Remarks on Japanese subjects

Mineharu Nakayama, Masatoshi Koizumi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


It has been proposed that subjects are base-generated under VP (VP internal subjects hypothesis). In this paper, we argue that the VP internal subject hypothesis that allows the subject to be base-generated under VP and move above VP at S-structure is not warranted in Japanese. Four pieces of evidence are discussed: floating numeral quantifiers; pseudo-cleft constructions; temporal phrases; and secondary depictive predicates. These collectively indicate that the subjects of unergative and transitive verbs are base-generated above VP while the subjects of unaccusatives and direct passives are base-generated under VP (i.e., the object position) in Japanese. The unaccusatives and the direct passives are different in that the subjects of the direct passives must be above VP at S-structure while the subject of the unaccusative can be at the object position.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-319
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1991 Dec
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Remarks on Japanese subjects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this