The next syntax-semantics reading group meeting will take place Wednesday February 19 at 15:30 in room 117. Mathieu will be presenting work entitled: Tucking-in in nominative-third languages.
Abstract: It is widely accepted in minimalist syntax that a head H may have more than one specifier, and when more than one XP moves to Spec-H, the second XP that moves may (or must) “tuck in” under the first XP (Richards 1997). Rackowski (2002) argues that thematic specifiers must always be a given head’s lowest specifier, because (i) they must tuck-in, and (ii) they must externally merge following all instances of internal merge. In this presentation, I provide evidence from a subset of Philippines languages (focusing on Cebuano) that this is not so: thematic specifiers need not be a head’s lowest specifier. The evidence comes from a new analysis of the “nominative-third” phenomenon (Sells 2000, Travis 2011), in which the subject is placed third in a sentence, following the verb and EA but preceding all other phrases.