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date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides an overview of the analysis of null arguments in Japanese in terms of ellipsis. It addresses some of the examples that pose problems for the pronoun theory. The article also demonstrates the two analyses of null arguments in terms of ellipsis. It specifically describes the VP-ellipsis analysis and the NP-ellipsis analysis. Some implications of the ellipsis theory on the typology of languages with null arguments are then reported. Although NP-ellipsis is no doubt operative in the grammar of Japanese, it cannot be responsible for all the cases of elliptic null arguments, given that there are elliptic nominal arguments which are bigger than NP. The article considers several arguments that ellipsis analysis is empirically preferred. The hypothesis that argument ellipsis is closely tied to scrambling makes a number of Japanese-particular and cross-linguistic predictions.

Keywords: null arguments, VP, NP, pronoun theory, Japanese, argument ellipsis

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