Journal of East Asian Linguistics

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 147–178 | Cite as

Theta-role assignment, passivization, and excorporation

  • Hiroto Hoshi


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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abe, Yasuaki (1985)A Theory of Categorial Morphology and Agglutination in Japanese, PhD dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.Google Scholar
  2. Baker, Mark (1988)Incorporation: A Theory of Grammatical Function Changing, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  3. Baker, Mark, Kyle Johnson, and Ian Roberts (1989) “Passive Arguments Raised”,Linguistic Inquiry 20, 219–251.Google Scholar
  4. Barss, Andrew and Howard Lasnik (1986) “A Note on Anaphora and Double Objects”,Linguistic Inquiry 17, 347–354.Google Scholar
  5. Chomsky, Noam (1955/75)The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  6. Chomsky, Noam (1981)Lectures on Government and Binding, Foris, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  7. Chomsky, Noam (1986)Knowledge of Language: Its Nature, Origins and Use, Praeger, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Chomsky, Noam (1992) “A Minimalist, Program for Linguistic Theory”,MIT Occasional Papers in Linguistics Number 1.Google Scholar
  9. Chomsky, Noam and Howard Lasnik (1991) “Principles and Parameter, Theory”, to appear in Jacobs et al. (eds.),Syntax: an International Handbook of Contemporary Research, de Gruyter, Berlin.Google Scholar
  10. Fukui, Naoki (1986)A Theory of Category Projection and its Application, PhD dissertation, MIT.Google Scholar
  11. Fukui, Naoki and Margaret Speas (1986) “Specifiers and Projection”,MIT Working Papers in Linguistics, MIT.Google Scholar
  12. Grimshaw, Jane (1990)Argument Structure, MIT Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  13. Guasti, Maria Teresa (1991) “Incorporation, Excorporation and Lexical Properties of Causative Heads,”Linguistic Review 8, 209–232.Google Scholar
  14. Guasti, Maria Teresa (1992)Causative and Perception Verbs, PhD dissertation, Universite de Geneve.Google Scholar
  15. Harada, Shin-Ichi (1973) “Counter Equi NP Deletion”,Annual Bulletin 7, Research Institute of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, University of Tokyo, 113–147.Google Scholar
  16. Hasegawa, Kinsuke (1964) “Nihongo Bunpoo Siron An Essay on Japanese Grammar,”Gengobunka, 1, 3–46.Google Scholar
  17. Hasegawa, Nobuko (1987) “Passives, Verb Raising, and the Affectedness Condition,” inProceedings of the Sixth West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, 99–113.Google Scholar
  18. Hoshi, Hiroto (1991) “The Generalized Projection Principle and its Implications for Passive Constructions,”Journal of Japanese Linguistics 13, 53–89.Google Scholar
  19. Hoshi, Hiroto (1993) “Excorporation, in Syntax and in LF: The Case of Romance Causatives and Japanese Passives,”MIT Working Papers in Linguistics, MIT.Google Scholar
  20. Hoshi, Hiroto (to appear) “On the Dual Characteristics of, the Causative Verb in Romance and the Passive Verb in Japanese,” inProceedings of the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Formal Linguistics Society of Mid-America.Google Scholar
  21. Hoshi, Hiroto (in progress) PhD dissertation, University of Connecticut, Storrs.Google Scholar
  22. Hoshi, Hiroto and Mamoru Saito (1993) “The Japanese Light Verb Construction: A Case of LF Theta Marking,” in Mamoru Saito (ed.),Japanese Grammar (II), Second Annual Report for the Research Project,Development of a Formal Grammar of Japanese, University of Connecticut, Storrs.Google Scholar
  23. Howard, Irwin and Agnes M. Niyekawa-Howard (1976) “Passivization,” in M. Shibatani (ed.),Japanese Generative Grammar: Syntax and Semantics 5 Academic Press, New York, 201–237.Google Scholar
  24. Inoue, Kazuko (1976)Henkeibunpoo to Nihongo [Generative Grammar and Japanese], Taishukan Tokyo.Google Scholar
  25. Jaeggli, Osvaldo (1986) “Passive,”Linguistic Inquiry 17, 587–622.Google Scholar
  26. Kitagawa, Yoshihisa (1986)Subjects in Japanese and English, PhD dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.Google Scholar
  27. Kitagawa, Yoshihisa and Kuroda S.-Y. (1992) “Passive in Japanese”, ms., University of Rochester and University of California at San Diego.Google Scholar
  28. Kubo, Miori (1990) “Japanese Passives”, ms., MIT.Google Scholar
  29. Kuno, Susumu (1973)The Structure of the Japanese Language, MIT Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  30. Kuno, Susumu (1983)Shin-Nihon Bunpoo Kenkyuu [New Studies in Japanese Grammar], Taishukan, Tokyo.Google Scholar
  31. Kuno, Susumu (1987)Functional Syntax, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  32. Kuroda, S.-Y- (1965)Generative Grammatical Studies in the Japanese Language, PhD dissertation, MIT.Google Scholar
  33. Kuroda, S.-Y. (1978) “Case Marking, Canonical Sentence Patterns, and Counter Equi in Japanese,” in J. Hinds and I. Howards (eds.),Problems in Japanese Syntax and Semantics, Kaitakusha, Tokyo.Google Scholar
  34. Kuroda, S.-Y. (1979) “On Japanese Passives,” in G., Bedell, E. Kobayashi and M. Muraki (eds.),Exploration in Linguistics: Papers in Honor of Kazuko Inoue Kenkyusha, Tokyo, 305–347.Google Scholar
  35. Larson, Richard (1988), “On the Double Object Construction”Linguistic Inquiry 19, 335–391.Google Scholar
  36. Lasnik, Howard (1988) “Subjects and the θ-Criterion”,Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 6, 1–18.Google Scholar
  37. Makino, Seiichi (1972) “Adverbial Scope and the Passive Construction in Japanese,”Papers in Linguistics 5, 73–98.Google Scholar
  38. Marantz, Alec (1984)On the Nature of Grammatical Relations, MIT Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  39. Martin, Roger (1993) “On the Distribution and Case Features of PRO,” ms., University of Connecticut.Google Scholar
  40. McCawley, Noriko Akatuska (1972) “On the Treatment of Japanese, Passives”,Papers from the Eighth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society 8, 256–270.Google Scholar
  41. Miyagawa, Shigeru, (1989)Structure and Case Marking in Japanese: Syntax and Semantics 22, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  42. Oka, Toshifusa (1989) “On the SPEC of IP”, ms., MIT.Google Scholar
  43. Oshima, Shin (1979) “Conditions on Rules: Anaphora in Japanese,” in G. Bedell, E. Kobayashi and M. Muraki (eds.),Exploration in Linguistics: Papers in Honor of Kazuko Inoue, Kenkyusha, Tokyo, 423–448.Google Scholar
  44. Poser, William (1981) “The ‘Double-o Constraint’: Evidence for a Direct Object Relation in Japanese,” ms., MIT.Google Scholar
  45. Roberts, Ian (1991) “Excorporation and Minimality”,Linguistic Inquiry 22, 209–218.Google Scholar
  46. Saito, Mamoru (1982), “Case Marking in Japanese: A Preliminary Study,” ms., MIT.Google Scholar
  47. Saito, Mamoru (1985)Some Asymmetries in Japanese and their Theoretical Implications, PhD dissertation, MIT.Google Scholar
  48. Saito, Mamoru (1992) “Long Distance Scarambling in Japanese”,Journal of East Asian Linguistics 1, 69–118.Google Scholar
  49. Saito, Mamoru and Keiko Murasugi (1989) “N'-deletion in Japanese and the DP Hypothesis,” paper delivered at LSA Annual Meeting.Google Scholar
  50. Shibatani, Masayoshi (1973) “Semantics of Japanese Causativization,”Foundation of Language 9, 327–373.Google Scholar
  51. Shibatani, Masayoshi (1978)Nihongo no Bunseki [An Analysis of Japanese], Taishukan, tokyo.Google Scholar
  52. Shibatani, Masayoshi (1991)The Languages of Japan, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  53. Sportiche, Dominique (1988), “A Theory of Floating Quantifiers and its Corollaries for Constituent Structure,”Linguistic Inquiry, 19, 425–449.Google Scholar
  54. Terada, Michiko (1990)Incorporation and Argument Structure in Japanese, PhD dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.Google Scholar
  55. Washio, Ryuichi (1989–1990), “The Japanese Passive,”The Linguistic Review 6 227–263.Google Scholar
  56. Zubizarreta, Maria Luisa (1985) “The Relation between Morphophonology and Morphosyntax: The Case of Romance Causatives,”Linguistic Inquiry 16, 247–289.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroto Hoshi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of Connecticut, U-145Storrs

Personalised recommendations