Backward control is an interpretational dependency between an overt controller and a non-overt controllee in which the controllee is structurally superior to the controller. It contrasts with ordinary forward control, in which the controller is structurally higher. Although backward control has been previously documented (Polinsky and Potsdam 2002b), clear cases are rare. This paper presents an alternation between forward and backward object control in the Austronesian language Malagasy and offers an analysis that relies on Hornsein's (1999) movement theory of control and the copy theory of movement (Chomsky 1993). The alternation arises because either copy of the movement chain can be pronounced. The proposal supports the treatment of obligatory control as movement and economy principles that allow selective pronunciation of copies (Nunes 2004). The paper also argues against a base-generated analysis of backward control from Cormack and Smith 2004 that appeals to the null pronominal pro.
Proceedings of the 25th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Donald Baumer, David Montero, and Michael Scanlon
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