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Voice in Philippine

Masayoshi Shibatani

 The paper examines the most
controversial subjects in the are of
linguistic typology and universals; namely
the voice system in Philippine languages.
1. typologization of PL
2. the status of subject

Typologization of PL  Concerns with the implications of voice phenomenon. with a concomitant assumption that the actor (agent)-topic is an antipassive construction) > the goal-topic construction is neither passive nor ergative. > PL are accusative in type (the goal-topic construction an other non-actor topic constructions are passive) > PL are ergative in type (the goal-topic construction should be identified as ergative construction. and should be treated as a distinct topic construction) . centers on the dominant goal (patient)-topic construction.

STATUS OF SUBJECT > first view assumes that PL have subjects. and that ang-marked nominals are to be treated as topics. and that they are typically marked by the prepositional ang. > second view holds that the notion of subject is not applicable to PL. . OBJECTIVE The discussion aims to resolve or at least clarify the issues mentioned.

personal pronouns have four forms while common nouns and demonstrative nouns have only two. Personal si Juan ni Juan kang names Juan Personal Siya Iya/niya kaniya ‘he’ pronouns Common ang bata sa bata sa bata ‘child’ nouns Demon. PRELIMINARIES In Cebuano. kini niini niini ‘this’ stratives .

Form Functions Focus categories Categories (Roles) Topic (following except possessor) Genitive Possesor Actor Focus (AF) Actor (agent) Goal Focus (GF) Goal (patient) Oblique Recipient Direction Directional Focus Location Instrument Instrument Focus .

genitive and oblique are not functional categories.  In this paper.”  In the focus categories are coalesced a number of semantic categories. They are simple labels for the surface forms. direction. Form labels. in terms of nominal form (recipient. location and instrument) take the same surface. the common noun takes the sa particle 2. such as topic. “focus is the feature of a verbal predicate that determines the semantic relationship between a predicate verb and its topic. “focus” is used in the sense of Schachter and Otanes (1972). 1. in terms of focus marking in the verbal predicate .

(1) Ni-hatag si Juan sa libro sa bata. .’ In (1) the actor Juan is the topic of the sentence (actor- topic). TOP GEN OBL ACTOR GOAL RECIP ‘Juan gave the book to the child’ (2) Gi-hatag ni Juan ang libro sa bata. indicated by the prefix gi-. and this is indicated by the prefix ni-. GEN TOP OBL ACTOR GOAL RECIP ‘Juan gave the book to the child. In (2) the libro is the topic (goal-topic).

an (Bikol). The actor-topic sentence was identified as the active voice. 1917 and Blake. Tagalog and Hiligaynon. each contains a topic. ang in Cebuano. and that the topic is selected from various nominal constituents of a sentence. and the goal-topic as the passive voice.NON-ACTOR TOPIC CONSTRUCTIONS AS PASSIVES  As seen from the previous Cebuano sentences. 1925)  Modern linguists like Bell (1983) and other relational grammarians consider the actor-topic form to be active and basic. (Blommfield. say (Pangasinan) and ing in Kapampangan. the different topic constructions were treated in terms of voice variation.  Topic markers differ from one language to another. ti (Ilokano). . Non-actor topic on the other hand are treated as passive.  In older tradition of Philippine Linguistics.

.  ‘Voice’ is understood to mean a system that mediates between semantic functions such as subjects and object.  Thus. just like the passive in English and other languages. there is an obvious parallelism between the topic construction in PL and the voice system in other languages. Givon (1979) characterizes non-actor topic constructions as passives on the basis of his assumptions that they perform the same function of ‘promoting’ non-agents to a grammatically prominent role. while the passive voice puts a patient in the subject role.  The active voice is a system in which an agent is expressed in grammatical subject.

> A major difficulty with the works that analogize the Philippine non-actor topic constructions to the passive is the lack of rigorous and thorough understanding of what the passive voice is. not being able to differentiate passivization and topicalization. topic construction and the passive construction in English and other languages are ignored in the interest of capturing the similarities. .PROBLEMS > The problem of the traditional analyses is that the important differences between the Phil. PHILIPPINE SITUATION > past understanding of the passive voice have been too general.

 Secondly. That is. and thus a distinction needs to be made between the two. the most relevant is the pragmatic function of agent defocusing. have an additional passive construction. and Sama. Chamorro. . may have passives. a PL. First.  And thirdly. which has the Philippine-type goal-topic construction. such as Mam. (Shibatani. passivization involves the defocusing of an agentive entity that figures in the semantic frame. ergative languages. as in Japanese.1985)  Among the properties of the prototypical passive construction that have been delineated by Shibatani. passives and topic constructions coexist.

a patient is promoted to subject position. while in the Phil.g. a position that is grammatically prominent. oblique position 2. a non-agentive nominal. This occurs in a large number of languages. subject position. e. non-topic constructions.g. e. is promoted to a grammatically prominent. but by no means in all instances of passives. . the agent is neither not syntactically encoded at all or is encoded in less syntactically prominent. > In the passive. a non-agentive (non-actor) nominal is placed in topic position. 2 SYNTACTIC CONSEQUENCES: 1. typically a patient.

only direct objects can be made the subject of a passive clause. not only goals (patients). and position can be placed in topic position. benefactive. >This wide applicability of promotion is a characteristic of topicalization rather than passivization. in the passive. .) . Philippine situation. (In languages like German and Korean. there are restrictions on what can be promoted. but also other nominal adjuncts including recipient. SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES .

actor is not normally deleted in the PL non-actor construction. CONSEQUENCE OF PASSIVIZATION > passive does not normally encode an agent syntactically. typically resulting in a syntactically intransitive clause. 1985). all passives involve defocusing of agent in one way or another (Shibatani. (there are a large number of languages that have passives without patient promotion. unlike in passive. . so called the impersonal passives. ! Goal-topic construction in PL.

ang anak GF GEN TOP (goal) TOP ‘There she met Maria.’ …gi-kawat ko kining sundang gikan sa bungbong. (5) Didto na-hibalag niya si Maria. GF GEN TOP OBL ‘ I grabbed this bolo from the wall. GEN of their cook. . based from the statistics by Hopper and Thompson (1980). the daughter sa ilang mangluluto. the goal-topic construction shows no tendency towards agent omission.’ Again.Examples of goal-topic sentences in which the actors are marked as genitive.

and this precisely is the reason why languages having the goal-topic construction. may develop am additional passive construction.  To sum up this section. while it is generally not included in a passive clause. like Chamorro and Sama. Based from the studies of Matthew Dryer. Shibatani in Cebuano and Cooreman in Chamorro. an agent is an integral part of the GTC. clearly indicates that the goal-topic construction is functionally different from the passive construction. the goal-topic construction and the passive construction are different in an important way. manifestation of markedness in text frequency . 1. Where markedness is correlated with at least 2 factors.  The GTC and PC also differ in terms of markedness. formal complexity 2.

2. . these two constructions shows far more significant differences. Philippine GTC is not a marked constrcution in text frequency. PHLIPPINE GOAL-TOPIC CONSTRUCTION 1. > In conclusion to this section. it is clear that while patient and nominals in the GTC and the passive in English and other languages are similar in regards to subject/topic role. non-actor topic constructions shows no more formal complexity than do their actor-topic counterparts.

4. Goal-topic construction as ergative > High frequency of patient-prominent constructions is an earmark of ergative languages. ranging from basic case marking to the discourse organization involving different types of clauses. attempts have been made to characterize PL as ergative on the basis of arguments. > Recent studies in ergativity. on the high frequency of GTC. > In recent years. for many languages show phenomenon reflecting mixed ergativity/accusative organization within individual languages. (Foley and Van Valin 1984) >Discussions on ergativity involves many issues at different grammatical levels. indicates that such an overall characterization is often inadequate. .

 MARKING OF NOMINAL ELEMENTS AND VERBAL PREDICATE (7) L-um-apit ang babae.’ >The “subject” of the intransitive clause and the “direct object” of the transitive clauses are marked in the same way. intrans-come:past ABS woman ‘The woman came. trs-buy:past ERG woman ABS dress ‘The woman bought the dress.’ (8) B-in-ili ng babae ang baro. .

 The difficulty in the Philippine situation is that topicalization is grammaticized to the extent that a normal sentence. must contain one topic nominal. Payne (1982) claims that “in traditional sense Tagalog also can be said to manifest an ergative system”. nominals reveal their basic case forms when they are not marked by ang. for in sentences 7 and 8. whether transitive or intransitive.  In Pl. which has the effect of masking the basic case marking system. those elements that correspond to the English intransitive subject and directed object are marked by ang. .

. (9) a.’ b. AF-read Top (actor) child Goal book ‘The child read a book.’ > PL still retain clause-types in which ang-marking does not take place and in which nominals expose their basic case forms. Ni-basa ang bata ug libro. Gi-basa sa bata ang libro. GF-read Actor-child Top(goal) book ‘The/a child read the book.