Joey Sabbagh


Manuscripts and Publications

Specificity and Objecthood in Tagalog

This paper provides a comprehensive survey of the morphosyntax of transitive constructions in Tagalog focussing, specifically, on the relationship between specificity and the morphosyntactic strategies by which theme arguments are realized.

[PDF] (Draft version as of October 2012, submitted)


Right Node Raising

This is a short survey article on the topic of Right Node Raising.

[PDF] (Draft version as of January 2012, submitted)


Word Order and Prosodic Structure Constraints in Tagalog

This paper argues that certain word order patterns in Tagalog (including verb-initial word order) are derived by a lowering operation that is motivated by a prosodic structure constraint which requires elements that are lower on the prosodic hierarchy to precede higher elements.

[PDF] (Draft version as of July 2011, to appear in Syntax, 2012 or 2013)


Adjectival Passives and the Structure of VP in Tagalog

This paper argues that adjectival passives and another class of adjectives in Tagalog differ in terms of their argument structure--the former being unaccusative while the later are unergative. One of the goals of this paper is to reconcile this claim with the observation that adjectival passives in a number of languages do not, contrary to what one might expect, pattern as unaccusative.

[PDF] (In Lingua, Vol. 121:1424-1452, 2011)

Existential Sentences in Tagalog

This paper investigates the syntax of existential sentences in Tagalog. It argues that existential sentences are formed on the basis of an unaccusative predicate which takes a noun phrase (=the pivot) as its sole argument. The paper also explores the extent to which a specific analysis of the definiteness effect can be used to explain some of the more exotic morpho-syntactic properties of existential sentences.

[PDF] (In Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, Vol. 27:4, 2009)


*Read the Commentary by Ed Keenan, "Existential sentences in Tagalog: commentary on the paper by Joseph Sabbagh" [Link to article]

The Category of Predicates and Predicate Phrases in Tagalog

Commentary on a paper by Daniel Kaufman regarding the status of lexical categories in Tagalog.

[PDF] (In Theoretical Linguistics, Vol. 35:1, 2009)


Right Node Raising and Extraction in Tagalog

A squib which shows that RNR constructions in Tagalog are limited by the same constraint that limits leftward-extractios. Namely, only subjects and certain types of obliques may be left-ward extracted and--likewise--only these constituents may function as the shared argument in RNR constructions. This is contrary to what one might expect, given that RNR in languages such as English shows none of the classic classic behavior of (leftward) extraction processes.

[Link to article] (In Linguistic Inquiry, Vol. 39:3, 2008)


*Read the reply squib by Bradley Larson, "Problems with a Movement Analysis of Right Node Raising in Tagalog" [Link to article]

Ordering and Linearizing Rightward Movement

This paper offers a novel solution to an old problem concerning Right Node Raising constructions--namely, that Right Node Raising constructions seem to involve an unbounded application of (Across-the-Board) rightward movement that flies in the face of certain locality constraints on movement generally, as well as the locality constraint on (simple) rightward movement in particular. Despite these apparent challenges, I argue in this paper that RNR constructions are in fact movement derived. I propose that the apparent unbounded nature of the movement involved in RNR follows from the simple fact that rightward movement is actually, in principle, an unbounded type ofmovement. I propose, in addition, to analyze those cases where rightward movement appears to be bounded as the result of a derivational constraint proposed in recent work by Fox and Pesetsky (2004) which demands that certain instances of movement be order preserving.

[Link to article] (In Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, Vol. 25:2, 2007)