A Morphosyntactic Analysis of Isamal Ergatives: Movement in Ergative Structures

Keywords: Isamal, ergatives, unaccusatives, argument structure, Minimalist Program


Isamal is an Austronesian language spoken by around 8,000 indigenous people of Samal Island, Mindanao, Philippines. Fieldwork has shown that every speaker of Isamal is bilingual in Cebuano, the most dominant language in the island with a population of 104,123 according to Philippine Census (2015). This paper deals with the morphosyntax of Isamal ergatives, and analysis is made using the Minimalist Program with focus on the movement of elements in the structure. Verb morphology is given a description to lend a hand in the analytical scrutiny of the projections of the lexical information encoded in the argument and thematic structures of the verbs. Like all ergatives, Isamal ergatives have only one argument, that is, the theme-DP. There are three primary syntactic structures that are analyzed in this paper, namely, VP, TP, and CP. With the employment of the Minimalist Program for analysis, movement in the ergative structures shows that verbs, arguments and adjuncts can move.

Author Biography

Rodney C. Jubilado, University of Hawaii at Hilo

Associate Professor
Filipino Studies Program
University of Hawaii at Hilo
Hawaii, United State of America

How to Cite
Jubilado, R. (2021). A Morphosyntactic Analysis of Isamal Ergatives: Movement in Ergative Structures. Southeastern Philippines Journal of Research and Development, 26(2), 63-82. https://doi.org/10.53899/spjrd.v26i2.154