Movement of Wh-phrases in Japanese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, I argue that a certain case of scrambling of Wh-phrases counts as syntactic Wh-movement in Japanese: Specifically, I argue that long-distance scrambling of a Wh-phrase to a clause headed by a [+ WH] COMP behaves exactly like Wh-movement. I defend this hypothesis by showing (i) that such movement lacks LF 'undoing' effects, a quite surprising fact considering that scrambling can be freely undone in LF, and (ii) that it exhibits the Superiority effects. This observation provides support for Mahajan's (1990) proposal that long-distance scrambling, unlike local scrambling, is uniformly A′-movement. Further, I show, on the basis of LF undoing effects, that multiple Wh-movement is possible in Japanese, and argue that this fact supports Kuroda's (1988) 'multiple SPEC' analysis for the phrase structure of Japanese.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-678
Number of pages24
JournalNatural Language & Linguistic Theory
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1993 Nov 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Movement of Wh-phrases in Japanese'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this