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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

This paper argues that there at two types of Marshallese (Austronesian, Oceanic, Micronesian) infinitival constructions. In constructions of the first type the infinitival marker in 'to' must occur between the matrix and embedded verbs, long passives are not possible and the subject may follow the matrix verb. In the second type of infinitival construction, which include sentences with matrix verbs such as jino 'start,' aikuj 'need' and maron&#; 'be able,' in is not obligatory, long passives are possible, and the subject may not follow the matrix verb, provided that in is present. It is argued that the second type of infinitival sentences is a monoclausal construction, in which the matrix verbs are restructuring verbs. Following Cinque (2006) and Wurmbrand (2001), I argue that restructuring verbs are the heads of a functional projection (FP) rather than the heads of VPs and therefore cannot take either internal or external arguments, while the embedded verb is head of a VP. This analysis is supported by the fact that, in Marshallese sentences of the second class, the matrix verb does not impose any selection restrictions on the subject. In addition, this analysis also explains why long passives are possible in the second type of sentence and why post matrix verbal subjects are not possible.

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