Quantification and wh-Constructions

by Taisuke Nishigauchi

A chapter for Natsuko Tsujimura (ed.):
A Handbook of Japanese Linguistics,
to be published by Blackwell Publishers, 1997.

This chapter attempts to provide an overview of linguistic phenomena in Japanese involving quantification and wh-constructions, and various theoretical approaches to these phenomena. Since wh-phrases and constructions involving them play major roles in this and related areas, this chapter will focus on the behavior of wh-phrases and wh-constructions and a variety of theoretical attempts to characterize them.

The first half of this chapter, viz. Sections 1-4, will be focused on such syntactic notions as locality restrictions, especially Subjacency and two major effects which are supposed to be subsumed under it, and as we go along, our focus will be on such semantic areas as quantificational variability (Section 5), the functional interpretation (Sections 6-7), and so on. As the discussion proceeds, however, we will see that some notions which are apparently motivated in syntax play vital roles in what we consider to be semantic phenomena. We will further observe that some notions which have hitherto been considered to be semantic in nature prove to be crucially important in phenomena which have been thought to be purely syntactic. This is a large-scale shift of focus rapidly gaining force in the principles and parameters approach in the areas related to Logical Form (LF). What follows is a case study from Japanese.

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