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ISSN : 1226-3206(Print)
Studies in Modern Grammar Vol.104 pp.93-112

Reconsidering Null Arguments in East Asian Languages: Null Arguments as Anaphoric Definites

Myung-Kwan Park


This paper assesses the last two-decade studies of null arguments in East Asian languages. Unlike the predecessors, these studies have concentrated lopsidedly on the distribution of null arguments in VP/TP ellipsis or anaphora contexts, thus hampering the proper identification of null arguments in these languages. Grounded on the observation that null arguments cannot be used as indefinites in radically pro-drop languages (Holmberg 2016), we go on to note that in non-ellipsis or non-anaphora contexts, null arguments in East Asian languages are either unique weak or anaphoric strong definites. Particularly, the latter use of null arguments sheds new lights on accounting for the long-standing puzzles such as Huang’s (1984) paradigm in Mandarin Chinese and Abe’s (2009, 2014) paradigm in Japanese, on top of the sundry distributions of null arguments in Korean. We suggest that null arguments in VP/TP ellipsis or anaphora contexts in East Asian languages can receive a proper analysis based on their syntactic identity in non-ellipsis or non-anaphora contexts.

동아시아어의 영논항을 다시 생각한다: 조응적 한정 표현으로서의 영논항

* 동국대학교 교수