I have investigated the left periphery and patterns of Ā-extraction in Toba Batak, an understudied Austronesian language of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Contrary to the claims of previous work on the language, I show that multiple DPs can be simultaneously fronted, though only in limited configurations. I argue that the heads C and T are present in Toba Batak, with their traditional division of labor, but extraction patterns are restricted by the limited means of nominal (Case)-licensing in the language. In addition, the features of C and T have the option of residing on a single head (so-called “joint” or “bundled” CT) and probing together for the joint satisfaction of their probes, in a manner that inherits properties of both C and T. This study sheds light on the relationship between western Austronesian voice system languages and the left periphery in other language families.
“Extraction and licensing in Toba Batak.”
Language 94:3, pages 662–697.
“Multiple extraction and voice in Toba Batak.”
AFLA 23: The Proceedings of the 23rd Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association, pages 81–95.
One ingredient of my analysis for Toba Batak is that an Ā-probe can be specified to target the closest DP. Kenyon Branan have discussed some of the applications and implications of this idea.
Branan and Erlewine, 2020.
“Ā-probing for the closest DP.”
Manuscript, National University of Singapore.
I am also working with Theodore Levin and Coppe van Urk on developing a more general framework in which to think about Austronesian voice systems. Austronesian “voice” systems commonly exhibit a one-to-one correspondence between “voice” morphology on the verb, morphological case on nominals, and the availability of Ā-movement. Based on cases where this correspondance breaks down, as well as on variation across Austronesian in the realization of this voice system, we argue that voice morphology is extraction marking, reflecting the choice of argument moved to a particular position. We explain the effects of voice on case marking by proposing that the relevant position is a mixed A/Ā-position, where the external argument can receive Case. Voices where the external argument does not move to this position, then, require a separate mechanism to license the external argument.
Erlewine, Levin, and Van Urk, 2020.
“The typology of nominal licensing in Austronesian voice system languages.”
Proceedings of AFLA 26, pages 71–87.
Erlewine, Levin, and Van Urk, 2017.
“Ergativity and Austronesian-type voice systems.”
Oxford Handbook of Ergativity, pages 373–396.
“Review of Yosuke Sato Minimalist Interfaces: Evidence from Indonesian and Javanese.”
Oceanic Linguistics 55:1, pages 298–306.
Erlewine, Levin, and Van Urk, 2015.
“What makes a voice system? On the relationship between voice marking and case.”
AFLA 21: The Proceedings of the 21st Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association, pages 51–68.
More recently, I have been studying patterns of non-subject extractions possible in Philippine-type languages. Theordore Levin and I have considered patterns of clitic pronouns in Philippine-type languages. Viewing cliticization as an instance of syntactic movement, we can explain the typologically attested patterns of clitic pronouns based on a view of the vP phase edge where “subject” DPs and non-subject agents, but not non-subject themes, are accessible for syntactic operations from above. My BA advisee Cheryl Lim and I have also studied patterns of non-subject extractions in Bikol, which again supports the view that both “subjects” and non-subject agents both occupy the vP phase edge.
Erlewine and Levin, 2021.
“Philippine clitic pronouns and the lower phase edge.”
Linguistic Inquiry 52:2, pages 408–425.
Erlewine and Lim, 2019.
“Bikol clefts and topics and the Austronesian extraction restriction.”
Manuscript, National University of Singapore.
Erlewine and Levin, 2018.
“Clitic pronouns and the lower phase edge.”
Heading in the Right Direction: Linguistic Treats for Lisa Travis, pages 136–145.
This current work builds on my previous investigation of voice and subjecthood in Atayal, an endangered Atayalic language of Taiwan. I studied Squliq Atayal while on a Fulbright fellowship in Taiwan in 2007–2008 and also during summer 2012 funded by an NSF East Asian/Pacific Institute award. The sentence-final “subject” position in Atayal can be optionally marked by qu, which has traditionally been described as a nominative/absolutive case marker. However, I show that when the subject of the clause (as determined by Voice morphology on the verb) is displaced, another specific, non-subject argument can be marked by qu. I argue that the qu marker on sentence-final arguments is an information-structual marker of topic, rather than a case marker.
“Subject marking on non-subjects in Squliq Atayal.”
Proceedings of the 20th Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association (AFLA 20).