Eliminating Scrambling from Japanese via Neo-Davidsonian Event Semantics
Koji Shimamura, Hideharu Tanaka
February 2023

This paper reconsiders the nature of scrambling in Japanese in terms of neo-Davidsonian event semantics, contending that there is no need for postulating it as an independent movement operation. Recently, Lohndal (2014) has proposed that the verbal structure is not only semantically but also syntactically neo-Davidsonian, whereby both Agent and Theme arguments are severed from their verbs. Building on this idea, we claim that verbs in Japanese do not introduce their arguments, either. However, departing from Lohndal’s idea, we propose with Nomura (2016) that case particles (K) denote thematic functions from an individual to an event predicate, and that their projections (KP) are semantically combined with the verbal spine via Predicate Conjunction in the sense of Pietroski (2005). With this new perspective on the verbal syntax and semantics in Japanese, we argue that Clause-internal scrambling can be derived via base-generation or topicalization, while Long-distance scrambling must be a case of topicalization. This reductionist proposal brings us a couple of empirical and theoretical consequences for the Japanese grammar that we would not otherwise obtain.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007152
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Proceedings of WAFL 16 (to appear)
keywords: scrambling, japanese, neo-davidsonian event semantics, argument structure, predicate conjunction, semantics, syntax
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