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Japanese Syntax in Comparative Perspective$
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Mamoru Saito

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199945207

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945207.001.0001

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Number and Classifier

Number and Classifier

(p.25) 2 Number and Classifier
Japanese Syntax in Comparative Perspective

Yasuki Ueda

Oxford University Press

It has been observed that languages are split into two groups: those with classifiers and those with number morphology. This led researchers such as Akira Watanabe and Hiroki Narita to the hypothesis that Classifier Phrase (CLP) and Number Phrase (NumP) are different names for the same projection. This chapter, investigates the nominal structure of Japanese in comparison with Chinese and argues against this hypothesis. The first part presents independent evidence for Saito, Lin, and Murasugi’s analysis of Japanese CLP as NP adjuncts, in contrast with Chinese CL as a head that takes an NP complement. The second part presents supporting evidence for Audrey Li’s proposal that the Chinese plural morpheme -men occupies a Num head position above CLP. The analysis shows that a number of differences between Chinese and Japanese are explained if the Japanese counterpart -tati also occupies a head position in a nominal structure.

Keywords:   number phrase, number morphology, Chinese, associative plural, classifier, plural marker, mass noun, count noun, head movement, recursive plural

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