A lexical interpretive theory with emphasis on the role of subject
This thesis purports, primarily, to introduce a lexical interpretive theory and to show that this theory accounts for the syntactic phenomena of two radically different language types, English and Japanese. The role of subject is important in uniformly analyzing various syntactic phenomena of these two languages. Language differences are attributed to how the subject argument is realized in the syntactic representation.It is aruged that the government-binding framework of the Extended Standard Theory cannot adequately account for the syntactic phenomena of the so-called free word order or nonconfigurational languages, Japanese being one of them. Past analyses of Japanese, on the other hand, are not general enough to offer an insight into the analysis of other languages. The Lexical Interpretive Theory presented here is equally valid for both language types, configurational and nonconfigurational. The most fundamental difference between these two language types is how grammatical functions are encoded in syntactic representations; either by syntactic configurations or by case or inflectional markers. Other superficial differences follow from this fundamental difference.Major syntactic phenomena in English and Japanese are accounted for essentially by the same operations. It is shown that the Equi and Raising construction is a sub-case of the predication construction, which thus generalizes two constructions. The characteristic of the predication construction is that it does not possess a syntactic subject. The missing subject is uniformly interpreted by the Subject Interpretation Rule. The Predicate Raising structure in Japanese is also subsumed under the predication construction. The essential role of Predicate Raising, which is to combine two verbs, is carried out by a morphological rule in the lexicon called Compound Verb Formation. Case arrays and the honorification phenomenon observed in the Predicate Raising structure is also accounted for by utilizing lexical operations.In past literature, it has been argued that bound anaphora in Japanese is qualitatively different from that in English. In this thesis, however, it is argued that both are of the same kind with respect to the obligatory context for bound anaphora. Languages differ in the optional context for the obligatory binding. Hence, the universal and language particular characteristics of bound anaphora are revealed and are incorporated in the Lexical Interpretive Theory.The passive construction is analyzed by a lexical rule. What this rule does is essentially erase the object function and the semantic role associated with the subject function of the active predicate. A universal convention connects the subject function with the semantic role which used to be associated with the object function. This operation, in effect, produces the same result of Move (alpha) without syntactic movements. Since this lexical rule of passive does not move constituents, the passive involving sentential complements, which is problematic to past analyses, is easily accounted for both in English and Japanese.Finally, Relative and Topic constructions in English and Japanese are analyzed. Previously, Japanese has been claimed to be a language which does not observe the Complex NP Constraint or Subjacency. This is true only when the subject is involved. It is argued that both Japanese and English obey the same constraints on the binding procedure. The difference between English and Japanese observed in the relative and topic constructions follows from the fundamental difference between two languages; namely English has a constituent subject, while Japanese does not.
- Linguistics