Summary: Tagalog linking particle
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On November 26th, I posted a request for information about the Tagalog linking particle -ng,-g, na. I would like to thank the following for replying: Prof. Loren Billings (National Chi Nan University, Taiwan), Fay Wouk (Auckland, NZ), Corazon Dadufalza (University of Asia and the PAcific, Metro Manila, Philippines), Robert Truswell (Oxford, UK), Veronica Gerassimova (Stanford, US), Albert Ortmann (Tuebingen, Germany), Angelo Mercado (UCLA, US), Raph Mercado(McGill University, Montreal, Canada) and Anja Latrouite.
One thing is immediately clear - the particle is not used to indicate the predicative function of adjectives. My correspondents all pointed out that a sentence like ''the land is far'' would be ''malayo ang bayan'', where ''ang'' is a topic marker. The linking particle would not play a role here. It was also pointed out that the same particle is used to mark relative and subordinate clauses, e.g ''the house that I saw'' is:
nakita ko -ng bahay
saw I-linker house =''the house that I saw''
Again, it is possible for a different word order to occur, and for the particle to be attached to the noun, while the relative clause occurs after it. It appears that there are differences in meaning between the orders. Angelo Mercado, a native speaker, informs me that according to his intuitions, ''malayo -ng bayan'' means ''distant land'', while ''bayan - g malayo'' means ''land that is distant''. For relative clauses, the order in which the noun comes first appears to be the unmarked order, for instance:
tindahan - ng pinutahan ko
store -linker went I = ''the store which I went to''
pinutahan ko - ng tindahan
went I- linker store
has a meaning something like ''(go to)the place where I went which is a store'' (examples supplied by Loren Billings).
This evidence seems to indicate that the particle is used to mark modification, and may even be the morphological realisation of a type-shift operation that turns whatever it is attached to into a functor over a one-place predicate, i.e the noun (this was suggested by Albert Ortmann).
Robert Truswell suggested that the construction may, syntactically be realised by a projection headed by a particle dominating a small clause, which allows either one of the two elements of the small clause to move to its specifier.
The following literature was recommended:
Zamparelli, R (2000) Layers in the determiner phrase.New York, Garland.
Sproat, R & Shih, C.L (1991) The cross-linguistic distribution of adjective ordering restrictions. In ''interdisciplinary approaches to language: essays in honour of S.Y Kuroda'', Georgopoulos C & Ishihara R (eds.) Dordrecht, Kluwer.
Ortmann, Albert (2000) The morphological licensing of modifiers. In Proceedings of the Western Conference on Linguistics, Vol. 12, WECOL. Vida Samiian (ed.) California State University, Fresno.
Schachter & Otanes (1972) Tagalog Reference grammar (University of California Press)
Dell, Francois C. (1981) On certain sentential complements in Tagalog''. Philippine Journal of Linguistics, 12 (1) 11-28.
Deterding, David H. & Poedjosoedarmo, Gloria R. (2001) The Grammar of Tagalog. In: The grammar of English; morphology and syntax for English teachers in Southeast Asia (same authors). Prentice Hall, Singapore.
Kroeger, Paul (1993) Phrase structure and grammatical relations in Tagalog. Standord, CSLI publications.
Foley, Bill (1976) Comparative Syntax in Austronesian. Ph.D dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.
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