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23

Project log

Masatoshi Koizumi
added a research item
Linguistic expressions are composed of smaller units such as words and phrases. The single most important operation in narrow syntax is, therefore, Merge: Merge applies to two syntactic objects α and β, and forms a new object γ = {α, β}. The syntactic object γ must be given a label for it to be interpreted. Given that γ consists of two terms, α and β, which is chosen, α or β, to project itself to give the label for γ? The present study proposes that labels are uniformly determined by selectional requirements, that is, if α selects β, β must be immediately dominated by (a node labeled as) α, which may be called Labeling by Selection. Possible psycholinguistic experiments are also suggested for evaluating the Labeling by Selection approach.
Masatoshi Koizumi
added a research item
There are two major proposals regarding how to derive the VOS word order in the Mayan family. One is a right-specifier analysis, according to which specifiers of lexical categories are located to the right of the heads and the subject occupies a right-specifier. The other is a predicate fronting analysis, in which vP is preposed across the subject. Comparing two Mayan languages, Chol and Kaqchikel, this paper argues that Kaqchikel reaches VOS via a right-specifier route rather than a predicate fronting route, and suggests a possibility of extending the right-specifier analysis to Chol VOS sentences.* 1. Introduction Languages differ in the order in which the subject (S), the object (O) and the verb (V) are aligned. For example, in declarative sentences with a nominal subject and object, the unmarked or "basic" word order is SVO in English and SOV in Japanese, with the subject preceding the object. However, many Mayan languages exhibit the basic VOS word order with the subject following the object. There are two major proposals regarding how to derive the VOS order in the Mayan family. One is the right-specifier analysis by Aissen (1992), according to which specifiers of lexical categories are located to the right of the heads and the subject occupies a right-specifier. The other is the predicate fronting analysis by Coon (2010), in which vP is preposed across the subject. Comparing two Mayan languages, Chol and Kaqchikel, we argue that the right-specifier analysis is more suitable
Masatoshi Koizumi
added 2 research items
This article presents a study of sentences in which the object is marked with the nominative case-marker ga (the nominative object construction), and outlines major grammatical properties of the nominative-object construction in Japanese. It then describes how the case and scope properties of the nominative object can be explained within the broad framework of current generative grammar, and considers their theoretical implications. Two families of analyses have been proposed to account for the generalization: movement approaches and direct merge approaches. The most crucial difference between the movement approaches and direct merger approaches is that the former posits an object trace in the embedded VP but the latter does not. It is suggested that the nominative object, along with the nominative subject, moves to TP to satisfy the EPP requirement of T.
Japanese has functional elements with grammatical, semantic, or pragmatic functions. Case markers mark grammatical relations; the Q-particle clause-types the sentence as an interrogative; and the topic marker designates a phrase as the topic of the sentence. Along with these functions, we argue that these functional elements have a uniform function of assisting in the labeling of structures. There are two ways in which they do so. In one case, a functional element attaches to an item that cannot otherwise project to induce projection, an idea we base on Richards’s Contiguity Theory. In the other case, a functional element attaches to an item that is projectable but requires the projection to be blocked, allowing a sister item to project. The Q-particle is an example of a functional element that, when attached to an otherwise unprojectable C, induces the C to project. In contrast, case markers attach to XPS, which are inherently projectable, and block them from projecting, allowing the sister element to project, following Saito. The same goes for topic marking. Across languages, many functional elements have this role of assisting in the labeling of structures. The Q-particle in Japanese, which allows the C to project, is similar to agreement in Romance, in which the agreement morpheme on T induces the T to project without the need to move an element to the specifier. Case marking, which blocks projection of a XP, is similar to augment vowels in Bantu, and it is no accident that these vowels have a case-like distribution. Finally, we speculate on how case marking and movement, both functioning to allow the sister node to project, have common properties of blocking projection.