On Sinhala subject case marking and A-movement

Chao-Ting Chou, Sujeewa Hettiarachchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relation between volitive/involitive moods of Sinhala verbs and subject case marking remains unresolved in the scarce generative literature on Sinhala. Previous analyses of subject case marking in this language (Gair, 1990a,b; Inman, 1992; Beavers and Zubair, 2010, 2013) assume that non-nominative cases are lexical/inherent/quirky cases assigned by involitive verbs to the subject NP, whereas nominative case is not tied to any particular lexical semantics, and arises as the default case when the semantic conditions for all available quirky cases fail. We argue that the distinction between nominative and non-nominaive cases in Sinhala should not be characterized as one between default and lexical/inherent/quirky cases. Rather, based on previously unnoted data, we contend that (i) nominative case in Sinhala is a structural case assigned by a finite T, and (ii) A-movement in Sinhala is driven by case valuation (see Epstein and Seely, 2006; Bošković, 2002, 2007), rather than by a universal EPP structural requirement on T (contra Gair, 1990a,b; see Chomsky, 2000, 2001).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-40
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - Sept 16 2013


  • (In)volitives
  • A-movement
  • EPP
  • Lexical case
  • Sinhala
  • Structural case

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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