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  • Coordination, Subject Raising, and AgrP in Japanese
  • Ichiro Hirata

Takano (2004) convincingly shows, on the basis of interpretation of betubetuno 'different', that verbs in coordination structures in Japanese stay within vP in overt syntax. (More precisely, he claims that the tense morpheme is located in T in syntax.) His reasoning is readily extended to examples where subjects are contained in conjuncts, so that it can be shown that in addition to verbs, subjects reside in vP in overt syntax in Japanese. On the other hand, Kishimoto (2001) elegantly accounts for the subject-object asymmetry with regard to indeterminate pronoun binding in Japanese by assuming that subjects undergo raising in that language. Surprisingly, the subject-object asymmetry at stake is detected even in coordination structures where subjects seemingly occupy vP-internal positions. The purpose of this squib is to propose an analysis that resolves the contradiction. The analysis revives Pollock's (1989) original Split-IP Hypothesis by [End Page 318] which IP is divided into TP and AgrP. Some theoretical implications of the revival are also explored.

1 Coordination and Raising of Verbs and Subjects

English has a construction in which finite verbs are conjoined to share their arguments.

(1) John [copied and filed] the paper.

Two types of translation of sentence (1) are possible in Japanese.1


  1. a. John-ga sono ronbun-o [kopiisi fairusi]-ta.
    John-NOM that paper-ACC [copy file]-PAST

  2. b. John-ga sono ronbun-o [kopiisita sosite fairusita].
    John-NOM that paper-ACC [copied and filed]

In the first type (2a), the first of the juxtaposed verbs is realized as the bare form kopiisi 'copy', while the second is followed by the tense morpheme ta.2 In the second type (2b), both verbs are accompanied by the tense morpheme ta, and the coordinate conjunction sosite 'and' conjoins them. Using a diagnosis of coordination discussed by Carlson (1987), Takano (2004) proves that only (2a) involves coordination of two verbs. The diagnosis involves interpretation of adjectives like different and same. Consider (3).

(3) Smith went to a different place on his vacation this year.

The adjective different implies that some comparison is made. In (3), for instance, both the speaker and the hearers know that Smith had gone to some other place already, and the speaker asserts that Smith went to a place different from that. It can be said, therefore, that the basis of comparison for different in (3) lies outside the sentence. Carlson calls this kind of interpretation of different a sentence-external reading. Next, consider (4a).


  1. a. Bob and Alice attend different classes.

  2. b. Bob attends Biology 101 and Alice attends Philosophy 799.

Like different in (8), different in (4a) has a sentence-external reading. [End Page 319] In addition, it has a reading on which the class that Bob attends and the class that Alice attends are compared sentence-internally, giving rise to an interpretation like (4b). Carlson calls this type of interpretation a sentence-internal reading. A sentence-internal reading is obtained when the sentence contains a coordination structure, as is the case in (4a). Like conjoined DPs, as in (4a), conjoined verbs license sentence-internal readings of different, as demonstrated by the examples in (5).


  1. a. John [saw and reviewed] different films.

  2. b. Different dogs [chased and bit] the cat.

Thus, availability of a sentence-internal reading tells us whether a given sentence contains coordination.

Takano, making use of this diagnosis, establishes that the juxtaposed verbs in (2a) but not (2b) instantiate coordination of verbs (i.e., (2b) consists of two complete sentences rather than one sentence involving coordination). Consider (6a-b), in which the adjective betubetuno 'different from each other' modifies the object shared by juxtaposed verbs.


  1. a. John-ga betubetuno ronbun-o [kopiisi fairusi]-ta.
    John-NOM different paper-ACC [copy file]-PAST
    'John copied and filed different papers.'

  2. b. *John-ga betubetuno ronbun-o [kopiisita sosite
    John-NOM different paper-ACC [copied and fairusita].
    'John copied and filed different papers.'

Unlike different in English, betubetuno in Japanese yields only a sentence-internal reading. (6a), where the first verb appears as a bare form, allows a sentence-internal reading, namely, that John copied one...


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