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nonverbal sentences in tagalog_Manueli

nonverbal sentences in tagalog_Manueli

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Maria Khristina S. Manueli
Department of Linguistics
University of the Philippines

Tagalog verbs, together with other well\u00adknown Philippine languages, have been analyzed by most linguists because of its complex morphology. Tagalog verbs affect the syntactical functions of its Noun Phrases (NP)1, thus being analyzed as having the voice or focus system.

(1) Kinantahan ni Mona si Luis
Sing\u00adin\u00adan erg Mona nom Luis
\u2018Mona sang for Luis\u2019

(2) Nagluto ng kakanin si Abel
Mag\u00adcook acc rice cake nom Abel
\u2018Abel cooked rice cakes\u2019
(3) Lumipat kami ng bahay
Move\u00adum we acc house
\u2018We moved (to another house)\u2019

In the traditional analysis of Tagalog and other Philippine languages, sentences are
grouped into two: the verbal and the nonverbal sentences (Constantino 1965, 1971).
However, the so called non\u00adverbal sentences in Tagalog, and in all Philippine languages,
have been left out for analysis; few, if not, no studies have been made on this subject.


ang babae (Adjective Phrase (AP) as predicate)
ma\u00adbeautiful nom girl
\u2018The girl is pretty\u2019

(5)Nasa lamesa ang pusa (Prepositional Phrase (PP) as predicate)
table nom cat
\u2018The cat is on the table\u2019
(6)Guro ko

si Lisa (Determiner Phrase (DP) as predicate)
teacher mine nom Lisa
\u2018Lisa is my teacher\u2019

Malay2, also an Austronesian language closely related to Tagalog, has nonverbal as
predicates. But an analysis presented by Ramli (1992, 1995) grouped the nonverbal
1 Also referred to as Determiner Phrase (DP).
2 Also known as Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Melayu Brunei
9th Philippine Linguistics Congress (25\u00ad27 January 2006)
Organized by the Department of Linguistics, University of the Philippines
Manueli/Non\u00adVerbal Sentences in Tagalog

sentences as belonging to the verbal sentences.Ada \u2018to have, to exist\u2019 is reanalyzed as a verb, appearing in the nonverbal sentences when transformed to yes\u00adno questions, thus eliminating a separate structure for nonverbal sentences.

(7) Ali seorang guru
Ali a
\u2018Ali is a teacher\u2019
(8)Adakah Ali seorang guru?
Is\u00adqm Ali a
\u2018Is Ali a teacher?\u2019
(9) Sitic ant ik
Siti beautiful
\u2018Siti is beautiful\u2019
(10)Adakah Siti cantik?
Is\u00adqm Siti beautiful
\u2018Is Siti beautiful?\u2019

This paper is an initial analysis to the nonverbal sentences of Tagalog3. This paper
will attempt to explain the structure of the nonverbal sentences of Tagalog using the
Minimalist Program (via the Government and Binding approach) as its framework. This
paper will attempt to answer the following questions: (1) are there really non\u00adverbal
sentences in Tagalog?; (2) can one structure be derived for both verbal and non\u00adverbal
sentences?; (3) how can the Minimalist Program be able to explain this?


Constantino (1965, 1971) identified two kinds of sentences: verbal and nonverbal.
Sentences grouped under the nonverbal include Noun Phrase (NP), Adjective Phrase (AP)
and Particulate/Prepositional Phrase (PP) as the predicate of the sentence (1965). He gave
one structural description for both verbal and nonverbal sentences, following Syntactic
Structures (Chomsky 1965):

Sentence\ue000 NP + PRED
NP: noun phrase, PRED: predicate
PRED\ue000 PM +
AV (C)
AV: active verb, C: complement, ADJ: adjective, CN: common noun,
PP: particulate phrase
3 This paper is a part of my dissertation for Tagalog and Malay.
9th Philippine Linguistics Congress (25\u00ad27 January 2006)
Organized by the Department of Linguistics, University of the Philippines
Manueli/Non\u00adVerbal Sentences in Tagalog

However, in his second paper (1971), Constantino argued that in the deep structure
of the sentences, the nonverbal sentences came from the verbal sentences; and the verb
\u2018maging\u2019, which was supposedly present in the deep structure, was deleted in the surface
structure. Thus;

VS(become) + T + M + {N, ADJ, PP} + AC
VS: verb stem, T: tense, M: mode, N: noun, ADJ: adjective, PP: prepositional phrase
AC: actor (subject)
Given the structure above, it will generate the following sentences:
ang babae
VS\u00adbecame N\u00adteacher
AC\u00adthe woman
\u2018The woman became a teacher\u2019
ang aso
VS\u00adbecame ADJ\u00adbig
AC\u00adthe dog
\u2018The dog became big\u2019
para sa babae
ang bulaklak
VS\u00adbecame PP\u00adfor the girl
AC\u00adthe flower
\u2018The flower became for the girl\u2019
Following Constantino\u2019s analysis, the VS \u2018maging\u2019, will be deleted in the surface
structure to generate these sentences:
ang bababe
AC\u00adthe woman
\u2018The woman is a teacher\u2019
ang aso
AC\u00adthe dog
\u2018The dog is big\u2019
(16)para sa babae ang bulaklak
PP\u00adfor the girl AC\u00adthe flower
\u2018The flower is for the girl\u2019

The problem with this analysis is that what motivates the deletion of the VS
\u2018maging\u2019. Also, both sentences have difference in meaning. Sentences (11) \u2013 (13) have the
semantic meaning of the AC as becoming {N, ADJ, PP}, while sentences (14) \u2013 (16) have
a stative meaning of the AC as {N, ADJ, PP}.

Kroeger (1994) on the other hand, proposed that Tagalog\u2019s structure is;
9th Philippine Linguistics Congress (25\u00ad27 January 2006)
Organized by the Department of Linguistics, University of the Philippines

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