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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2021, Vol. 52, No. 2, Pages 359-376
(doi: 10.1162/ling_a_00380)
© 2020 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Syntactic Head Movement in Japanese: Evidence from Verb-Echo Answers and Negative Scope Reversal
Article PDF (107.58 KB)
Abstract

We investigate the syntax of verb-echo answers in Japanese. We first present two arguments showing that this answer form is best analyzed through overt V-to-T-to-C movement, followed by TP-ellipsis. We further show that verb-echo answers exhibit a scope reversal effect: the otherwise robust wide scope reading of focus-marked phrases with respect to negation is reversed in this construction, a pattern that holds across all grammatical positions. This ubiquitous scope reversal pattern indicates that certain instances of head movement in Japanese are syntactic, contrary to the view (Chomsky 2000, 2001) that head move-ment is to be relegated to the postsyntactic, phonological component.