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Title: Polysemy and homonymy in Japanese verbal alternations
Author: Nightingale, Stephen
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis investigates the degree to which Japanese verbal alternations can be related synchronically. In particular, it investigates the possibility of providing a polysemous analysis of the verbs which appear in simplex and conjunct forms using the conjunctive te form. The data which are investigated include those verbs which participate as second conjunct in a syntactic construction which has been labelled by Hasegawa (1995) as Nuclear Conjunction. The verbs taking second conjunct position which are analysed include miru (see), morau (receive), ageru (give), iru (animate be) and aru (inanimate be). In the conjunct construction, the first conjunct takes the affix te and no arguments can intervene between the two verbs. Furthermore the Vendler-Dowty (Dowty (1979)) aspectual class of the first conjunct verb is restricted, and there is variation in the number of arguments that can be realised, depending on the properties of the second conjunct. The analysis is developed using Head Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG) (Pollard and Sag (1994) and Pustejovsky's (1995) Generative Lexicon theory. Polysemous analysis of the simplex and te form alternations of miru, morau and ageru are provided, based on underspecification in the syntactic comps and semantic content type hierarchies. Since current HPSG makes no provision for aspect, a type of hierarchy is developed using Pustejovsky's Event Structure, under the content field. Variations in argument realization are shown to follow from the different modes of composing the first and second conjuncts. One particular interesting construction in Japanese is what Matsumoto (1990) calls the Intransitivizing Resultative involving V+te aru, which as a conjunction projects the undergoer of the first conjunct to subject, suppressing the actor role. The valence alternation displayed in this construction is explained by the Agentive and Formal projections of Pustejovsky's Qualia Structure. Some degree of polysemy is shown to hold between simplex and conjunct uses of the example verbs, but there are other syntactic phenomena to be explained. The thesis also examines the te conjunctions as control constructions and finds that Pollard and Sag's (1994) claim that the controlling subject is overtly structure-shared with the semantic subject of the embedded predicate, is at best not proven.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available