Luganda, like a number of other Bantu languages, has strict S-V-IO-DO word order in the active but two possible word orders in the passive (IO-V-DO alongside the 'theme passive' DO-V-IO). The author presents new data showing that, despite their apparent unboundedness, Luganda theme-passives allow movement across at most one intervener—suggesting that traditional assumptions about A-movement locality (e.g. shortest-move, relativized minimality) should not be abandoned entirely. Recent alternative treatments posit EPP-driven movement to an outer specifier across an inner specifier, sometimes called 'leap-frogging' (McGinnis 2004, Doggett 2004, etc.). The author examines the contextual restrictions on leap-frogging and show that it is also implicated in single-object structures with overt external arguments in Luganda. The idea is that the external argument in a Luganda passive is in the position where it was originally merged—Spec,vP—rather than being a PP adjunct; leap-frogging then allows the next-lower argument to skip over the external argument. Crucially, each step of movement involved in these derivations obeys shortest move, and the idea that A-movement is cross-linguistically blocked by intervening arguments can accordingly be maintained. Implications for feature-inheritance and phonological spellout are explored here as well.
Proceedings of the 27th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Natasha Abner and Jason Bishop
Table of contents