Kinyarwanda locative applicatives and the Minimal Link Condition.
Zeller, Jochen Klaus.
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The two objects of ditransitive locative applicatives in Kinyarwanda display asymmetrical behaviour with respect to syntactic movement. Whereas the applied object (the goal) of a locative can be extracted in relative clauses, become the subject of a passive and incorporate as an object marker, the theme cannot undergo any of these operations, at least not as long as the applied object remains in object position. However, once the applied object has been passivised, relativised or incorporated, the theme is also free to move. We analyse these observations on the basis of the Minimal Link Condition (MLC) (Chomsky, 1995; 2000), which excludes movement of an element α to a position K if there is another element β of the same type which is closer to K. We show that the theme cannot move in Kinyarwanda locative applicatives because the applied object is closer to the potential landing site. However, in contexts in which the applied object has been moved ‘out of the way’, the MLC no longer blocks movement of the theme. In our analysis, we discuss a number of key theoretical concepts of the Minimalist Program, such as the Extension Condition, the notion of minimal domain, and derivation by phase.