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
ISBN 978-1-57473-428-7 library binding
vii + 466 pages
publication date: 2008
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA