Journal of East Asian Linguistics

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 147-178

First online:

Theta-role assignment, passivization, and excorporation

  • Hiroto HoshiAffiliated withDepartment of Linguistics, University of Connecticut, U-145

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The purpose of this paper is to clarify the syntactic nature of the passive verb of theni direct passive in Japanese. K. Hasegawa (1964), Kuroda (1965), among others, propose that the passive verb of this type assigns an external ϕ-role and does not trigger NP movement. Contrary to this proposal, N. A. McCawley (1972), Kuno (1973), among others, argue that it does trigger NP movement and does not have an external ϕ-role to assign. Showing evidence for both proposals, I argued in Hoshi (1991) that the passive verb of theni direct passive not only assigns an external ϕ-role but also triggers NP movement. In addition, I sketched a way to reconcile these two syntactic operations.

In this paper, in line with Washio's (1989–90) proposal, I will develop my earlier analysis, adopting Larson's (1988) theory of ϕ-role assignment and the theory of excorporation. Furthermore, I will show some desirable consequences. In particular, I will propose that theni direct passive and the English double object construction have important properties in common. Both of these constructions involve VP internal Passivization, i.e., dative shift in Larsonian terms. I will also argue that Kuroda's (1965) verb raising analysis is correct, for Japanese causatives, whereas the proposed, excorporation analysis is correct for Japaneseni passives.