Whether We Agree or Not: A Comparative Syntax of English and Japanese

  • S.-Y. Kuroda
Part of the Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory book series (SNLT, volume 27)


English has visible wh-movement; Japanese doesn’t. Japanese scrambles and word order is free; English doesn’t scramble and has an orderly word order. The topic is prominent in Japanese; it is not in English. Japanese has double or multiple subject structures; English does not. Such are the major typological differences between English and Japanese, and some linguists entertain the idea that parametric differences concerning Deep Structure exist between English and Japanese which are responsible for these differences. It has been proposed that English is configurational while Japanese is nonconfigurational; cf: Hale (1980), Chomsky (1981), among others. Or it has been suggested that Japanese clauses are Max(V), while English ones are Max(I); for example, Chomsky in a lecture at UCSD, 1985. I would like to sketch in this paper a claim to the contrary that there is no parametric difference between English and Japanese that results in essentially different deep structure configurations. Instead, the parametric difference between English and Japanese consists simply of the following: Agreement is forced in English, it is not in Japanese. 1


Noun Phrase Case Theory Transitive Verb Universal Grammar Lexical Category 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • S.-Y. Kuroda
    • 1
  1. 1.Departmenl of LinguisticsUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

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