[An-lang] SUMMARY: Coordinate structures in Indonesian

Whitney Anne Post whitneyannepost at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 25 19:34:42 UTC 2003

Dear AN-LANGers,

Below is a summary of the replies I received to my original query on July
15th about coordinate structures in Indonesian. Special thanks go to Tom
Conners, Christian Harder, Bill Davies, Waruno Mahdi and Fay Wouk for their
judgments. All errors are mine, and mine alone.

To recap, here are the 2 sentences in question:

Nando mendorong Allen dan	dipeluk Susan.
Nando ACT-push Allen and PASS-hug Susan
‘Nando pushes Allen and is hugged by Susan’

Nando didorong Susan dan memukul Allen.
Nando PASS-push Susan and ACT-hit Allen
‘Nando is pushed by Susan and hits Allen’

People disagreed over the naturalness and grammaticality of these sentences.
Some claimed that they were perfectly grammatical in casual language, while
others said that they might sound better in written language, possibly
because verbal prefixes are often dropped in natural speech.

For both sentences, the preferred interpretations are those in which the
thematic role of the "pivot" (i.e., the participant involved in both events)
is the same. (Aside: I have borrowed the term "pivot" from Dixon's famous
"Ergativity" paper. I hope that I have done so rightly. Please correct my
usage of this term if I am mistaken. Thank you.) So for (1), Allen is theme
of both verbs, and for (2), Susan is agent of both verbs.

For some speakers, replacing "dan" with "lalu" improved the sentences and
favored interpretations in which the grammatical subject for both VPs is the
same. Now we have Nando as agent of the first verb and theme of the second
verb in (1), and Nando as theme of the first verb and agent of the second
verb in (2). One speaker preferred that the two conjuncts be broken up into
two separate sentences, as in:

(1') Nando mendorong Allen. Lalu dipeluk Susan.
(2') Nando didorong Susan. Lalu memukul Allen.

Even better are sentences with temporal phrases like "sesudah" and "setelah"
('after'), especially for the first construction:
(1'') Nando mendorong Allen sesudah/setelah dipeluk Susan.
(2'') Nando didorong Susan sesudah memukul Allen.

The grammaticallity of the linker "sambil" (while) in the first constuction
suggests that seriality of events is not a requirement for interpretation.
In other words, the events can be understood as happening simultaneously:
(1''') Nando mendorong Allen sambil dipeluk Susan.

Interestingly, judgments on corresponding structures in Madurese tend to
parallel those for Indonesian. (All Madurese data are from Bill Davies. Note
that "AV" stands for "Actor Voice" and "OV" stands for "Object Voice", more
or less equivalent to what I have termed "active" and "passive" voices in
Indonesian.) The sentence in (3) (which corresponds to (1)) is unambiguous:
the theme is the same in both conjuncts. However, when the linker "ban" is
replaced with "pas" ('then'), it becomes ambiguous with respect to the theme
of the second verb.

Ali nempeling Bambang ban epokol bi' Toni.
Ali AV.slap Bambang and OV.hit by Toni
'Ali<i> slapped Bambang<j> and Toni hit him<j,*i>.'

Ali nempeling Bambang pas epokol bi' Toni.
'Ali<i> slapped Bambang<j>, then Toni hit him<i,j>.'

The sentence in (4) (corresponding to (2)) is highly degraded, but if it
means anything, it's that Toni is agent of both verbs. It is improved with
replacement of "ban" with "pas", as shown in (4'). Note that (4') is

*?Ali epokol (bi') Toni ban nampeleng Bambang.
Ali OV.hit by Toni and AV.slap Bambang
‘Toni hit Ali and slapped Bambang.'

Ali epokol (bi') Toni pas nampeleng Bambang.
‘Toni hit Ali then slapped Bambang.'
‘Ali was hit by Toni then slapped Bambang.'

When the second subject is expressed overtly in Madurese, an interesting
asymmetry results. Apparently (5) is preferable to (6), suggesting that
there is a very robust expectation that the thematic role of the "pivot"
will be consistent across the two conjuncts.

Ali epokol Toni ban Toni nampeleng Bambang.
‘Toni hit Ali and Toni slapped Bambang.'

Ali epokol Toni ban Ali nampeleng Bambang.
‘Ali was hit by Toni and Ali slapped Bambang.'

It remains to be seen if this asymmetry is found in Indonesian as well. I
would welcome more comments and judgments on these and related
constructions. Thank you all for your attention.

Yours most gratefully,

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