In this article, I first point out that Generative Grammar addresses the problem of “explaining” the diversity of human languages, by, somewhat ironically, proposing the concept of UG (Universal Grammar), a common cognitive capacity of homo sapiens. Theoretical explanations require a minimum set of theoretical postulates, and from them, try to derive (in the best cases, deductively) as many empirical phenomena as possible. I argue that the two early attempts at the comparative syntax of English and Japanese – Fukui (1986, et seqq.) and Kuroda (1988) – actually tried to propose theoretical explanations in this sense, rather than simply claiming, as widely – and mistakenly – assumed in the literature, that certain features (φ-features) are absent in Japanese. These authors tried to show that there are certain important “clustering effects” that ought to be derived from a single parameter, if the theory of UG is properly modified. I argue that the proper status of these two approaches vis-à-vis a huge amount of comparative work that followed them in the generative framework can be appropriately established under this interpretation. I also suggest that recent attempts at deriving clustering effects in various ways can in fact be shown to be rooted in earlier approaches in the 1980s, including the two proposals just mentioned. Exploration into the nature of “clustering effects/patterns” observed in the work of Fukui/Kuroda are likely to unveil the very nature of the “parameter” concept in general linguistic theory.
In the Hichiku dialect of Japanese, subjects can be marked with no as well as ga irrespective of whether they appear in matrix clauses or embedded clauses. Previous studies have claimed that no-marked subjects, unlike ga-marked subjects, stay in vP without undergoing Subject Raising (A-movement). Contrary to previous studies, this paper argues that no-marked subjects are raised to AspP, which is the projection sandwiched between NegP and vP. To make this point, it is first shown, drawing data from indeterminate pronoun binding and saa-exclamation, that no-marked subjects occupy a structural position lower than ga-marked subjects. Then, it is argued, on the basis of vP-clefting, that no-marked subjects are displaced from a vP-internal subject position and occur in a higher structural position than vP. Overall, the data suggest that no-marked subjects undergo A-movement to Spec-AspP from within vP, while ga-marked subjects are raised to Spec-TP.
This paper discusses the accentual pitch patterns of past and non-past forms of accented verbs in the Yokote dialect spoken in Akita Prefecture. In past forms of this dialect, the accent of accented verbs falls on antepenultimate, penultimate, or ultimate morae, depending on the phonological characteristics of the verb stem (e.g., /oto’si-ta/ ‘dropped’; /tabe’-ta/ ‘ate’; /mi-ta’/ ‘saw’). Conversely, accent always falls on penultimate mora in non-past forms (e.g., /oto’s-u/ ‘drop’; /tabe’-ru/ ‘eat’; /mi’-ru/ ‘see’).
This paper proposes phonological rules based on iambic feet to account for these accentual pitch patterns. Furthermore, this paper suggests that the posited rules can also account for the accentual pitch patterns of many other verb conjugations and adjectives.
This paper argues that it is possible to use the Japanese so- series demonstratives in a way that differs from the generally accepted deictic and anaphoric uses. We refer to this as the “criterion-referring” use. Although this usage has previously been treated as an exception in the literature, this paper shows that it has existed in Japanese since antiquity. The “criterion-referring” use allows a speaker to evaluate an object or action by comparing it to an unstated criterion (information in mind). We refer to Tsutsumi’s (2002, 2012) work to show that so- demonstratives can be interpreted as variables and to explain some common features of the “criterion-referring” use.
NC (nasal-consonant) sequences have been found to exhibit various phonological configurations in the world’s languages in terms of separability, syllabification, and segmenthood. In Southeast Asian languages, especially characteristic are word-initial NCs, which have been described under different NC types. Previous studies on word-initial NCs in the region have often suffered from a lack of diagnostics and/or explicit references to evidence in determining the phonological status of word-initial NCs. This study explores the phonological configuration of word-initial NCs in Jinghpaw, a Sino-Tibetan language of Myanmar and adjacent areas. This study shows that word-initial NCs in the language are heterosyllabic clusters based on about a dozen pieces of phonological and non-phonological phenomena that work together to characterize word-initial NCs as heterosyllabic clusters: speaker intuitions, sonority sequencing, voicing difference, tone assignment, morphological structure, monosyllable-targeting prefix, copying in partial reduplication, shorter first rule in co-compounds, insertion-type language game, numeric control in versification, and text-to-tune alignment in music. Arguments discussed for Jinghpaw, a language with a clear-cut case of heterosyllabic NC clusters, may be used as a reference when studying NC sequences in other languages that may exhibit different configurational types.
Cantonese substitutes a base tone with either a high-level or high-rising tone in certain derived environments, a kind of process morphology dubbed pinjam (變音) “changed tone”. We develop a comprehensive analysis of Cantonese pinjam morphology that predicts this tonal change as the realization of a tonal affix that is shaped by both language particular patterns and universal constraints. The predictions of this core analysis are then used to explore a range of morphological and syntactic constructions that also have a pinjam, but have not been fully analyzed in prior research. This investigation also makes an empirical contribution by showing how the core analysis can extend naturally to many under-studied constructions, as well as documenting some of the limits of this analysis.