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[NATLANG] Moro Configurationality

From:David Peterson <thatbluecat@...>
Date:Friday, March 4, 2005, 0:12
Hi, this is David Peterson (sorry for using a different e-mail address).

I'm here with our Moro speaker, and my girlfriend is eliciting right now.
She's getting adverb placement, and we've come across some really bizarre
facts that I'm trying to wrap my head around.   Any help would be much

Imagine a sentence like the following (throughout, CL. means "noun class

(1) Damala Dassa ereka
/CL.-camel CL.-eat-PAST yesterday/
"The camel ate yesterday."

You can get the following additional orders:
(2a) Damala ereka Dassa.
(2b) ereka Damala Dassa.

This isn't unusual.   Now here's some stuff that is.

First, you can't get the adverb inside an NP, or inside
a noun and its case suffix (obviously, but I wanted to
prove it was a case suffix):

(3a) ej Damala = "every camel"
(3b) *ej ereka Damala Dassa = "every camel ate yesterday"

(4a) Damalano = "inside the camel"
(4b) *Damala ereka ano Dassa = "he ate inside the camel yesterday"

But now here are some odd facts.

If you wanted to have a white camel, the usual way
seems to be to say it like this:

(5) Damala iDi Deb@tSo /CL.-camel CL.-this CL.-white/ "(this) white camel"

You can say it without the /iDi/, but it seems most
natural to include it.   Now here are some distributional facts:

(6a) Damala ereka iDi Deb@tSo Dassa = "The white camel ate yesterday"
(6b) *Damala iDi ereka Deb@tSo Dassa = "The white camel ate yesterday"

Thus, there are two possibilities:

(1) We misanalyzed NP's and /iDi/ before.   /iDi/ is not a postnominal
modifier, but a pre-nominal modifier.   /Deb@tSo/ is not an adjective,
but a noun meaning "white one".   Thus, the phrase /Damala iDi Deb@tSo/
means "The camel, this white one".

(2) Moro is *slightly* non-configurational, such that an NP can have things
stuck inside it--but only in certain places.

Neither of these stories make sense--the first because we're really sure that
/iDi/ is a postnominal modifier (because, say, */iDi Damala/ is
and the second because, well, nonconfigurationality doesn't make sense.

Another possibility is that /iDi Deb@tSo/ is a relative clause.   This is the
theory I like best.   Because if /iDi Deb@tSo/ *is* a relative clause, it
be able to move around (even though it wouldn't in English), and you
shouldn't be able to put a matrix clause adverb within the relative clause,
or else it would only apply to the relative clause.

Anyone who has any ideas about language: Does this make sense?