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Interpreting Japanese Head-Internal Relative Clauses
Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine and Isaac Gould
160-169 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper proposes a new kind of semantic analysis for Japanese head-internal relative clauses (HIRCs), based on new empirical observations concerning the interpretation of HIRCs with quantificational heads. The analysis involves abstraction over the domain of the HIRC's head quantifier via null operator movement. The entire HIRC is then interpreted as a definite description, using a maximal informativeness semantics for definiteness (von Fintel, Fox, and Iatridou 2012) and an assumption about the role of context in the interpretation of referential expressions. This analysis accounts for the new data, the island sensitivity of HIRCs, and the fact that quantificational heads take scope within the HIRC. Finally, previous analyses for the semantics of Japanese HIRC are discussed in relation to the new data presented.

Published in

Proceedings of the 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Robert E. Santana-LaBarge
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00