Home > Catalogue > Annali di Ca’ Foscari. Serie occidentale > 57 | 2023 > The Indirect Passive in Japanese is a Mono-clausal Phenomenon

The Indirect Passive in Japanese is a Mono-clausal Phenomenon

J.-R. Hayashishita    University of Otago    

Ayumi Ueyama    Kyushu University    



The so-called indirect passive, where the subject is not the argument of the underlying verb that bears the Theme/Patient role, is generally understood to be a bi-clausal phenomenon (cf. Kuno 1973; Shibatani 1978; Kuroda 1979). In other words, the passive morpheme rare is merged with a clause, and then the resulting item is combined with the subject. In this paper, however, we argue that the indirect passive is best understood as a mono-clausal phenomenon. We first point out that with some instances of the indirect passive, the passive morpheme rare is not understood as being combined with a verb or clause in syntax. Thus, we are led to assume that the lexicon contains numerous instances of the Vrare form. This implies that even when the passive morpheme rare is combined in syntax, it forms a constituent with the relevant verb; hence, the indirect passive is a mono-clausal phenomenon. We furthermore maintain that when the indirect passive involves the merging of rare with a verb in syntax, the verb must be a volitional verb, and demonstrate that this generalization, as well as the case particle alternation involved in the indirect passive, poses a challenge to the bi-clause analysis but not to the mono-clause analysis. Finally, we review one of the main arguments for analyzing the indirect passive to be a bi-clausal phenomenon, which concerns the antecedent of zibun. We show that it is inconclusive at best.

Oct. 30, 2023
April 25, 2023
Feb. 21, 2023

Keywords: JapaneseThe indirect passiveThe mono-clause analysisSyntaxLexicon

Copyright: © 2023 J.-R. Hayashishita, Ayumi Ueyama. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.