Journal of East Asian Linguistics

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 37-59

First online:

Mood and Case: with special reference to genitive Case conversion in Kansai Japanese

  • Shin’ya AsanoAffiliated withSchool of Humanities, Kwansei Gakuin University Email author 
  • , Hiroyuki UraAffiliated withSchool of Humanities, Kwansei Gakuin University

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This paper shows that, contrary to preceding studies, a dialect spoken in a western region of Japan (Kansai dialect) allows not only nominative Case, as is widely known in literature, but also accusative Case, to convert into genitive Case in a prenominal clause. We will call this phenomenon Accusative-Genitive conversion. This phenomenon has been little known in theoretical literature because of its limited occurrence. As our detailed survey reveals, this less-known Case conversion is possible only if some conditions on the clause in which the conversion appears are satisfied. We also demonstrate that those necessary conditions for Accusative-Genitive conversion are, indeed, deduced by some independently supported hypotheses under the Agree/Phase theory. Thus, Accusative-Genitive conversion is within the realm of the Agree/Phase theory, and the characteristic conditions on its occurrence, in turn, lend support to the recent syntactic theory. Our theory of this phenomenon further predicts that, if our mechanism serves as an independent mechanism for genitive-Case valuation, it will also function as converting nominative Case into genitive Case. It will be shown that this is indeed the Case, which strongly supports the validity of our mechanism in Kansai Japanese.


Accusative-Genitive conversion Agree Phase Irrealis mood