VP-Focus Pseudocleft Sentences in Japanese: An Argument for Question-Answer Pair Analysis


  • Yuki Ishihara Tokyo University of Technology


This paper examines properties of Japanese VP-focus pseudocleft sentences, and offers support for the question-pair analysis of pseudocleft sentences proposed by Ross (1972, 1979) and Den Dikken et al. (2000) among others. In Japanese pseudocleft sentences, a part denoting presupposition is linked to a part denoting focus by a sentence-final copula. The presuppositional part takes the form of a nominalized clause followed by the morphological topic marker, -wa. We point out this has exactly the same form as a fragment question, which can be regarded as direct evidence for the question-answer pair analysis. We also show that the occurrence of the same morpheme, such as a passive morpheme and a causative morpheme in both the presuppositional clause and the focus phrase at the same time can be explained naturally, if we consider that the presuppositional part and the focus phrase of pseudocleft sentences correspond to a question and its answer respectively.