Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1384-6655
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9811
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Indefinite subjects of so-called pivot verbs in Malay can appear on either side of the verb. This paper discusses the following two tendencies concerning their behaviour: (i) the longer the subject is, the more likely it is to occur after the verb; (ii) in adverbial clauses the preferred word order is VS rather than SV. Both of these points are supported by quantitative evidence from a corpus of front-page articles of the daily newspaper Utusan Malaysia. The paper also proposes an explanation for these tendencies by using the functional notion of ‘topic’ and the mechanism of competition. Specifically, tendencies (i) and (ii) above are claimed to result from the competition between the topicality and heaviness of the subject NP, and from the Constraint on ‘Topic-over-Topic’ Configuration (COTC) respectively. The proposed model with competition and COTC is applicable to other phenomena in Malay (apparent violations of the Definiteness Restriction) and other languages (restricted occurrence of the topic marker in some subordinate clauses in Japanese) as well.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): adverbial clauses; heaviness; Malay; topicality; unaccusative verbs; word order
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