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Title: Clefts, relatives, and language dynamics : the case of Japanese
Author: Seraku, Tohru
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The goal of this thesis is to develop a grammar model of Japanese within the framework of Dynamic Syntax (Cann et al. 2005, Kempson et al. 2001), with special reference to constructions that involve the nominaliser no: clefts and certain kinds of relatives. The more general theoretical position which it aims to defend is that an account of these constructions in terms of ‘language dynamics’ is preferable to other ‘static’ approaches currently available. What is here meant by ‘language dynamics,’ in a nutshell, is the time-linear processing of a string and attendant growth of an interpretation. First, I shall motivate, and articulate, an integrated account of the two types of no- nominalisation. These two classes are uniformly modelled as an outcome of incremental semantic-tree growth. The analysis is corroborated by naturally-occurring data extracted from the Corpus of Spontaneous Japanese (CSJ). Moreover, novel data with regard to coordination are accounted for without losing uniformity. Second, the composite entry of no and the topic marker wa handles the two types of clefts uniformly. This account fits well with the CSJ findings. New data concerning case-marking of foci are explained in terms of whether an unfixed relation in a semantic tree is resolvable in incremental processing. The account also solves the island-puzzle without abandoning uniformity. As a further confirmation, the analysis is extendable to stripping/sluicing, making some novel predictions on case-marking patterns. Third, the entry of no characterises free relatives and change relatives in a unitary manner. Furthermore, the composite entry of no and a case particle predicts a vast range of properties of head-internal relatives, including new data (e.g., negation in the relative clause, locality restriction on the Relevancy Condition). In sum, the thesis presents a realistic, integrated, and empirically preferable model of Japanese. Some consequences stand out. The various new data reported are beneficial theory-neutrally. Formal aspects of Dynamic Syntax are advanced. The insights brought by a language dynamics account challenge the standard, static conception of grammar.
Supervisor: Kiaer, Jieun; Cram, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Linguistics ; cleft constructions ; relative clause constructions ; nominalisations ; Japanese ; dynamic syntax