Norvin Richards

in The Oxford Handbook of Japanese Linguistics

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780195307344
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology
  • Language Families


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This article addresses some approaches to the syntax of Japanese wh-in-situ, contrasting movement with nonmovement accounts. It begins by reviewing the distribution of island effects in Japanese and considering what each of these types of theories might have to say about them. The article then deals with other kinds of phenomena that might bear on the choice between the theories. A series of interesting recent papers on the phonology of wh-in-situ in Japanese is presented. In the movement approach, Japanese exhibits a type of pied-piping that is already known to exist and must be accounted for. In the nonmovement approach, the apparent wh-island effects are a result of general principles of semantic composition. The theory of Japanese could be simplified by pretending that the derivations do not exist, but this does nothing to simplify the overall theory.

Keywords: Japanese wh-in-situ; island effects; phonology; movement approach; nonmovement approach; pied-piping

Article.  9402 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology ; Language Families

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