The Lexical Integrity of Japanese Causatives

Abstract

Grammatical theory has long wrestled with the fact that causative constructions exhibit properties of both single words and complex phrases. However, as Paul Kiparsky has observed, the distribution of such properties of causatives is not arbitrary: ‘construal’ phenomena such as honorification, anaphor and pronominal binding, and quantifier ‘floating’ typically behave as they would if causatives were syntactically complex, embedding constructions; whereas case marking, agreement and word order phenomena all point to the analysis of causatives as single lexical items.1 Although an analysis of causatives in terms of complex syntactic structures has frequently been adopted in an attempt to simplify the mapping to semantic structure, we believe that motivating syntactic structure based on perceived semantics is questionable because in general a syntax/semantics homomorphism cannot be maintained without vitiating syntactic theory (Miller 1991). Instead, we sketch a strictly lexical theory of Japanese causatives that deals with the evidence offered for a complex phrasal analysis. Such an analysis makes the phonology, morphology and syntax parallel, while a mismatch occurs with the semantics. The conclusions we will reach are given in (1)

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