The syntax of Japanese nominal projections and some cross-linguistic implications
The purpose of this thesis is to examine the syntax of Japanese noun phrases and their interpretations from the cross-linguistic point of view. It has been argued that argument noun phrases contain functional heads such as D, Num(ber), and Q(uantifier) as well as a lexical projection, NP (Abney 1987; Ritter 1991, 1992, Giusti 1991, etc.) across languages. This thesis shows that argument noun phrases in Japanese can also contain heads corresponding to D, Num and Q, and that the variety of their interpretations can be explained in terms of the positions of those heads and their semantic interaction with each other. Chapter 1 outlines the theoretical background of the syntax of noun phrases and provides a review of the literature concerning Japanese noun phrases. Chapter 2 focuses on the distribution of numeral classifiers (NC) and quantifiers (Q) that can appear within noun phrases in Japanese. I propose that NC and Q can head projections, NCP and QP, and can appear either DP-internally or -externally. Chapter 3 focuses on NCs and Qs with a partitive interpretation. I argue that a partitive interpretation is obtained as the head NC or Q assigns a theta-role to its complement DP within partitive constructions. English partitive and pseudo-partitive constructions and Finnish partitives are also discussed. Chapter 4 discusses ablative partitives in Turkish and another type of partitive constructions in Japanese called the "nominal partitive constructions". I argue that a sequence of an ablative partitive and an NC in Turkish and a nominal partitive construction in Japanese are both DPs, where D takes a partitive construction, namely an NCP as its complement, giving rise to a partitive interpretation. In Chapter 5,1 demonstrate that Japanese "bare" arguments have layered structures proposed in Chapter 2, containing empty heads, i.e., D and/or NC. Four possible interpretations of bare arguments are discussed. Chapter 6 concerns predicate nominals in copular constructions. It is shown that predicate nominals in Japanese are just NPs, lacking D and NC, whereas predicate nominals in Romance and Germanic may be NPs, NumPs or DPs.