Volume 48, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1810-7478
  • E-ISSN: 2589-5230



This work investigates the syntax of nominal modification involving the linker in Siwkolan Amis, one of the dialects of Amis, an Austronesian language spoken in Taiwan. Based on the two observed types of NP-ellipsis patterns and the formal licensing condition, I argue that Amis displays two types of modification. Modifiers in direct modification are functional heads projecting extended functional projections of NP, whereas those in indirect modification are modifier phrases base-generated at [Spec, ModP]. This distinction adds weight to J. Wu’s (2003) view that relative clauses and description-denoting modifiers marked by - are clausal modifiers that have a full-fledged CP structure from a cartographic perspective. Furthermore, I argue that projects the Modifier Phrase (ModP) and is a modificatory clitic endowed with a [+] feature that attaches to a head element moving from a lower head position to form a morphological word. Very much in line with Philip (2012), the proposed analysis suggests that is endowed with an interpretative profile in marking a modification relation between an extended functional projection (a modifier phrase) and a dependent word (a modified noun) in the nominal domain. Issues involved in dealing with the structure of Amis complex noun phrases are discussed.

Available under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Abney, Steven Paul
    1987 The English Noun Phrase in its Sentential Aspect. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.
  2. Alexiadou, Artemis, Liliane Haegeman, and Melita Stavrou
    2007Noun Phrase in the Generative Perspective. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110207491
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110207491 [Google Scholar]
  3. Androutsopoulou, Antonia
    1996 The licensing of adjectival modification. The Proceedings of the Fourteenth West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL 14), ed. byJosé Camacho, Lina Choueiri and Maki Watanabe, 17–31. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bennis, Hans, Norbert Corver, and Marcel den Dikken
    1998 Predication in nominal phrases. The Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics1.2:85–117. 10.1023/A:1009780124314
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009780124314 [Google Scholar]
  5. Carlson, Gregory Norman
    1978Reference to Kinds in English. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Linguistics Club.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Chang, Henry Yungli
    2017 The AV-only restriction and locality in Formosan languages. Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies47.2:231–254.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Chen, Ting-chun
    2018 Multiple Case Assignment: An Amis Case Study. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.
  8. Chen, Victoria
    2017 A Reexamination of the Philippine-Type Voice System and its Implications for Austronesian Primary-Level Subgrouping. Doctoral dissertation, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Honolulu.
  9. Chen, Yi-ting
    2010 The Amis left periphery. Oceanic Linguistics49.2:339–358.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. 2016 Raising out of CP in Mod-Asp adverbial verb constructions in Amis. Oceanic Linguistics55.1:116–133. 10.1353/ol.2016.0013
    https://doi.org/10.1353/ol.2016.0013 [Google Scholar]
  11. Chomsky, Noam
    1981Lectures on Government and Binding. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Foris Publications.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. 1986Knowledge of Language: Its Nature, Origin, and Use. New York: Praeger Publishers.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. 2001 Derivation by phase. Ken Hale: A Life in Language, ed. byMichael Kenstowicz, 1–52. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Cinque, Guglielmo
    1994 On the evidence for partial N-movement in the Romance DP. Paths Towards Universal Grammar: Studies in Honor of Richard S. Kayne, ed. byGuglielmo Cinque, Jan Koster, Jean-Yves Pollock, Luigi Rizzi and Raffaella Zanuttini, 21–40. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. 1999Adverbs and Functional Heads: A Cross-Linguistic Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Delsing, Lars-Olof
    1993 The Internal Structure of Noun Phrases in the Scandinavian Languages: A Comparative Study. Doctoral dissertation, Institutionen för nordiska språk, Lunds universitet.
  17. Den Dikken, Marcel
    2006Relators and Linkers: The Syntax of Predication, Predicate Inversion, and Copulas. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 10.7551/mitpress/5873.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/5873.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  18. Den Dikken, Marcel, and Pornsiri Singhapreecha
    2004 Complex noun phrases and linkers. Syntax7.1:1–54. 10.1111/j.1368‑0005.2004.00064.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1368-0005.2004.00064.x [Google Scholar]
  19. Ding, Picus Sizhi
    2014A Grammar of Prinmi: Based on the Central Dialect of Northwest Yunnan, China. (Brill’s Tibetan Studies Library: Languages of the Greater Himalayan Region.) Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers. 10.1163/9789004279773
    https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004279773 [Google Scholar]
  20. Fábregas, Antonio, and Rafael Marín
    2015 Deriving individual-level and stage-level psych verbs in Spanish. The Linguistic Review32.2:167–215. 10.1515/tlr‑2014‑0022
    https://doi.org/10.1515/tlr-2014-0022 [Google Scholar]
  21. Himmelmann, Nikolaus P.
    2005 The Austronesian languages of Asia and Madagascar: Typological characteristics. The Austronesian languages of Asia and Madagascar, ed. byAlexander Adelaar and Nikolaus Himmelmann, 110–181. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Holmer, Arthur
    1993 Atayal clitics and sentence structure. Lund University, Department of Linguistics Working Papers40:71–94.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Huang, Lillian M.
    2008Tàiyǎyǔ Fāngyán Yánjiū 3/3 [Research on Dialects of Atayal 3/3] (NSC 96-2411-H-158-008-). National Science Council.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Huang, Lillian M., and Hsin-sheng Wu (Tali’ Hayung
    ) 2016Taiyayu Yufa Gailun [An Introduction to Atayal Grammar]. New Taipei: Council of Indigenous Peoples.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Jenks, Peter
    2014 Generalized clausal modifiers in Thai noun phrases. Syntax17.4:299–342. 10.1111/synt.12022
    https://doi.org/10.1111/synt.12022 [Google Scholar]
  26. Jheng, Wei-Cherng Sam
    2021 More on the licensing conditions of NP-ellipsis and the structure of noun phrases in Mandarin. Taiwan Journal of Linguistics19.1:89–159.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Jiang, Haowen
    2011 On the grammaticalization of nominalization marker =ay in Kavalan and Amis: A contrastive study. LSA Annual Meeting Extended Abstracts (ExtAbs), vol.2, 19:1–5. 10.3765/exabs.v0i0.553
    https://doi.org/10.3765/exabs.v0i0.553 [Google Scholar]
  28. Kayne, Richard S.
    1994The Antisymmetry of Syntax. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Kubo, Yoshihiro & Rai Tei
    2013 A note on direct and indirect modification. The Bulletin of Central Research Institute, Fukuoka University12.4:27–37.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Larson, Richard K., and Hiroko Yamakido
    2008 Ezafe and the deep position of nominal modifiers. Adjectives and Adverbs: Syntax, Semantics, and Discourse, ed. byLouise McNally and Christopher Kennedy, 43–70. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Li, Yen-hui Audrey
    2005 Ellipsis and missing objects. Linguistic Sciences4.2:3–19.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. 2014a Born empty. Lingua151:43–68. 10.1016/j.lingua.2013.10.013
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2013.10.013 [Google Scholar]
  33. 2014b Structure of noun phrases: Left or right?Taiwan Journal of Linguistics12.2:1–32.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Liu, Dorinda Tsai-hsiu
    1999 Cleft Constructions in Amis. MA Thesis, National Taiwan University, Taipei.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Liu, Emma En-hsin
    2003 Conjunction and Modification in Amis. MA thesis, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Lobeck, Anne
    1990 Functional Heads as proper governors. Proceedings of the 20th annual meeting of the North East Linguistics Society, vol.20, ed. byJuli Carter, Rose-Marie Déchaine, Bill Philip and Tim Sherer, 348–362. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Amherst.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. 1995Ellipsis: Functional Heads, Licensing, and Identification. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Merchant, Jason
    2001The Syntax of Silence: Sluicing, Islands, and Identity in Ellipsis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. 2004 Fragments and ellipsis. Linguistics and Philosophy27.6:661–738. 10.1007/s10988‑005‑7378‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10988-005-7378-3 [Google Scholar]
  40. 2006 Small structures: A sententialist perspective. The Syntax of Nonsententials: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, ed. byLjiljana Progovac, Kate Paesani, Eugenia Casielles and Ellen Barton, 73–91. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/la.93.05mer
    https://doi.org/10.1075/la.93.05mer [Google Scholar]
  41. Müller, Gereon
    1998Incomplete Category Fronting. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 10.1007/978‑94‑017‑1864‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-1864-6 [Google Scholar]
  42. Philip, Joy Naomi
    2012 Subordinating and Coordinating Linkers. Doctoral dissertation, University College London, London.
  43. Rizzi, Luigi
    1990Relativized Minimality. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Ross, Malcolm, and Stacy Fang-ching Teng
    2005 Formosan languages and linguistic typology. Language and Linguistics6.4:739–781.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Saito, Mamoru, Tzong-Hong Jonah Lin, and Keiko Murasugi
    2008 N’-ellipsis and the structure of noun phrases in Chinese and Japanese. Journal of East Asian Linguistics17:247–271. 10.1007/s10831‑008‑9026‑8
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10831-008-9026-8 [Google Scholar]
  46. Samvelian, Pollet
    2007a A (phrasal) affix analysis of the Persian Ezafe. Journal of Linguistics43.3:605–645. 10.1017/S0022226707004781
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022226707004781 [Google Scholar]
  47. 2007b The Ezafe as a head-marking inflectional affix: Evidence from Persian and Kurmanji Kurdish. Aspects of Iranian Linguistics: Papers in Honor of Mohammad Reza Bateni, ed. bySimin Karimi, Vida Samiian and Donald Stilo, 339–361. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Sleeman, Petra
    1996 Licensing Empty Nouns in French. Doctoral dissertation, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam.
  49. Sproat, Richard, and Chilin Shih
    1991 The cross-linguistic distribution of adjective ordering restrictions. Interdisciplinary Approaches to Language: Essays in Honor of S.-Y. Kuroda, ed. byCarol Georgopoulos and Roberta Ishihara, 565–593. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 10.1007/978‑94‑011‑3818‑5_30
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-011-3818-5_30 [Google Scholar]
  50. Tang, Chih-Chen Jane, Henry Yungli Chang and Dah-an Ho
    1998 On noun phrase structures in Paiwan. Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies (New Series)28.3:335–384.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Traugott, Elizabeth Closs
    1994 Grammaticalization and lexicalization. The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, vol.3, ed. byR. E. Asher and J. M. Y. Simpson, 1481–1486. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Tsai, Wei-tien Dylan
    2007 Conjunctive reduction and its origin: A comparative study of Tsou, Atayal, and Amis. Oceanic Linguistics46.2:585–602. 10.1353/ol.2008.0009
    https://doi.org/10.1353/ol.2008.0009 [Google Scholar]
  53. 2011 Rethinking formal licensing. Paper presented at the5th International Conference on Formal Linguistics, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Tsuchida, Shigeru
    1982 Subclassification of Amis dialects. Manuscript.
    [Google Scholar]
  55. Van Gelderen, Elly
    2008 Economy of merge and grammaticalization: Two steps in the evolution of language. Variation, Selection, Development: Probing the Evolutionary Model of Language Change, ed. byRegine Eckardt, Gerhard Jäger and Tonjes Veenstra, 179–198. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Wang, Yuyun Iris
    2014 The Theory of Empty Noun in Chinese: With Special Reference to the Right Node Raising Construction. Doctoral dissertation, the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
  57. Watanabe, Akira
    2006 Functional projections of nominals in Japanese: Syntax of classifiers. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory24:241–306. 10.1007/s11049‑005‑3042‑4
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11049-005-3042-4 [Google Scholar]
  58. Wu, Hsiao-hung Iris
    2013 Restructuring and clause structure in Isbukun Bunun. Oceanic Linguistics52.1:69–85. 10.1353/ol.2013.0000
    https://doi.org/10.1353/ol.2013.0000 [Google Scholar]
  59. 2014 Complex noun phrases and formal licensing in Isbukun Bunun. Oceanic Linguistics53.2:207–224. 10.1353/ol.2014.0016
    https://doi.org/10.1353/ol.2014.0016 [Google Scholar]
  60. Wu, Jing-lan Joy
    2000Ameiyu Cankao Yufa [A Reference Grammar of Amis]. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  61. 2003 Clausal modifiers in Amis. Concentric: Studies in English Literature and Linguistics29.2:59–81.
    [Google Scholar]
  62. 2006 Verb Classification, Case Marking, and Grammatical Relations in Amis. Doctoral dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo.
  63. 2007 “Voice” markers in Amis: A role and reference grammar analysis. Language and Linguistic8.1:95–142.
    [Google Scholar]
  64. 2011 Noun phrase conjunction in Amis. Language and Linguistics12.1:109–139.
    [Google Scholar]
  65. 2016Ameiyu Yufa Gailun [An Introduction to Amis Grammar] (1st edition). New Taipei: Council of Indigenous Peoples.
    [Google Scholar]
  66. Wurmbrand, Susanne
    2001Infinitives: Restructuring and Clause Structure. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error