The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

MorPhun 11/18 - Tamisha Tan (Harvard University)

Speaker: Tamisha Tan (Harvard University)
Title: Two Cases of Doubled Pronouns in Amarasi
Time: Wednesday, November 18th, 5pm – 6:30pm

Abstract: This work in progress investigates an apparent case of typologically unusual full pronoun doubling in Amarasi (Austronesian: South-West Timor). Amarasi shows doubling in two contexts: copula constructions (1) and quantified (associative) arguments (2):

1) Au bifee kau.
1SG.NOM woman 1SG.OBL
‘I am a woman.’
2) Hai nua kai mi-mnei.
1PL.EX.NOM two 1PL.EX.OBL 1PL.EX-dream.
‘The two of us dream.’

In each case, a subject pronoun and its oblique counterpart bracket a nominal/adjectival predicate or numeral/quantifier respectively. Despite their surface similarity, I argue that these two constructions involve distinct underlying structures. In particular, I will provide novel evidence that these two surface-similar constructions have distinct derivations, as seen by their differing behaviour under negation, relativisation, and (default) agreement. Copular Pronoun Doubling (CPD) as in (1) will be shown to involve a pronominal copula, instantiating a Pred head which bears full φ-agreement with the subject, while Argument Pronoun Doubling (APD) as in (2) will be argued to involve a predicative (low) pronoun, doubled by a D head.

In all, this paper provides novel evidence for a fully-agreeing non-verbal copula that instantiates Pred (and not T or V) and connects this to other types of predicative agreement cross-linguistically and person splits therein (as with the SCOPA; cf. Baker 2008, Abramovitz 2020.) Furthermore, it explores an unusual type of adnominal pronoun construction in which the predicate is also pronominal (Höhn, 2017). Finally, it presents a potential expansion to the inventory of possible case competitors under Dependent Case Theory (Baker, 2015).