Clefts and anti-Superiority in Moken


We describe an extraction asymmetry in Moken that presents apparent Anti-Superiority effects. We then show that this asymmetry is not rooted in Superiority at all. Evidence from island effects is used to demonstrate that the left-dislocation of wh-phrases is not the result of wh-movement as standardly conceived. Furthermore, the same Anti-Superiority effect obtains for non-wh-phrases and clefts. At the same time, standard Superiority effects in Moken do arise in certain environments. These observations lead to the conclusion that Anti-Superiority effects in Moken are not counterexamples to the universality of Superiority, but instead arise due to a constraint on crossed dependencies between arguments and non-argument positions.

Kenneth Baclawski Jr.
Peter Jenks
Publication date: 
July 1, 2016
Publication type: 
Recent Publication
"Clefts and anti-Superiority in Moken", Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society 9: 81-96