Long distance scrambling in Japanese

This paper examines the nature of scrambling in Japanese in the light of Webelhuth (1989) and Mahajan (1989). Webelhuth proposes that scrambling is uniformly movement to a third type of position, the non-operation/non-A position, and that this position has the binding properties of both A and A′ (operator) positions. Mahajan does not recognize the third type of position, and argues that clause-internal scrambling can be either A or A′ movement, while “long distance” scrambling is necessarily A′ movement. I argue in this paper that these two apparently inconsistent hypotheses are both necessary for the analysis of scrambling in Japanese.

As evidence for Webelhuth's hypothesis, I show that unlike wh-movement, scrambling need not establish a semantically significant operator-variable relation. Then, I argue that Mahajan's hypothesis, based on the A/A′ dichotomy, is also needed to account for the distinction between clause-internal scrambling and “long distance” scrambling with respect to anaphor binding. Finally, adopting Tada's (1990) proposal that non-operator/non-A positions are licensed at S-structure but not at LF, I suggest that a modified version of Webelhuth's hypothesis applies at S-structure, and Mahajan's hypothesis applies at LF.

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Saito, M. Long distance scrambling in Japanese. J East Asian Linguis 1, 69–118 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00129574

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Keywords

  • Theoretical Language
  • Anaphor Binding
  • Inconsistent Hypothesis