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      Being polite and subordinate: Morphosyntax determines the embeddability of Utterance Honorifics in Japanese

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      Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
      Open Library of the Humanities

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          Abstract

          Utterance Honorifics (UHs) are generally regarded as a main clause phenomenon as they reflect the speaker’s attitude towards the addressee/audience. UHs in Japanese present a challenging problem to this view, however, as it has been reported that they can be embedded under some circumstances (Miyagawa 2012; Yamada 2019 and references therein). In this paper, we closely examine the embedding patterns of the three UH markers in Japanese, the verbal UH, the UH copula for a noun, and the UH copula for an adjective, and show that there are considerable variations among the three UH markers. We argue that their distributional differences are intimately tied to their morphosyntactic characteristics and their interaction with the tense and finiteness specifications in the language. More specifically, we propose that there is a close, though possibly not perfect, correspondence between the degree of embeddability of the UH markers and the syntactic size of constituents that contain them. The proposed analysis is couched within Porter et al’s (2019) syntactic analysis of UHs which posits the UH head, c°. It will be demonstrated that the varying embeddability of the Japanese UH markers is, for the most part, consistent with Porter et al’s proposal that c° is projected only at the root level, but we identify a few exceptional cases in which some radically ‘root-like’ embedded clauses can have their own cPs. We further suggest that an embedded UH is licensed via multiple Agree from the matrix clause, which makes the Japanese UH marking a kind of concord phenomenon.

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          Most cited references37

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          Adverbial Clauses, Main Clause Phenomena, and the Composition of the Left Periphery : The Cartography of Syntactic Structures, Volume 8

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            The speaker-addressee relation at the syntax-semantics interface

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              Locality and Extended Projection

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
                Open Library of the Humanities
                2397-1835
                September 15 2021
                November 25 2022
                : 44
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University of Delaware
                Article
                10.16995/glossa.7684
                a0b0211b-1ecf-4311-a2cf-784bfecb657f
                © 2022

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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