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Title: Cebuano Subjects in Two Frameworks
Authors: Bell, Sarah Johanna
Keywords: Austronesian Languages
Malayo-Polynesian Languages
Issue Date: 1976
Publisher: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Abstract: Various investigators have proposed that verb-containing sentences in Philippine languages be analyzed as having no subject, as having the Actor as the subject, or as having the nominative nominal as the subject. In this thesis, I examine data from a Philippine language, Cebuano, to see what nominal, if any, would be analyzed as the subject in two theore-tical frameworks: transformational grammar and relational grammar. The thesis consists of four parts. In the first, I prEsent basic data and summarize the views of earlier investigators. In the second, I argue that according to the hypotheses of relational grammar regarding assignment of initial grammatical relations, reflexivization, coreferential nominal deletions, quantifier float, and line-drawing, the Actor is the initial Subject and the nominative nominal is the final Subject. Next I discuss the rules required to relate the initial and final Subjects. Finally I show how the analysis would be extended to data from causative constructions and various ascension rules. In the third part of the thesis, I examine the consecuences for the analysis of subjects in Cebuano of the definition of "subject-of", the Condition on Strict Subcategorization, the Sentential Subject Constraint, and the Specified Subject Condition gas modified by Fiango and Lasnik, 1976). I reach the following conclusions: 1. If the definition of "subject of " is retained, Cebuano should be analyzed as having no subject. The conditions are compatible with such an analysis. 2. If the definition of "subject of" is abandoned, the Actor cannot be analyzed as the subject without violating the Modified Specified Subject Condition. If a convention on interpreting the condition is adopted, the nominative nominal can be analyzed as the subject without violating the Modified Specified Subject Condition. Analyzing the nominative nominal as the subject may allow one to invoke the MSSC to explain a certain restriction on topicalization and relati-vization, which would support abandoning the definition of "subject of" and analyzing the nominative nominal as subject, but there are some difficulties with the proposal. In Part IV, I try to establish that the question of whether relational grammar is a notational variant of transformational grammar is not trivial. Next, looking at generalizations about subjects recently proposed, I argue that they confound different factors.. Although they may be heuristically useful, they should not be taken as authorities dictating the analysis of subjects. Most of the data in this thesis is well-known to investigators, but some new data will be found in Part II, S 7, and the data in 11.6. is brought together for the first time.
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