UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The syntax of possessor raising Nakamura, Yumiko


This thesis provides an analysis of Possessor Raising (PR) in a minimalist framework. I examine four languages that exhibit PR, namely Japanese, Korean, Kinyarwanda, and Swahili. I propose that cross-linguistic variation of PR in these languages is captured by the single notion of Multiple Feature-Checking (MFC). In addition to cross-linguistic variation of surface syntax of PR, this thesis also examines a universal feature of PR, namely the relational noun restriction. PR raises an interesting problem with the mapping relation between an argument DP and its grammatical function (GF). A DP is normally associated with a unique GF (i.e., a one-to-one mapping relation), but in some cases such as passive, a DP may be associated with more than one GF, being both an underlying object and a surface subject (i.e., a one-to-many). PR also poses another type of mapping relation, namely a many-to-one relation; under PR, a possessor DP may also bear the GF of its host. In order to capture such a many-to-one relation between a DP and its GF in PR, I propose that this is an example of MFC, which is defined as follows: (i) MFC is possible only if a Formal Feature (FF) of a head (T and v) can escape deletion. (ii) MFC applies to both strong and weak FFs. In contrast to the original formulation of MFC (cf. Chomsky 1995b), which always involves overt movement of DPs and derives multiple specifiers, I argue that MFC also takes place at LF, which involves covert movement of FFs and derives multiple adjuncts of feature bundles onto a head. Given the evidence against overt movement of the subject and object in Japanese and Korean, I argue that PR in these languages is best analyzed in terms of covert MFC. I also provide an overt MFC analysis for Kinyarwanda and Swahili PR. Lastly, I discuss the relational noun restriction on PR, which holds of all PR languages. I propose that this restriction is reducible to the structural position of the possessor of a relational noun, namely its position as complement to the noun.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.