Passive, Causative and Light Verbs: A Study on Theta Role Assignment

H. Hoshi, 1994

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Abstract

In the enterprise of generative grammar, it has been considered desirable to minimize assumptions and eliminate redundancy.

Following this tradition, Chomsky (1992) proposed that the internal interface levels, D-structure and S-structure, should be eliminated from the grammatical model, because there is no conceptual necessity for them.

In this thesis, I show that to analyze Japanese passives, Romance causatives, and light verb constructions, we must abandon D-structure as a pure representation of GF-θ relations. Thereby, I propose analyses which are compatible with Chomsky‚Äôs new grammatical model, and explore their theoretical and empirical consequences.

In chapter 2, I point out that the ni direct passive verb in Japanese has dual characteristics, the combined function of the passive morpheme –en and the verb get of the get passive. To explain these properties, I propose that this passive verb triggers Passivization at the initial point of the derivation, but assigns θ-roles at a later point of the derivation (Hoshi 1994b, cf. Washio 1989-90).

I argue in chapter 3 that like the ni direct passive verb, the Italian causative verb and the Japanese benefactive verb assign θ-roles not at the initial point of the derivation, but later in the course of the derivation. However, as opposed to the ni direct passive verb, the benefactive verb excorporates from the embedded verb for tense feature checking in syntax as does the Italian causative verb (Guasti 1992). Consequently, the proposal suggests that Japanese is an over V-to- I language (Tada 1990, among others).

In chapter 4, I demonstrate that there is an instance in which θ-marking takes place in LF. Based on our previous work (Hoshi and Saito (1993) and Saito and Hoshi (1994)), I propose that in the light verb construction, the nominal θ-marker incorporates to the light verb, and assigns θ-roles at the clausal level in LF.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION                                             1

A CROSS-LINGUISTIC APPROACH TO PASSIVES: ON THE DUAL NATURE OF THE PASSIVE VERB    6

2.1. Introduction                                            6

2.2. The Nature of the Subject Position                                    10

2.3. Similarities between Japanese Passives and English Passives                    12

     2.3.1. Passivization of Verb Phrase Idioms                         13

     2.3.2. Modification of Subject Oriented Adverbs                           14

2.4. Toward a Unified Cross-linguistic Analysis                           18

     2.4.1. Parallelisms between Ni  Direct Passives and Get Passives                 18

     2.4.2 The Nature of the Empty Category                               23

2.5. Proposal: Three Types of Japanese Passives                              29

     2.5.1. Ni Direct Passives                                        32

     2.5.2. Ni Indirect Passives                                   38

     2.5.3. Ni Yotte Passives                                         41

     2.5.4 Washio (1989-90)                                         45

2.6. Consequences                                           51

     2.6.1. The Nature of Ni Phrases: Adjunct-ni vs. Argument –ni               52

     2.6.2. Binding Domain: Passives vs. Causatives                           59

2.7. Conclusions                                             73

EXCORPORATION AND JAPANESE AS AN OVERT V-TO-I LANGUAGE              75

3.1. Introduction                                            75

3.2 Similarities between Ni Passives and Romance Causatives                      77

3.3. Complex Verb Hypothesis for Romance Causatives                           83

3.4. Proposal: an Excorporation Analysis for Romance Causatives                89

3.5. Benefactives: Japanese as an overt V-to-I Language                          98

3.6. Conclusions                                             113

LF THEATA MARKING: THE CASE OF LIGHT VERB CONSTRUCTIONS              115

4.1. Introduction                                            115

4.2. Argument Transfer                                             120

4.3. LF Incorporation                                          125

4.4. Consequences                                           135

     4.4.1 Temporal Constructions                                135

     4.4.2 VP Preposing                                       151

4.5 Conclusions                                                 160

Bibliography                                               162