Thematically Driven Movement in Japanese: A Study of Psych Verb Constructions

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The general aim of this thesis is to provide support for the claim that movement can be driven by theta-features, advanced by Bokovič (1994), Hornstein (1999, 2001), Manzini and Russo (2000), and O'Neil (1997) among others, through a study of Japanese Psych Verb constructions that exhibit interesting peculiarities.

In some psych verb constructions, theta-roles are projected in an order that diverges from the canonical order found in other dyadic constructions. The theme role of Object Experiencer (OE) verbs is realized in the subject position of the sentence, while the experiencer role is linked to the object position. On the other hand, Subject Experiencer (SE) verbs map the theme role to the object position while the experiencer role is realized in the subject position. Given that in general experiencers are mapped to the subject/external argument position, OE verb constructions raise some critical issues for the Principles and Parameters theory (Chomsky, 1981), in particular for the theories of argument structure.

The first goal of the thesis is to provide a solution to this linking puzzle as well as other peculiarities of OE verbs in Minimalist terms. In particular, I claim that the subject of an OE verb sentence is derived by thematically driven movement. By allowing such movement, the inverse linking pattern, backward binding phenomenon, and scope patterns of OE verbs can be accounted for straightforwardly.

The second goal is to investigate the structures of SE verbs and OE verbs and how they are related one another. I propose that an OE verb is a mono-clausal causative, composed of an SE verb base and a causative morpheme -sase, and that SE verbs are bare VPs without vP projection. This amounts to saying that SE verbs do not project the external argument. It is shown that SE verbs do not allow passivization, supporting the claim that SE verbs do not project the external argument.