Natural Language Semantics

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 139–173 | Cite as

Indeterminate Phrase Quantification in Japanese

  • Junko Shimoyama

This paper examines the question of how so-called indeterminate phrases in Japanese (Kuroda 1965) associate with relevant particles higher in the structure. In the universal construction in Japanese, the restrictor (provided by an indeterminate phrase) sometimes appears to be separate from the universal particle mo. It is proposed that quantification at a distance is only apparent, and that the restriction is in fact provided locally by the sister constituent of mo as a whole. The proposal leads us to a straightforward uniform picture of the syntax-semantics mapping of the universal construction and wh-questions, building upon Hamblin’s (1973) semantics for wh-phrases as sets of alternatives. It allows for a switch of perspective on a long-standing puzzle regarding locality effects in the indeterminate–particle association by deriving the locality pattern from the way indeterminate phrases are interpreted and associated with particles, without any stipulations.


Relative Clause Homework Assignment Natural Language Semantic Uniform Analysis Universal Construction 
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© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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