Some Asymmetries in Japanese and Their Theoretical Implications

M. Saito, 1985

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This thesis argues for scrambling in Japanese as an instance of S-structure Move-alpha, and examines its properties.  More specifically, I argue that scrambling is an S-structure adjunction operation.  It is shown that given this hypothesis, the properties of scrambling can for the most part be deduced from the interactions of the basic language-particular properties of Japanese and the principles of Universal Grammar.  Thus, the discussion in this thesis supports not only this hypothesis on scrambling but also the general principles that are crucially assumed to derive the properties of scrambling.

Chapter 2 presents evidence for the configurational analysis of Japanese, and hence for an analysis of the "free word-order" facts in this language in terms of scrambling.  In addition to those facts that clearly support the configurational analysis, I discuss some phenomena that seem problematic to this analysis and argue that they are expected under the hypothesis that scrambling is an S-structure adjunction operation.

Chapter 3 examines further properties of scrambling.  I first argue that the relative restrictedness of "long-distance" scrambling should be accounted for on independent grounds, and hence, contrary to the recent proposals in the literature, there are no reasons to treat it separately from clause-internal scrambling.  Secondly, I show that the non-scramblability of subject NPs follows straightforwardly from the nature of nominative Case markking in Japanese.  Finally, I speculate on the proper characterization of scrambling itself.  It is suggested that any node is a possible adjunction site for scrambling, and that successive-cyclic scrambling is possible.

Chapter 4 discusses the implications of our findings on scrambling for some traditional problems in Japanese grammar.  The first problem has to do with the fact that scrambling, but not topicalization, is subject to Subjacency in Japanese.  It is shown that this contrast between scrambling and topicalization is expected, given that Japanese is a PRO-drop language and that scrambling is a regular adjunction operation.  The second problem has to do with the derivation of the topic construction in Japanese.  I argue that contrary to the common belief, the topic construction can be derived by movement, and further, that the movement operation involved here is a subcase of scrambling.

Thesis supervisor:         Noam Chomsky

Title:                             Institute Professor

Table of Contents

Chapter 1         Introduction                                                                                          10

Chapter 2         On the Problem of Configurationality                                         20

            2.1       The non-configurationality hypothesis for Japanese                                23

                        2.1.1    Free word-order and the lack of VP                                         23

                        2.1.2    Dual syntactic representations                                       29

            2.2       Arguments for a scrambling rule                                                            34

                        2.2.1    Scrambling as an instance of move-alpha                                   36

                           Pronominal coreference                                                36

                           Crossover                                                                    47

                           Quantifier floating                                                          51

                        2.2.2    Implications for the models of core grammar                              54

            2.3       Some related issues                                                                              79

                        2.3.1    Weak crossover effects with scrambling                                    81

                           An apparent problem for the configurational

                                                analysis                                                             81

                           An argument for the configurational analysis                   97

                        2.3.2    Scrambling and the resumptive pronouns                                   114

                        2.3.3    The projection principle in non-configurational languages            122

            2.4       Conclusion                                                                                           137

Chapter 3         "Long-distance" Scrambling                                                                  156

            3.1       General remarks                                                                                   160

                        3.1.1    Is scrambling clause-bound?                                                     161

                        3.1.2    "Counter-examples" to Herada"s analysis                                  165

                           "Rightward scrambling"                                     166

                           Other "counter-examples"                                             171

            3.2       Scrambling of the subject                                                                      186

                        3.2.1    Some descriptive problems                                                       186

                        3.2.2    Case marking and scrambling                                                    195

                           Subject-object asymmetries in case assignment  196

                           The non-scramblability of the subject                             210

            3.3       Some speculations on the nature of scrambling                           223

                        3.3.1    On the characterization of scrambling                            224

                           Adjunction sites                                                            224

                           The non-scramblability of VP                                        235

                        3.3.2    Scrambling and subjacency                                                       244

            3.4       Conclusion                                                                                           257

Chapter 4         Topicalization and Scrambling                                                   276

            4.1       The topic construction in Japanese                                                        281

                        4.1.1    Kuno"s analysis                                                                        281

                        4.1.2    Topic construction and empty pronominals                                288

                        4.1.3    Variable binding and the subjacency condition               295

                           The condition against free variables                               295

                           Some differences between topicalization and

                                                scrambling                                                                    306

                           Operator binding and resumptive pronouns                    314

            4.2       Topicalization as a subcase of scrambling                                              325

                        4.2.1    Kuroda"s movement analysis                                                     326

                        4.2.2    PP-topicalization                                                                       329

            4.3       Conclusion                                                                                           339