Alleged small clauses in Japanese

Michiya Kawai


This paper is concerned with what is referred to as an alleged small clause (ASC-) construction, as in John-wa Mary-o itoshiku omotta/John-TOP Mary-ACC lovable thought/‘John considered Mary lovable’. The most popular view among researchers today is that Mary-o and itoshiku form a small clause complement of the epistemic predicate omotta (e.g., Kikuchi and Takahashi 1990, Sode 1999, and Fukumitsu 2002). Koizumi (2002), however, points out a number of problems in the standard view. In this paper, I also argue against the small clause analysis of ASC-constructions, because a cluster of the syntactic and morphological properties of ASC-constructions is not predicted by a small clause analysis. Under the present analysis, itoshiku and omotta form a V-complex [itoshiku omotta] taking Mary-o as the direct (theme) object, and John as the experiencer subject. As such, itoshiku is a V-modifier, not having a direct thematic relation with Mary-o.


Japanese; Alleged Small Clauses; Epistemic Small Clauses; Covert Head Movement; Incorporation

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