A Theory of Category Projection and Its Applications

N. Fukui, 1986

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This thesis proposes a new system of category projection where Lexical categories and Nonlexical (or “Functional”) categories project in different ways, which is crucially different from the standard vews in which all categories project in the same fashion.

In Chapter 1, I introduce some of the basic notions of Government-Binding Theory within which all of the discussion in this thesis takes place.  The aim of Chapter 2 is to show the fundamental difference between Lexical categories and Functional categories.  That is, Lexical categories have Lexical Conceptual Structures (LCS) in the sense of Hale and Keyser (1985), whereas Functional categories do not have Lexical Conceptual Structures comparable to the ones Lexical categories have, and the latter type of categories only have the function of “connecting” two syntactic units via some sort of “binding” (and/or “c-selection”) and “agreement.”  Based on this fundamental difference, a new projection system is introduced, in which Lexical categories project up to a single-bar level, allowing free recursion at that level, while Functional categories can project up to a double-bar level, taking a unique specifier and a unique complement.

Chapter 3 explores various consequences of the projection system introduced in Chapter 2.  One important consequence is that the proposed projection system, combined with a “bottom-up” q–marking mechanism, predicts that the so-called “external argument” appears within the projection of a Lexical head at D-structure, receiving the external q–role in that position, and then moves outside the Lexical projection to its S-structure position, for Case reasons.  This move makes possible the explicit syntactic representation of what has been called the “implicit argument” both in noun phrases and in clauses (in the case of passives).

In Chapter 4, I proceed to focus on Japanese and propose a new phrase structural configuration for this language in the light of the projection system introduced in Chapter 2.  It is argues that Japanese lacks the Functional categories DET and COMP, and has a very defective INFL which contains no agreement features.  From this, it immediately follows that Japanese has no specifiers, which close off the category projection.  I argue there that this is indeed the case, i.e., Japanese has no specifiers and every phrase in this language is always “open.”  Other consequences of my proposal, including the derivability of the lack of overt wh-movment in Japanese, are also discussed in this chapter.

Thesis Supervisor:         Kenneth Hale

Title:     Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Linguistics

Table of Contents

Chapter 1         Introduction                                                                                          11

            1.1       Basic Notions                                                                                       12

            1.2       Outline of the thesis                                                                               21

Notes to Chapter 1                                                                                                       25

Chapter 2         Projection Types:  Lexical vs. Functional Categories                  26

            2.1       Introductory remarks                                                                            27

            2.2       The structure of IP and DP                                                                   50

            2.3       Function features                                                                                  53

            2.4       The saturation principle                                                             56

            2.5       Deriving the surface order                                                                     60

            2.6       On the specifier position                                                                        65

Notes to Chapter 2                                                                                                       86

Chapter 3         Consequences of the Projection System                                                95

            3.1       The simplification of q-marking                                                  96

            3.2       The position of PRO                                                                             113

            3.3       The notion of maximal projectin and the status of the X-bar                  

schema                                                                                                 162

Notes to Chapter 3                                                                                                       169

Chapter 4         The Phrase Structure of Japanese                                                          182

            4.1       Facts to be accounted for                                                                     185

                        4.1.1    Evidence for the “VP” node                                                      185

                           Evidence from the Binding Theory                                 185

                           Evidence from crossover                                               188

                           Evidence from the distribution of PROarb                        193

                        4.1.2    Evidence against the “VP” node                                                195

                           Evidence from VP movement rules                                195

                           Evidence from the distribution of adverbial

elements                                                                       196

                           Evidence from empty pronominals                                 199

            4.2       Japanese as a SPECless language                                                         201

                        4.2.1    Functional categories in Japanese                                              202

                           D                                                                                 202

                           I                                                                                   207

                           C                                                                                 217

                        4.2.2    “Specifiers” in Japanese                                                            228

                           Noun phrases                                                               230

                           Sentences                                                                     236

                        4.2.3    Summary                                                                                  243

            4.3       The phrase structure of Japanese                                                           244

                        4.3.1    The phrase structure of Japanese: a proposal                             244

                        4.3.2    Facts recapitulated                                                                    248

                           Evidence for the “VP” node                                          248

                           VP movement                                                               250

                           The distribution of adverbial elements                253

                           Empty pronominals                                                       257

            4.4       Some consequences                                                                             261

Notes to Chapter 4                                                                                                       270