Topichood of the Philippine topic Revisited from a cross-linguistic perspective

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This paper reexamines the nature of the so-called topic in Philippine languages, specifically its topichood in Tagalog, from a cross-linguistic perspective by comparing it with that of prototypical topic in other languages such as Japanese. The study reveals that its topichood is remarkable in its non-occurrence rather than its occurrence in sentences. It is also shown that although it exhibits similarities with prototypical topic in discourse in terms of its actor-orientedness, they also exhibit significant differences. I argue that one of the difficulties in identifying the nature of the Philippine topic lies in the fact that its choice is made by the interaction ofits sentential and discourse topicality itself with an independent grammatical characteristics that penetrates into the grammar of Philippine languages in general, i.e. patient-orientedness, and the relational balance between these factors can be different depending on transitivity of verbs and the degree of grammaticalization among different Philippine languages.
The Structure of Language Views from Asian Languages