Local Object Scrambling in Sinhala: Evidence for A-bar Movement


  • Sujeewa Hettiarachchi Department of English & Linguistics, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda


This paper provides an analysis of local object scrambling that generates the Object (O), Subject (S), and Verb (V) word order in Sinhala, an Indo-Aryan isolate spoken in Sri Lanka. Even though it has been generally assumed in limited generative literature on Sinhala that its OSV word order is derived through constituent scrambling, no prior study has systematically investigated the nature of the operation responsible for its derivation. This study reveals that local object scrambling (OSV) in Sinhala results from the syntactic merge, and it is uniformly an A-bar movement operation. The evidence comes from binding, reconstruction and parasitic gaps, the diagnostics standard in generative syntactic literature on scrambling. The analysis has implications for a generative theory on scrambling, a phenomenon that has remained a problem for the Minimalist Syntactic approach.                                     


KEYWORDS: scrambling, Sinhala, OSV word order, A-bar movement