Date/Time: to
Location: Campus Augustusplatz, Hörsaalgebäude, Hörsaal 6
Event series: CYCLOPS-Colloquium

The Interaction of Topic, Voice, Case, and Agreement: On O-Constructions in Jarawara
(Joint work with Luke Adamson (ZAS))

The language Jarawara (Arauan, spoken in Brazil) exhibits a puzzling set of passive-like properties in its so-called ‘O-Construction’ (Dixon 2004). We argue that Jarawara O-Constructions are unified by the presence of [topic] on the internal argument of a transitive verb, which induces agreement with C; at the same time, O-Constructions vary in whether they are active or passive voice depending on the combinations of person for the arguments. We relate this approach to previous work on agreement in Jarawara (Marquardt 2020) as well as recent research on Algonquian inverse systems which have also been argued to involve a passive-like voice-based alternation for specific person combinations (Oxford 2023). Our analysis captures a broader array of facts than previous work including case marking, word order, the complex array of person restrictions, and the restricted distribution of the passive prefix hi-, among other properties. From a broad perspective, our findings provide support for the approach to person restrictions embodied in Oxford's work as well as additional cross-linguistic evidence for non-canonical passives (in which internal arguments of transitives have more than one means of being promoted; Legate 2021). We aim to demonstrate how a careful separating out of C agreement, T agreement, case, and Voice can lead to a deeper understanding of seemingly complex and unusual clausal phenomena like the O-Construction.