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Abstract

This article reexamines the syntax of Japanese Right Dislocation Constructions (RDCs) relative to their prosodic structures and explores their clausal nature. In the literature on Japanese RDCs, two major issues have been addressed: a mono-versus a bi-clausal structure and movement versus base-generation in terms of postverbal elements along with the identification of preverbal null elements. However, the prosodic structures of the constructions remain unexplored. The present article shows that the same surface string of an RDC may possibly have different prosodic structures and bear corresponding interpretations. This remarkable fact poses a challenge to a uniform analysis of the constructions. The article argues that Japanese RDCs are divided into mono- and bi-clausal types. While defending a mono-clausal analysis with movement for some RDCs, the present article proposes additional bi-clausal analyses besides the most prevailing analysis of other RDCs. The evidence suggests that Japanese RDCs make use of different linguistic strategies.

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Abstract

Saito, Mamoru. 2007. Notes on East Asian argument ellipsis. Language Research 43. 203–227 argues that argument ellipsis (AE) is available only in languages that lack phi-feature agreement. Accordingly, Japanese, but not English, permits AE. Under Saito’s theoretical framework, this paper compares experimental data from L1 Japanese learners of L2 English (J-EFL) and L1 English learners of L2 Japanese (E-JFL). Given that sloppy and quantificational reading arises from an ellipsis operation (Hankamer, Jorge & Sag, Ivan. 1976. Deep and surface anaphora. Linguistic Inquiry 7. 391–426, Takahashi, Daiko. 2008. Noun phrase ellipsis. In Miyagawa, Shigeru & Saito, Mamoru (eds.), The Oxford handbook of Japanese linguistics, 394–422. Oxford: Oxford University Press, among others), we hypothesize that J-EFL learners, but not E-JFL learners, allow the reading in point with null arguments: AE is available only in the grammar of J-EFL learners, forced by the lack of phi-features in their L2 English grammar, due to L1 transfer. The results from our main study adopting a truth value judgement task supported the hypothesis. Based on our finding, we suggest that correct L2 phi-feature specification can ultimately be obtained when no phi-features are present in L1 (Ishino, Nao. 2012. Feature transfer and feature learning in universal grammar: A comparative study of the syntactic mechanism for second language acquisition. Doctoral dissertation: Kwansei Gakuin University, Miyamoto, Yoichi. 2012. Dainigengo-ni okeru hikenzaiteki-na yōso-ni kansuru Ichikōsatsu [A study on null elements in second language acquisition]. Paper presented at the 84th ELSJ annual general meeting: Senshu University, 26 May).