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A Squib on Syntactic Pivots in Tagalog

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t1st Semester AY 2012-2013: Linguistics 190 Linguistics 190 Inter-clausal and Intra-clausal Syntax: Clausal linking patterns in Tagalog 1 1st Semester AY 2012-2013: Linguistics 190 Squib Clausal linking patterns in Tagalog Eishrine Mei M. Amante UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES-DILIMAN This paper explores the linking pattern of the core arguments across the clauses in Tagalog. It has been observed that even if Tagalog, a morphologically ergative language, also exhibits an accusative discourse behavior. This is also the case in Cebuano.

Just like in other ergative languages, the Ss and As are still more topical than the Os.

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This means that there can be more S and A links than O links. Languages have varying strategies for representing syntax of clause combining. One of these ways is through syntactic pivots. Many languages tend to put restrictions on the syntactic combining of clauses. This is made possible by the three syntactic functions: S, A, or O. OBL, on the other hand serves as the peripheral argument. According to Dixon (1994), there are two types of syntactic pivot: (1) S->A pivot and; (2) S->O pivot.

In (1), the coreferential NP must be derived from S or A in each of the clauses being combined. In (2), the coreferential NP must be derived from S or O in each of the clauses being combined. To contrast S->A pivot and S->O pivot, Dixon gave two languages showing the links respectively. (a) [MotherA saw fatherO] and [ 0S returned] (b) [ngumaO yabu-nguA buran] [0S banagany u] Father+ABS mother-ERG saw returned Mother saw father and he returned 2 1st Semester AY 2012-2013: Linguistics 190 In (a) and (b), we have what we call a zero anaphora which represents the omitted subject of the intransitive verb.

An example of an S->A link can be seen in a language operating in an S->A pivot like English. The link is being demonstrated in (a). Users of English will only delete the S NP in the 2nd clause if and only if it is coreferential with an S/A NP in the 1st clause. The hearer will understand that the deleted NP is the mother which is the subject of returned. However, if the speaker wants to show that the father is the subject of the intransitive verb, he should have made the sentence like this instead: Mother saw father and he returned.

He should have inserted a pronoun he. On the other hand, Dyirbal works in an S->O pivot operation. Just reversing the operation in English, in Dyirbal, an S NP can only be omitted if it is coreferential with an S/O in the preceding clause. S/A pivots usually occur with morphologically accusative languages. In ergative languages it is usually S/O pivots. However, Tanangkinsing found out that Cebuano which is a morphologically ergative language, appears to have an accusative discourse behaviour.

This is also what has been observed in Tagalog. There was a higher percentage of S/A linking than S/O linking which makes Tagalog a morphologically ergative language which appears to have an accusative discourse behaviour and was also seen in Cebuano. To investigate the pivots in Tagalog, doing reference tracking was found to be necessary. Reference tracking as defined by Van Valin and Foley: Reference tracking is one of the most vital functions of language, and languages employ a limited number of ways in encoding referents.

There are three prominent ways of tracking referents: lexicalization, pronominalization and zero anaphora. The forms that arguments or participants take have been found to be motivated by such discourse notions, such as topicality, information status, person hierarchy and animacy. Several papers have shown how referents are tracked and given formal expression. In reference tracking, it is a must that we obtain the syntactic functions of the arguments (S, A, O, or OBL). OBL is included because it introduces new information.

In past studies of Nagaya, Amante, et. al, it was observed that OBL has the high probability of introducing new information once introduced. The Ss and As are highly associated with old information. This can be attributed to their high topicality because they are the source of action in intransitive and transitive clauses. In this paper, it was seen that since Ss and As are associated with old information in Tagalog, they are most likely zeroed in constructions. It just shows that they are more frequently used as coreferents in combined clauses. 1st Semester AY 2012-2013: Linguistics 190 The basic core arguments used to track referents are S, A, and O. OBL can only introduce information but it cannot track referents. When we have two clauses which are linked, each will be either intransitive (with S as subject) or transitive (with A and O as arguments). As stated by Dixon, thus there could be nine patterns for the syntactic functions in NPs of the two clauses plus two further possibilities for when two transitive clauses have two core NPs in common.

So we have: Both clauses intransitive: (1) S->S First clause intransitive, second transitive: (2) S->O (3) S-A First transitive, second intransitive: (4) A->S (5) O->S Both transitive, one common NP: (6) O->O (7) A->A (8) O->A (9) A->O Both clauses transitive, two common NPs (10) O->O and A->A (11) O->A and A->O To put this in an example, we have a sentence John returned and saw Mary (where S->A) and John returned and Mary saw him (where S->O). In the Tagalog sample Nagbuhat ang matanda ng peras at kinain ito (where S =matanda-> A=niya) and A was omitted even if it is a pronoun.

Another example is Tinulak ng dalawang bata yung isang bata tapos tinawanan (where A=dalawang bata>A=dalawang bata) which demonstrates (7). The results of the pivot investigation in 2 Tagalog narrative stories by 1 Tagalog male and 1 Tagalog female show that: S/A: S->S (16%) A->A (14%) S->A (22%) 4 1st Semester AY 2012-2013: Linguistics 190 A->S (13%) O->O (14%) A->O (6%) O->A (3%) S/O: S->O (8%) O->S (8%) This shows the various types of pivots found in Tagalog narratives. The patterns observed are: (1) Ss are easily linked with As. (2) As are more likely to link with more As. 3) Ss are more likely to link with more Ss. (4) Os prefer to be linked with more Os. The investigation produced a 62% occurrence of S/A links and only 15% of S/O links. As the result shows, As again are still more topical than the Os. As are more frequently tracked and zeroed because of this. Since there are more intransitive constructions in the data, more Ss as the supporting evidence, the linking of As and Ss are more frequent than O links. This phenomenon is a part of perhaps one quarter of the languages in the world which has some sort of morphological or intra-clausal ergativity (Dixon).

Tagalog and Cebuano may be examples together with languages with some ergative morphology but an entirely accusative syntax: Hindi (Kachru 1987), Basque (Ortiz de Urbina 1989), North East Caucasian, Avar (Simon Crisp), and Papuan languages like Enga (Van Valin 1981) If Tagalog will be strongly proven as a language with morphological ergativity and an S/A pivot, then Tagalog is part of that very small proportion of 1/4 of the world’s total languages with ergative morphology. This topic is still subject to debates.

This squib explores only a limited aspect of the intra-clausal syntax of Tagalog. The investigation of syntactic pivots in Tagalog needs a larger amount of data. Pivot controls in Tagalog, a language with ergative morphology, requires further research studies. 5 1st Semester AY 2012-2013: Linguistics 190

REFERENCES Dixon, R. (1994). Ergativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Nagaya, N. (2006). Preferred referential expressions in Tagalog. Tokyo University Linguistic Papers (TULIP) , 83-106. Tanangkinsing, M. (2009). A Functional Reference Grammar of Cebuano. Taiwan: Lambert Academic 6

Cite this A Squib on Syntactic Pivots in Tagalog

A Squib on Syntactic Pivots in Tagalog. (2017, Feb 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/a-squib-on-syntactic-pivots-in-tagalog/

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