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Title: A Minimalist Approach to Amis Structure and Complementation
Authors: Chen, Yi-Ting
Keywords: Austronesian Languages
Formosan Languages
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: The University of Arizona
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to provide a generative account for Amis sentence structures with special attention to the voice system, simple sentence, complement clause, and complementation. This study suggests that voice markers are realized in different heads: the v head contributes to the realization of the actor voice whereas inner aspect contributes to that of the undergoer one. In addition, the forms of voice markers are determined by the level of Event Phrase; thus, the appearance of voice marker is not a reliable criterion for finiteness determination. This study points out that there is no Force complementizer in Amis. Nevertheless, there exist two Fin heads, u and a, signaling the finiteness and restricting the temporal, aspectual, and modal (TAM) value of Modal-Aspectual phrase (Mod-AspP). a is also a marker of defective Mod-Asp; it appears when the embedded TAM value relies on that of the matrix clause. This study claims that Amis is a weakly-tensed language. Therefore, the finiteness is inherited by Mod-AspP, not TP. Moreover, the weak tense makes Amis lack the projection of TP. Consequently, Amis complementation is shown in the level of CP and Mod-AspP only. This hypothesis explains why Amis complement clauses are often similar to each other in terms of surface structure. Specifically, control and direct perception complements are present similarly because their underlying syntactic representation is a defective Mod-AspP. On the other hand, indicative and believe-vexb complements are categorized together since they can be projected as a full CP. Even though the complement of an Amis believe verb is a full CP, the exceptional case marking (ECM) phenomenon still exists. The ECM takes place in the ForceP in Amis, instead of TP as in English. These findings on Amis complementation suggest a possible typological implication regarding the interrelationship of complementation, fmiteness, and TAM. The weakness of tense in a language may lead to a simple complementation continuum.The study also suggests that Amis applicatives are high applicatives; there is no serial verb construction in Amis; different direct quote constructions are observed between written text and oral data and there are two syntactic representations for Amis causatives.
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