Linguistic Variation Yearbook 2004
  • ISSN 1568-1483
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9900
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This paper offers a new analysis of Japanese scrambling, under which some instances of scrambling phenomena are derived from the process of linearization. It is specifically proposed that the absence of formal agreement in Japanese enables Spell-Out to apply solely to an argument of the verb. The spelled out argument is “dislocated” at PF by the mechanisms of linearization of spelled out syntactic objects. Radical reconstruction effects, along with various other properties of Japanese scrambling such as the proper binding effects, are captured as a natural consequence of the proposed analysis, because the scrambled constituent actually does not undergo any syntactic movement but rather stays in the base-generated position. It is also argued that an analysis of scrambling ought to be eclectic in the sense that another strategy, which employs null operator movement to establish the relation between the dislocated element and the gap, is also available in Japanese, as originally proposed by Ueyama (2002). Thus, the optionality of Japanese scrambling is shifted under the proposed analysis to the optional application of Spell-Out (made possible by the absence of formal agreement) and the optional selection of a null operator in the numeration. The paper is concluded with the speculation that the availability of the latter strategy is due to the rich use of predication in Japanese.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): agreement; cyclic Spell-Out; linearization; optionality; radical reconstruction; Scrambling
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