Wh-constructions In Japanese And French - Linguistics - Research Paper

1152 words - 5 pages

Wh-constructions in Japanese
Japanese is one of the languages that exemplifies wh in-situ:
(1) Hanako-ga kinoo [dare-to] [susi-o] tukurimasita ka?
Hanako-NOM yesterday who- with sushi-ACC made QU
‘Who did Hanako make sushi with_yesterday?’
(2) Hanako-ga kinoo [tomodati-to] [nani-o] tukurimasita ka?
Hanako-NOM yesterday friend-with what-ACC made QU
‘What did Hanako make_with her friends yesterday?’
(Tallerman 2011: 248)
The wh-words dare-to ‘who with’ and nani-o ‘what’ do not move, they stay in-situ. The subjects in both examples are in the sentence-initial position. There is a question marker ka at the end of the sentence, and it is said to be ambiguous, it can either be a complementizer as English whether or Wh-phrase scope marker (Takahashi, 1993: 657). The question in the second example have the same structure with Chechen, however in the first example, the wh-word in Japanese precedes the direct object susi ‘sushi’, while in Chechen this order in ungrammatical, the wh-word has to follow the direct object, the following examples illustrate both cases:
(3) *Hanakos selkhana hantsa sushi yira?
Hanako-ERG yesterday who-with sushi-NOM make-PAST
‘Who did Hanako make shushi with_yesterday?’
(4) Hanakos selkhana sushi hantsa yira?
Another similarity with Chechen is that verbs are always found in the clause-final position.
These are simple questions, for the complex sentences the wh-word also stays in-situ:
(5) [CP[IPMadinas [VPh1un alla [IP[VPbakhara Luizas ?]]]]
Madina-ERG what say-PAST say-PAST Luiza-ERG
What did Madina say that Luiza told?
(6) [IPKarinas [CP [IP[VPas h1un alla] [VPbakhara?]]]]
Karina-ERG I-ERG what say-PAST say-PAST
What did Karina say that I said?
As opposed to the simple questions the wh-word in the complex sentences cannot be in the sentence-initial position. There is no complementizer in Chechen, which would correspond to English ‘that’. The subordinate clause is normally embedded into the matrix clause or precedes it. The DP in the subordinate clause appears in the sentence-initial position. The subject of the main clause appears in the clause-final position and the sentence is ungrammatical if it stays in-situ preceding the verb, as it is normally the case.
Is there any movement in wh-in-situ languages? Constraints in wh-questions in Chechen and Japanese
The languages that have wh-movement obey certain constraints, which restrict the movement, such as Subjacency Principle. The question that arises with regard to the languages with wh-in-situ is whether there is any movement of wh-phrases and what kind of constraints obey the languages which exhibit wh-in-situ. The discussion will be based on the theoretical facts from Japanese, and compared to Chechen in order to make more correct predictions.
Japanese is known as a language which allows scrambling. Takahashi (1993) argues that although it is the language with wh-in-situ, some cases of scrambling can be considered as wh-movement. He distinguishes between local ...

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