Philippine "topic-third" languages sought

Norvin W Richards norvin at MIT.EDU
Sun May 18 21:11:51 UTC 2014


Hello, everybody--

I've read descriptions of the word order of Kalagan, a language of the Philippines, which claim that its word order is 'topic-third'; its clauses are verb-initial, with what Schachter called the 'actor' in second position, and then the 'topic' (or 'trigger', or 'subject', or 'absolutive nominal', or whatever--the argument that's picked out by the verbal morphology that's sometimes called "Philippine-type voice").  In other words, Kalagan is described as a language in which the Tagalog word order in (1) would be acceptable, but any other order of the post-verbal nominals would be out:

(1)  Ibinigay ng doktor ang gamot sa bata
      gave          doctor       medicine  child
 'The doctor gave the medicine to the child'

Does anybody know of other languages of the Philippines with this property?  Happy to post a summary, if it's warranted and of interest.

--Norvin Richards
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