A Grammar of Yami

5 Word Order of Predicational Constructions
 5.1 Nominal predicate clauses
 5.2 Verbal clauses
 5.3 Topicalized constructions

  Topicalized constructions refer to the raising of one of the constituents of the sentence to the beginning of the sentence as topic. A topic, by definition, has to be definite. If the raisied pronominal topic is the Patient-undergoer, Agent-actor, or the possessor of the Nominative NP, there must be a trace of the resumptive pronoun of the raised constituent left in the matrix sentence. There is a pause or more commonly a Topic Linker am between the topic or theme and the comment or rheme.

5.3.1 Topicalized intransitive constructions

One of the functions of topicalization is to compare and contrast information, as shown in (33)-(34):

(33) o rarakeh am, om-lisna a, o kanakan am, t-om-anek.

NOM old.person TOP <AF>sit PAR NOM child TOP <AF>stand

‘The old person is sitting and the child is standing.'

(34) o t-om-anek am, kanakan a, beken a rarakeh.

NOM <AF>stand TOP child PAR NEG LIN old.person

‘The one who is to stand is a child but not an old person.'

In the following example (35), the Nominative complement yaken ‘I' is topicalized in its free form with the resumptive clitic pronoun ko ‘I' left in the sentence. The Oblique complement is by definition indefinite and hence cannot be topicalized.

(35) a yaken rana am, mi ko pa mangotas so raon namen.

PAR 1.S.NOM already TOP go 1.S.NOM first AF.collect.leaves OBL wild.taro 1.P.GEN.EXCL

‘As for me, I will go to pick up wild taro leaves first.'

In the following example (36), the possessor of the Nominative NP is topicalized.

(36) yaken rana ya am, ya ni-s-om-let o lima ko .

1.S.NOM already this TOP AUX PA<AF>get.stuck NOM hand 1.S.GEN

‘As for me, my hand got stuck (in the hole).'


5.3.2 Topicalized transitive constructions

5.3.2 .1 Transitive constructions with topicalized genitive agent

When the Genitive Agent is topicalized, it appears in its free form and leaves a trace of the resumptive clitic pronoun in the matrix sentence. In (37), yaken ‘I' is topicalized with its resumptive pronoun trace ko ‘by me'. In (38), sira ‘they' is topicalized with its resumptive pronoun trace da ‘by them'. The free genitive pronoun nira ‘their' followed by the deictic ori ‘that' also refers to the topicalized sira (See Table 13 for pronouns and Table 11 for deictics).

(37) yaken rana am, ko mi ni-yokay si Akay.

1.S.NOM already TOP 1.S.GEN go PA.PF-waken NOM Grandfather

‘As for me, I just went to waken Grandfather.'

(38) sira rana ori am, da i-sibo o cinedkeran da nira ori a.

3.P.NOM already that TOP 3.P.GEN IF-start.off NOM big.boat 3.P.GEN 3.P.GEN that PAR

‘As for them, they are going to the mountain for the purpose of building a big boat.'


5.3.2 .2 Transitive constructions with topicalized nominative patient

The Nominative Patient, o wakay ‘the sweet potato' in (39), can be topicalized because it is definite. But since there is no third person sigular free form in Yami, no resumptive pronoun is found in (39).

(39) o wakay ya am, na ni-ngotngot-an no karam.

NOM sweet.potato this TOP 3.S.GEN PA-RED-nibble-LF GEN mouse

‘As for this sweet potato, it was nibbled on by a mouse.'