Wh-questions in Japanese: scrambling, reconstruction, and wh-movement

  • In this article, I discuss some important properties of wh-questions and wh-scrambling in Japanese. The questions I will address are (i) which instances of (wh-) scrambling involve reconstruction and (ii) how the undoing effects of scrambling can be derived. First I will discuss the claim that (wh-) scrambling is semantically vacuous and is therefore undone at LF (Saito 1989, 1992). Then I consider the data that led Takahashi (1993) to the conclusion that at least some instances of wh-scrambling have to be analyzed as instances of "full wh-movement" i.e., overt movement of the wh-phrase in its scopal position. It will be argued that these examples are not instances of full wh-movement in Japanese, but that they also represent semantically vacuous scrambling. Those instances of scrambling that apprently cannot be undone are best explained with recourse to parsing effects. I conclude that wh-scrambling in Japanese is always triggered by a ([-wh]-) scrambling feature. In addition, long distance scrambling (scrambling out of finite CPs) is analyzed as adjunction movement, whereas short distance scrambling is movement to a specifier position of IP. Turning to the mechanisms of undoing, I will argue that only long distance scrambling is undone. This is shown to follow from Chomsky's (1995) bare phrase structure analysis, according to which multi-segmental categories derived by adjunction movement are not licensed at LF. The article is organized as follows. In section 2, the wh-scrambling phenomenon is described. In section 3, I discuss the reconstruction properties of scrambling. In addition, this section provides some basic assumptions about my analysis of Japanese scrambling in general. In section 4, I turn to the analysis of wh-scrambling as an instance of full wh-movement in Japanese. Section 5 provides discussion of multiple wh-questions in Japanese, and section 6 gives the conclusion.

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Author:Joachim Sabel
Parent Title (German):Linguistic Analysis, 31.2001, 1-2, S. 1-31
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2002
Year of first Publication:2002
Publishing Institution:Universit├Ątsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2006/03/14
First Page:1
Last Page:31
Source:Linguistic Analysis 31 (1-2) 2001
Institutes:Neuere Philologien / Neuere Philologien
Dewey Decimal Classification:4 Sprache / 49 Andere Sprachen / 490 Andere Sprachen
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht