Despite the endeavor in formal syntax and morphology to distinguish between grammatical and ungrammatical expressions by precise structural constraints, curious phenomena have been occasionally reported where expressions that violate such formal constraints are nonetheless accepted as grammatical, rather than being rejected altogether. Such peculiar cases are customarily regarded as unexplainable exceptions or given vague treatments in pragmatics or functionalism. This paper takes up a variety of such peculiar phenomena in various languages ranging from compounding to passives and reflexives to case marking, and discovers that they all share the semantic function of “property predication” (also called individual-level predication), which expresses a more-or-less permanent and stable characteristic of a nominal entity, instead of “event predication” (also known as stage-level predication), which describes the unfolding of an event or state according to the development of time. It is further observed that compared with their event predication counterparts, such exceptional sentences of property predication suffer decrease in transitivity, as manifested by intransitivization, impersonalization, and non-passivizability. This correlation between the semantic function of property predication and the syntactically degraded transitivity, it is proposed, is captured by the formal mechanism of Event argument suppression, which shifts event predication to property predication and at the same time lowers the transitivity by breaking up the hierarchical relations in argument structure.
This paper reviews evidence from recent research on Japanese sentence prosody, in particular Kawahara and Shinya (2008) on coordinated clauses and Kubo (1989) et seq, Deguchi and Kitagawa (2002) et seq, Ishihara (2002) et seq and Hirotani (2003) et seq on matrix and embedded wh-questions, which suggests that syntactic clauses correspond to a domain for certain of the phonological and phonetic phenomena that define the intonational patterns of Japanese sentences. The finding that there is a clause-grounded intonational phrase domain of phonological representation in Japanese is predicted by a universal theory of the prosodic hierarchy as grounded in a universal theory of the syntax-phonology interface (Selkirk 2005). This paper lays out a new universal Match theory of the syntax-prosodic constituency interface, according to which designated syntactic constituent types are called on to match up with corresponding prosodic constituent types. Match theory may be construed as a component of the theory of Spell-Out in minimalist phase theory (Chomsky 2001). The data also shows that recursive intonational phrase structure is produced when the universal Match Clause constraint is satisfied on nested clausal domains. This is expected if indeed the availability of recursive prosodic structure derives from the organization of syntactic structure, through the agency of constraints on the syntax-phonology interface. This theory that prosodic constituent structure above the foot is syntactically grounded thus meshes well with the Itô and Mester (2007) claim that the prosodic hierarchy repertoire is universal and highly restricted and that recursivity in prosodic structure is systematic.
Holmberg and Hróarsdóttir (2003) present facts about conditions on raising in Icelandic which led Hiraiwa (2005) and Chomsky (2005) to posit a new version of the cycle. The relevant Icelandic facts involve a raising construction which is blocked by an intervening experiencer, unless the experiencer undergoes wh-movement; the puzzle had to do with how wh-movement could improve the status of a raising operation, given that raising would have to precede wh-movement in the derivation on standard approaches to the cycle. I consider data from Kinande, a Bantu language of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which are formally similar to the Icelandic data discussed by Holmberg and Hróarsdóttir. We will see evidence that the Kinande data should not be accounted for in terms of locality at all; rather, they are instances of Distinctness, a ban on structurally adjacent nodes with the same label (Richards 2001, to appear). If this account can be generalized to Icelandic, then our approach to the cycle can be simplified.
This paper explores some syntactic properties of the CP zone with special attention to various types of adverbial clauses in English within the framework of the cartography of syntactic structures, initiated by Luigi Rizzi and Guglielmo Cinque (cf. Cinque 1999; Rizzi 1997, 2004). A refinement of Haegeman’s (2004) analysis of adverbial clauses is proposed, where those mood related elements that involve the speaker and the addressee should be licensed by different functional heads. It is also shown that some traditional descriptive Japanese grammarians’ insight into the degree of subordination sheds some new light on the nature of English adverbial clauses in English.
This paper argues that toritate particles mo and wa are licensed as focus by Agree with F(ocus). Since movement is not required for focus licensing, either particle can remain in its merged position. Several researches, however, have claimed that either mo or wa should undergo obligatory focus movement. Pointing out problems with their observations, I claim that obligatory movement takes place when Agree with F is otherwise blocked by an intervener. I assume that mo bears a [positive], and wa bears a [negative] polarity feature, and that Agree between F and mo/wa is blocked by an intervening polarity operator of the opposite value. It explains why mo has to move in a negative sentence, and wa in a positive sentence.
The assumption of polarity features also explains scope interaction between toritate particles and negation (nai). Unlike previous analyses, I suggest that a focus phrase, which constitutes the final assertion of the sentence, should take the widest scope. It is therefore expected that either mo or wa takes scope over nai. The prediction apparently does not hold for wa, but the problem disappears once we take wa’s [negative] feature into consideration. What seems to be the denotation of nai is actually a realization of wa’s negative polarity meaning. Nai is contained in the assumption of the sentence, which means that wa as well as mo takes scope over nai.
The suggested analysis also explains why the above properties of mo/wa are absent in some subordinate clauses. Those properties are assigned to a focus, but mo/wa is not licensed as focus when it fails to Agree with F.
This paper will clarify how Tutuba speakers differentiate the use of three motion verbs: sae “go up”, sivo “go down”, vano “go across”. Tutuba language is one of the vernaculars of the Republic of Vanuatu and is now spoken by approximately 500 people. After introducing these motion verbs in detail, I examine how their use is affected by location (e.g. on Tutuba island, on Santo island, and moving between the islands). Additionally, the usage of these verbs in non-physical situations (e.g. in reference to psychological states and historical reasons) is discussed. Finally, the connections of these three motion verbs in these categories are clarified.
This paper claims that it is necessary to distinguish obstruent nasals from sonorant nasals in the phonology of Okinawan and Japanese; the former are underlyingly specified with [+nasal, −continuant] and the latter with [+nasal] only. Just as in the adjustment of C/h/ to pp in the two genetically related languages, it is necessary that the feature specification of an obstruent nasal should be adjusted by a phonotactic constraint on consonant clusters and acquire [+voice] when followed by a consonant with [+voice]. In Okinawan, there is a sharp contrast between obstruent nasals (/n/, /m/) and sonorant nasals (/n/, /m/) when they occur before suffix-initial /t/; the former trigger voicing assimilation and undergo some other rules, but the latter do not. In Japanese, recognizing obstruent nasals, /m/ and /n/, makes more natural the voicing change of suffix-initial /t/ to d after stem-final /m/ and /b/ in /yom+ta/ ‘read’ and /yob+ta/ ‘called’ and a subsequent change of both m and b to n before suffix-initial d, because these changes take place between the same type of segment, i.e., (voiced) non-continuants. In the proposed analysis of Japanese, whether the suffix-initial consonant undergoes voicing or deletion in post-consonantal position depends on the value of continuancy, [±continuant].