Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka, 2020. “Patterns of relativization in Austronesian and Tibetan.”
Presented at the University of Helsinki, the Workshop on Comparative Syntax in East and Southeast Asia at Sogang University, the University of Edinburgh, and Goethe University of Frankfurt.

In both Tibetan and so-called Philippine-type Austronesian languages, the form of the verb varies with the choice of relative clause pivot, with different forms chosen for the relativization of actors, patients, locatives/goals, and instruments. These alternations have however been described in very different ways in their respective literatures. In the Bodic literature, these verb forms have been described as different nominalizations which can be juxtaposed to a noun to modify it (DeLancey 1999, Noonan 2008, a.o.). In the Austronesian literature, these alternations reflect different grammatical voices, with relativization obeying a subject-only or absolutive-only restriction (Keenan & Comrie 1977, Aldridge 2004, a.o.). In this talk, I compare these systems, concentrating on the behavior of relativization of an embedded clause argument, i.e. long-distance relativization. Original data on long-distance relativization in Tibetan, which has not been previously described, shows clear parallels to the well-studied behavior of long-distance relativization in Austronesian languages, and leads to an argument against the nominalization analysis of these verb forms in Tibetan.