, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 245-288

Evidentiality, Experiencers, and the Syntax of sentience in Japanese

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Abstract

This paper examines some phenomena in Japanese related to predicates of direct experience, which seem to require an integration of speech act, first and second person, evidentiality, and long distance binding. These predicates restrict their experiencer subjects to first person in the declarative and second person in the interrogative; the restriction is lifted by clausal or lexical evidential markers; and the binding domain for the long-distance anaphor jibun is the same as the evidential domains that lift the person constraint. Most of these facts are not new in the literature, but this proposal to integrate these facts under one general account at the syntax/semantics/discourse interface is new. The paper proposes an integrated account of these facts in the context of a framework for a Syntax of Sentience, which includes sentience roles, functional projections relating to sentience, and morphosyntactic features encoding sentience properties. Each of these separate parts of the proposal arises independently out of a different thread of research. The fact that the syntax of sentience outlined here integrates such a range of facts and literatures is seen as a strength of the approach.