This paper shows that a phrasal movement account of verb-initial word order in Samoan is superior to a head-movement account. The appearance of VP-modifiers to the left of the subject in Samoan indicates that the clause-initial predicate appears within a VP-constituent. This is consistent with the VP-movement account of verb-initial word order, but not with a head-movement account. I argue that the movement of the object out of the VP (forced by the VP-movement account) is independently motivated by a ban on unergative-unaccusative coordination. I intend the diagnostics presented in this paper to contribute to an inventory of diagnostics for determining the best derivational analysis for a verb-initial language.
Proceedings of the 32nd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Ulrike Steindl, Thomas Borer, Huilin Fang, Alfredo García Pardo, Peter Guekguezian, Brian Hsu, Charlie O'Hara, and Iris Chuoying Ouyang Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-466-9 library binding
vii + 351 pages
publication date: 2015
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA