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Japanese phrase structure and parameter setting

Masanobu Ueda, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The goal of this dissertation is to examine the nature of Japanese phrase structure and the related parametric differences in syntax between English and Japanese. In chapter 1, I will present some basic concepts and principles of the framework of the principles and parameters theory within which the present study is conducted. In chapter 2, I will argue that Japanese clauses (S and S') are IPs and CPs, respectively, and that the "subject" of S is in the specifier position of IP, and is assigned nominative Case by Infl. I will then show that some of the observed syntactic differences between English and Japanese follow from the difference in the value of the directionality parameter of head-government and its interaction with other principles of UG. Chapter 3 is devoted to the examination of the internal structure of "noun phases" in Japanese. I will argue that noun phrases in Japanese are DPs, i.e., maximal projections of the functional category D. In chapter 4, I will propose an analysis of the so-called "major subjects" in Japanese. I will argue that major subjects originate in the specifier position of the "subject" DP, and raise to the specifier position of the higher empty Infl. I will show that the properties of major subjects follow from other independent properties of grammar in this analysis.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Ueda, Masanobu, "Japanese phrase structure and parameter setting" (1990). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9110225.