Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2210-2116
  • E-ISSN: 2210-2124
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There is considerable literature on dative subject or non-canonical subject marking constructions in Japanese, and yet they have been studied mainly from a synchronic point of view. This paper investigates the diachronic dimension of non-canonical case marking constructions in Japanese. Following Yanagida and Whitman (2009), I assume that Old Japanese (700–800 A.D.) displays split active alignment. This paper argues that dative subjects arose as a byproduct of a change occurring from active-inactive to accusative alignment. A factor triggering this change was the reanalysis of some particular object experiencer predicates as intransitives due to the loss of the vestigial causative suffix associated with the predicate. Synchronically, these constructions involve a voice alternation of the type identified as the psych causative alternation by Alexiadou and Iordăchioaia (2014): object experiencer verbs behave parallel to causative verbs whereas alternating subject experiencer verbs behave parallel to anticausative verbs.


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