Predicate raising and V1 orders in Interior Tsimshianic
Clarissa Forbes
September 2020

This paper presents an analysis of VSO and VOS word orders in the Interior Tsimshianic (IT) languages of British Columbia, Canada: Nisga'a and Gitksan. Both varieties exhibit base VSO order with a VOS variant in noun incorporation. In addition, Nisga'a exhibits a second VOS construction whereby participant object pronouns obligatorily appear adjacent to the verb. I present an account of all three verb-initial orders in IT as broadly derived via predicate-raising, whereby the majority of phrasal arguments and adjuncts are base-generated external to the predicate (Massam 2020). I analyze the first VOS order as pseudo-incorporation, where O exceptionally merges vP-internally. I analyze the second VOS order as one where O merges vP-externally as usual, but is subject to a later reordering condition after it has been licensed. The morphologically-rich IT verb/predicate overtly distinguishes the proposed vP-internal and vP-external object positions: objects which have pseudo-incorporated clearly differ from those which are merely verb-adjacent. This challenges analyses which derive pseudo-incorporation via adjacency (e.g. Clemens 2019). A final consideration of the morphology of passivization and antipassivization in pseudo-incorporation also provides insight into the internal structure of the IT predicate, and suggests that antipassives may be derived PNI constructions.
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Reference: lingbuzz/005495
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keywords: tsimshianic, v1 order, vp raising, incorporation, argument structure, syntax
previous versions: v1 [September 2020]
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