March 31, 2003

5:00pm, March 31, 2003
Conference room, 3rd floor, Building 10, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo Komaba campus
Yusuke Kubota (University of Tokyo)
Association with Focus in Japanese
Like many other grammatical categories, focus particles (FPs) in 
Japanese show a number of similarities and differences with their 
English counterparts. One of the most significant differences 
between the two is that the former sometimes allow association with 
phrases larger than the ones they attach to, while the latter never 
allow it. This peculiar behavior of FPs in Japanese has often been 
pointed out in the literature (see Numata (2000) and references 
therein). A typical example is the following:
(1) [Pan   dake o   tabe ta.]_F
     bread only ACC eat  PAST
   ``(I) only ate bread (and didn't wash my face this morning).''
In (1), the FP `dake' attaches to the noun `pan' but what is focused 
and associated with it is the whole VP containing the FP, as can be 
inferred from the English translation. In Japanese, an FP can also 
associate with a phrase that is a subpart of what it attaches to. 
In this respect, it behaves in much the same way as its counterpart 
in English.
(2) [S Pan_F o   tabe ta]  dake da.
       bread ACC eat  PAST only COP
   ``(I) ate only bread.''
In (2), the FP `dake' associates with the noun `pan', which is a 
subpart of the S to which `dake' attaches.

In spite of the vast amount of work on FPs in Japanese, none of the 
previous formal accounts, as far as I am aware, have offered precise 
and consistent analyses of the phenomena mentioned above. In this 
talk, I will present an explicit mechanism of association with focus 
in Japanese that deals with these two cases in a uniform manner. The 
proposed theory is basically formulated in the alternative semantics 
of Rooth (1985) together with an HPSG syntax (Pollard and Sag 1994). 
I will also address the problems of the semantic difference of `de dake' 
and `dake de' sentences exemplified by the following pair and scope 
interactions between two FPs.
(3) a. Zitensya dake de   soko  ni ik eru.
       bike     only with there to go can
      ``I can get there by bike alone.'' / ``Only by bike, can I get there.''
    b. Zitensya de   dake soko  ni ik eru.
       bike     with only there to go can
      ``Only by bike, can I get there.''


Numata, Y. 2000. Toritate (Focusing). In S. Kinsui, M. Kudo and Y. 
Numata. Toki, Hitei to Toritate (Tense, Negation and Focusing). 
Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.

Rooth, M. E. 1985. Association with Focus. Ph. D. Dissertation. 
University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Pollard, C. J. and I. A. Sag. 1994. Head-Driven Phrase Structure 
Grammar. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Last modified: Wed Jun 4 23:42:33 JST 2003