Canonical Word Order of Japanese Ditransitive Sentences: A Preliminary Investigation through a Grammaticality Judgment Survey

Yasumasa Shigenaga

Abstract


There have been three competing analyses regarding the canonical word order of Japanese ditransitive sentences: a) “S-ga IO-ni DO-o V” is the canonical word order rather than “S-ga DO-o IO-ni V”, b) both word orders are canonical, and c) the canonical word order depends on the type of the verb. The present study attempted to examine which of the three analyses might be most plausible through a grammaticality judgment survey. Twenty-seven native speakers of Japanese responded to a survey which consisted of three sections. While the data from one of the sections conformed to analysis a) above, the results of the two other sections remained inconclusive. A future study with a larger number of items and more refined survey methods, along with more studies from structural and psycholinguistic perspectives, would be necessary to clarify the point.


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