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What Does a Verb-Sensitive Approach to Japanese Ditransitive Constructions Tell Us?
Tomoko Ishizuka
198-208 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Inspired by Rappaport Hovav & Levin's (2008) and Hallman's (2015) verb-sensitive approach to the English double object alternation, this paper revisits the ditransitive construction in Japanese from a verb-sensitive perspective. I first show, on the basis of the distribution of tokoro 'place' phrases, that the widely-held assumption that Japanese locative goals do not show sensitivity to animacy (e.g., Kishimoto 2001, Miyagawa & Tsujioka 2004) is incorrect, and Prof. Yamada, for example, cannot be construed as the locative goal (i.e., Prof. Yamada-*(no-tokoro)-ni itta. '(I) went to Prof. Yamada*('s place).') The pattern with the tokoro-phrase leads to a three-way distinction of ditransitive verbs (in accordance with Levin 2010): those licensing i) possessors and locations, ii) only possessors, and iii) only locations. This calls for reinterpreting critical data previously discussed in the literature: for example, incompatibility with tokoro-phrases shows that ageru 'give' type verbs do not select the locative goal, thus the word order permutation must involve scrambling (contra Miyagawa & Tsuioka 2004). Then using binding of PRO in the tameni purpose clause, I show that the possessor is generated in the position that c-commands the theme (and the purpose clause modifying it), while the location is not.

Published in

Proceedings of the 36th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Richard Stockwell, Maura O'Leary, Zhongshi Xu, and Z.L. Zhou
Table of contents
Printed edition: $395.00