Lim, Cheryl and Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine, 2018. “Agent extraction and topicalization in Bikol.”
Presented at AFLA 25, Academia Sinica.

We investigate patterns of A’-dependencies (especially topics) in Bikol, a Central Philippine language closely related to Tagalog. We show that topicalization can target non-subject agents, although local clefting is strictly limited to the subject. We propose that topicalization involves a [TOP] probe, which can skip a non-topic subject, whereas clefting involves probing for [D], which cannot skip the subject (Aldridge 2004, 2017). Subjects and non-subject agents are the only DPs at the edge of the vP phase edge, explaining the impossibility of topicalizing non-subject themes. Finally, we show that topicalization can feed long-distance clefting, supporting the view that apparent “subject-only’’ extraction restriction on clefting is not based on thematic role, but rather locality-based.