VSO word order in Malagasy imperatives

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This paper accounts for an unusual VSO word order found in Malagasy imperative clauses to the exclusion of indicative clauses. It proposes that, what appears to be a subject in immediately post-verbal position is not a subject at all; rather, it is a vocative. Semantic and morphological characteristics of Malagasy vocatives support this claim. The paper argues against two alternative analyses: a scrambling analysis that derives VSO order from the canonical VOS via rightward scrambling, and a predicate-internal subject analysis that derives the VSO order by leaving the subject in its base position. I show that both alternatives are empirically and conceptually inferior to the vocative account proposed in the present work.


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