Embedded negative polar questions in Japanese: Explaining the puzzling distribution of embedded noncanonical negation via the speech act embedding complementizer 'to'
Daniel Goodhue, Junko Shimoyama
September 2023

When embedded under 'ka to', Japanese negation 'nai' does not have to contribute its usual truth reversing meaning, that is, it is expletive. We argue that this behavior is predicted if this embedded negation is part of a positively biased negative polar question. To produce an analysis, a better understanding of the complementizer 'to' is needed. We catalogue several of its unique properties, and conclude that it embeds speech acts. Our analysis builds on previous work (as well as traditional Japanese grammar) that analyzes 'to' as a quotative marker. We offer an analysis of the syntax and semantics of 'to'-clause embedding that makes progress relative to prior work, and that unifies the analysis of 'to'-clauses that are selected by the matrix predicate with those that are not.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/006121
(please use that when you cite this article)
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keywords: expletive negation, biased questions, negative polar questions, speech act embedding, quotative marker, complementizer
previous versions: v2 [May 2022]
v1 [August 2021]
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