Split control and the Principle of Minimal Distance

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This chapter discusses issues of controller choice by examining mood constructions in Japanese, where mood markers are overtly realized in the control clause. We show that split control is possible with obligatory control, i.e. that the ban on split control is not a diagnostic property for obligatory control. We also suggest that controller choice is systematically correlated with the mood interpretation of the control clause. On the one hand, split control, subject control and object control are obtained when the embedded clause bears exhortative mood, what is called ‘decisive mood’ and imperative mood, respectively. On the other hand, no control clause with a mood maker has the kind of interpretation called promissive mood, which should be allowed if subject control over an intervening NP were allowed. This gap in the paradigm is taken to suggest that obligatory control obeys the Principle of Minimal Distance. The latter half of the chapter concerns the analytical challenge as to how it is made possible to exclude minimality violations and accomodate split control. A movement-based analysis of split control is proposed that fulfills these empirical demands. We conclude with a brief discussion of a person restriction on subjects of mood clauses, which arises when a mood marker occurs in root clauses. Minimality works in root clauses in essentially the same way as in their embedded counterparts.


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