Volume 22, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1606-822X
  • E-ISSN: 2309-5067



This study conducted two experiments to examine the derivation of the head noun phrase in Japanese relative clauses, with a focus on whether the anaphors ‘self’ and ‘self-self’ within the head noun phrase can be co-referential with the relative clause subject. It aims to settle a long-standing debate among the previous studies concerning the interpretation of the anaphors inside the head noun phrase: while several studies claimed that the co-reference between the anaphor ‘self’ and the relative clause subject is prohibited, many other studies argued that such co-reference is possible. In addition, it has been claimed that while co-indexing the anaphor with the relative clause subject might be marginally acceptable, it would become fully acceptable if we replace with the morphologically complex anaphor ‘self-self’, which implies that the morphological make-up of an anaphor may affect its ability to be co-indexed with the relative clause subject.

The results of two carefully controlled truth value judgment experiments show that neither the simplex anaphor nor the complex anaphor within the head noun phrase of relative clauses can take the relative clause subject as its antecedent, which suggests that the head noun phrase does not reconstruct and therefore lends support to the -binding analysis of Japanese relative clauses. Moreover, the findings also suggest that the morphological make-up of an anaphor does not affect its ability to take the relative clause subject as its antecedent, despite the claim that it is more acceptable to co-index the complex anaphor with the relative clause subject than the simplex anaphor .

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): anaphor; head noun phrase; Japanese; relative clause
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