Abstract

Pronominal paradigms in Philippine-type Austronesian languages show a robust and curious gap: in transitive clauses, pivot arguments and nonpivot agents may have bound pronominal forms, appearing as second-position clitics, but pronominal nonpivot themes must be full, free pronouns. This gap is instructive regarding the organization of the lower phase edge. As cliticization involves a syntactic dependency between the host and argument position and all syntactic dependencies are constrained by phases, the gap is explained if pivots and nonpivot agents are specifiers of the phase head, making them the only DPs accessible for operations from outside of the lower phase.

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