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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Nominalization and voice in Kwak'wala Sherer, Laura


Kwak̓wala appears to give privileged status to the syntactic position of subject in the formation of several clause types that rely on extraction; that is to say, the subject is the only element which can be A'-extracted to form relative clauses, WH-questions, and cleft sentences. For this reason, it has been claimed that any constituent which is not the subject must first become the subject in order to be extracted. This is achieved by marking the predicate of the clause with one of several suffixes which have variously been termed passive markers, focus markers, and nominalizers. This thesis argues that the supposedly unique behaviour of the subject is a result of restrictions against extraction of case-marked DPs, and shows that non-subject constituents which are not case-marked can extract without first being promoted to subject position. Furthermore, I argue that nominalization is the most satisfactory analysis of the suffixes which allow DPs that would otherwise be case-marked to surface as subjects. This account is particularly useful in accounting for the behaviour and distribution of the suffix -nukw, which has what appear to be two different functions (indicating possession and indefinite objects), and which defies explanation according to both of the predominant theories of passive formation (Baker, Johnson & Roberts 1989; Collins 2005). I further argue that, of the eight suffixes I consider, only seven display sufficient syntactic similarities to be considered a single class of affixes. The eighth is not only distinct in its behaviour, but is also the only one which targets non-subjects that are not case-marked. Finally, I consider how my proposed structure for Kwak̓wala compares to analyses for Austronesian languages, and particularly Tagalog, which has been observed to have similar patterns of extraction.

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