dependencies. Leaving aside theory-internal issues, a more serious problem for existing accounts is that they ascribe to A-bar dependencies essential characteristics of A-relations.
I propose a new account of WAn UDs that overcomes problems with existing accounts. The analysis presented here makes two main claims. First, I propose that chains with voice constraints in Tagalog involve not extraction, but (Subject-to-Subject) raising, i.e. an A-dependency. Second, it shows that UDs in Palauan display not wh-agreement, but voice marking, and therefore involve a raising relation, as in Tagalog. The first hypothesis has important consequences for the picture of UD in WAn, as it can be generalized to chains with voice constraints in several other languages. The second hypothesis shows that wh-agreement is not attested in WAn. Rather, WAn languages display uniformly chains with voice constraints.
In addition, I suggest that the structure of UDs in Tagalog is closely related to the organization of simple canonical clauses in the language. I offer an analysis of simple sentences types in Tagalog that provides important insights into the organization of clausal syntax in Tagalog, and the function and typology of voice systems across languages. My core idea is that sentences in Tagalog consist of a predicate phrase and a predication subject, which differ in important respects from verb phrases and grammatical subjects in nominative or ergative languages.