A movement asymmetry arises in some languages that are otherwise symmetrical for both A- and Ā-movement in the double object construction, including Norwegian, North-West British English, and a range of Bantu languages including Zulu and Lubukusu: a Theme object can be Ā-moved out of a Recipient (Goal) passive, but not vice versa. Our explanation of this asymmetry is based on phase theory— more specifically, a stricter version of the Phase Impenetrability Condition proposed by Chomsky (2001). The effect is that, in a Theme passive, a Recipient object destined for the C-domain gets trapped within the lower V-related phase by movement of the Theme. The same effect is observed in Italian, a language in which only Theme passives are possible. A similar effect is also found in some Bantu languages in connection with object marking/agreement: object agreement with the Theme in a Recipient passive is possible, but not vice versa. We show that this, too, can be understood within the theory that we articulate.

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