Topic: HUMAN SEMANTICS
By Toshiyuki Ogihara
This article discusses what may be referred to as adjectival relatives in Japanese and related constructions in other languages (such as adjectival passives in English). The most intriguing characteristic of this construction is that the verb contained in it occurs in the past tense form, but its primary role is to describe a state that obtains at the local evaluation time, rather than the past event that produced this state. In fact, in some cases, the putative event that presumably produced the target state is non-existent, and the entire construction receives a purely stative interpretation. In other words, it is possible for an adjectival relative to describe a target state without having its triggering event. The proposal I put forth in the article states that what I refer to as an adjectival relative does not have a clausal structure. It rather has a verbal projection (technically a Tense Phrase, or TP). Mod (the modifier head) then combined with TP to yield a MP (modifier phrase), which denotes a property of states that appear to have resulted from an event the verb describes. In order to reach this conclusion, I adopt two additional ideas:(i) Kratzer's (1996) idea that the so-called external argument of a verb is not really its argument at all;
(ii) direct causation does not have to be overtly represented in natural language syntax (Bittner 1999).
Having incorporated these two ideas, the proposal explains the relation between the state that the adjectival relative describes and the putative event as a modal one, thereby accounting for the non-existence of putative past events in some examples.
Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Friday, 12 November 2004 00:15 GMT