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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A transformational study of Japanese reflexivization Matsuda, Hiroshi

Abstract

Japanese reflexivization has only recently come to linguists' attention in the framework of Chomsky's linguistic model, the transformational generative grammar. The present thesis, also being based on this newly developed model, is aimed at investigating the nature of the Japanese reflexive system. In effect, the investigation is to become a procedure whereby inconsistencies of the current hypothetical treatments of Japanese reflexivization can be excluded so that a revised proposal can be presented. The discussion toward a revised proposal is designed to pass through the two phases. First, in Chapter I, by examining Oyakawa's hypothesis, the discussion will focus on the structural positions of the antecedent and its reflexive, which will outline the basic property of Japanese reflexivization. It is also claimed that Langacker's two notions, 'command' and 'precede', are crucial in accounting for the question of the directionality, Forward and Backward reflexivization. The result of the examination will be presented as the revised proposal (I) to conclude the chapter. Next, in Chapter II, the second phase of the revision will result from the examination of Akatuka's treatment of Japanese reflexivization. The examination will eventually suggest that the ill-formedness treated by Akatuka stems rather from the inadequacy of what has been allegedly treated as a Japanese reflexive pronoun than from a syntactic reason. Consequently, the alternative to replace the alleged reflexive form will be presented with syntactic evidence in which the existence of the non-human reflexive pronoun is to be pointed out as well. The conclusion to the chapter will be presented as the revised proposal (II) showing that the coreferentiality between the antecedent and the genuine reflexive is really a phenomenon observable only in a simplex sentence. In Chapter III, some problems left unsolved will be discussed. Having shown that the possible solutions to the problems are not far from being ad hoc so long as we adhere to the standard transformational approach, the alternative solutions will be looked into in the framework of Jackendoff's Interpretive Theory in which, unlike the standard transformational theory, the antecedent-reflexive relation is to be accounted for in the semantic component rather than the syntactic component. This chapter will be concluded by showing that the interpretive approach is equipped with more explanatory power than the standard transformational approach. All the information obtained through the revision in the preceding chapters will play a crucial role in formulating Japanese reflexivization by the interpretive approach. In Chapter IV, the conclusions to the preceding three chapters are to be recapitulated so that a schematic representation of Japanese reflexivization is presented as both the conclusion to the present thesis and a tentative conclusion to the issue of Japanese reflexivization.

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