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This course will examine several approaches to the syntax of verb-initial (V1) languages with a special emphasis on Mayan and Austronesian languages. Some V1 languages are strictly VSO, others are VOS, and a significant number combine both orders. We will explore the factors that underlie these alternations. A number of V1 languages can be more adequately characterized as predicate-initial, with V1 being just a subset of clause-initial predicates. We will also discuss and analyze structural properties that are or may be associated with V1. While there are certain common characteristics observed across V1 languages, it is also clear that there are several distinct subtypes of V1. Careful, in-depth analyses of individual languages are required to test the different approaches to V1; in quite a few cases such analyses are still lacking.
A link to the course website can be found here: http://abelcorver.com/lsa2015/.