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Polynesian Syntax and its Interfaces$
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Lauren Clemens and Diane Massam

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780198860839

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198860839.001.0001

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Preverbal subjects and preverbal particles

Preverbal subjects and preverbal particles

Components of the left periphery in Māori

(p.216) 10 Preverbal subjects and preverbal particles
Polynesian Syntax and its Interfaces

Elizabeth Pearce

Oxford University Press

Basic sentences in Maōri have VSO constituent ordering, but the nominative argument can precede the verb in constructions that have sentence-initial Topics, Focused constituents, or negatives. In the constructions with pre-verbal nominatives there are restrictions on the tense-denoting particles that may be present. This chapter proposes that, except in the case of subject Topics, when a nominative expression precedes the verb of which it is an argument, it has raised to Spec, Fin/T within a CP domain where it is c-commanded by higher Tense. The structural analysis is developed in the terms of a cartographic approach, drawing in particular on proposals of Belletti (2015) as to reduced forms of cleft CPs and separating out distinctions in the locations of splits and hybrids involving Force and Finiteness in the left periphery.

Keywords:   cartographic approach, cleft constructions, CP domain, focus, Māori, negatives, pre-verbal subjects, Tense, Topic

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