We are happy to announce a talk by Viktor Köhlich (Goethe University) in the Syntax Colloquium.

The talk will take place on campus in IG 4.301.

Title: Merging Position and Size of Indirect Modifiers in Japanese

Date: May 30

Time: 4 pm – 6 pm ct


This talk takes a look at the questions what the size ob indirect modifiers in Japanese is, or rather what size it can be, and where they merge in the DP. Adopting a cartographic understanding of the DP (Cinque 2010. 2020), in principle adjectives are expected to merge as reduced relative clauses of size IP in a dedicated functional projection and verbal modifiers to merge in a functional projection for finite relative clauses. Japanese is an interesting case, as the size of the modifier, which is often argued to correlate with finiteness, cannot be readily determined. Modifiers in attributive position only exhibit one surface form and are in their morphological mark-up (mostly) identical to their counterparts in predicative position. While it has been argued that indirect modifiers in Japanese cannot be larger than IP (Murasugi 2000, Kayne 1994, 2005), the overt exponent of subjects and the possibility of pretty complex verbal and also adjectival phrases in front of the noun could suggest an even larger status, potentially CP despite the absence of overt complementizers. Furthermore, the possibility that modifiers could be smaller, potentially vP, cannot be a priori excluded.

This talk will present evidence that indirect modifiers are at least of size IP and discuss conflicting data that speak for and against an even larger status as CPs. This discussion, it will be argued, is not only relevant for Japanese, but also cross-linguistically for other languages with exclusively prenominal RCs, and for the theory of RCs per se (Cinque 2020).