Valid HTML 4.01!

Bernard Lamers' Research Homepage

Last updated: March 25, 2003

Information Technology Center
University of Tokyo
7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
113-0033 Japan

Bernard Lamers
Ph. D. Student
(M.A. in Japanese,
M.Sc. in Interdisciplinary Information Studies, specialty Computational Linguistics)

Tel: +81-3-5841-2742

E-mail: bernard@nospam
Please replace 'nospam' with '' before sending mail.


Research Interests

Publications under preparation

The inadequacy of the Double-o Constraint: abstract

Japanese marks nouns with particles to indicate their grammatical function. The relationship between particles and grammatical functions however is not exclusive: a particle may be used as marker for more than one grammatical function, and a grammatical function may be expressed by more than one marker. This results in sentences in which one marker occurs more than once. The particle ga for example, usually a subject indicator, may -depending on the predicate- also be used as object indicator, as in Boku ga susi ga suki da. (I like sushi). The particle o can be used as object-marker or causee-marker. We would thus expect constructions like: *Boku ga Takasi o musi o tabesaseta. (I made Takashi eat an insect). Surprisingly, this sentence turns out to be ungrammatical. In order to account for this fact, the Double-o Constraint was defined. This constraint forbids multiple occurences of o-phrases within a single clause, and hence correctly rules out the earlier example sentence.

The Double-o Constraint has become a de facto standard in the analysis of the Japanese causative construction. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any motivation for this constraint in constructions other than the causative. Even worse, the Japanese causative construction is so complex, that the Double-o Constraint alone will not be helpful in explaining the data. This paper will show that at least two more constraints are necessary to successfully capture the Japanese causative data.

An analysis of the causative construction based on three constraints however is neither very elegant nor insightful. This paper unfolds a completely new analysis of the Japanese causative, partly basing itself on particular behavior of the causative which no paper addressed so far. The theory presented provides a clear, yet powerful mechanism to explain the whole spectrum of causative data. Also, being firmly rooted in a mapping mechanism of semantic features to syntactic particles, this approach provides further support for the idea that semantics guide syntax, and syntax reflects semantics.

This paper was presented at the March 22, 2002 meeting of the Semantics Group of Tokyo University and also at the December 5, 2002 meeting of the Linguistics Group of Waseda University.

Reference material for presentations held at the Nakagawa/Sugimoto study sessions

Nakagawa Lab Study Session Portal Site
Probably only interesting for lab-members (Japanese).
Hiroshi Nakagawa's homepage
The homepage of my present supervisor.
Makoto Kanazawa's homepage
The homepage of my former supervisor.
Christopher Manning's home page
One of the authors of the famous Foundations of Statistical Natural Language Processing.
Beth C. Levin's home page
Wrote some very interesting books on the semantics-syntax interface in English.
General academic links
NEC Research Institute ResearchIndex
Useful for finding the academic papers of your interest.
HyperStat Online
An Introductory Statistics Book and Online Tutorial for Help in Statistics Courses.
About Statistical Analysis and Datamining
A site on the above topics (Japanese).
Parsers for Japanese
A parser developed by Tsujii Laboratory, Tokyo University.
Morphological and Syntactic LR Parser
A parser from the Tokyo Institute of Technology.