SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Seraku, Tohru and Gibson, Hannah (2016) 'A Dynamic Syntax modelling of Japanese and Rangi clefts: Parsing incrementality and the growth of interpretation.' Language Sciences, 56 (2016). pp. 45-67.

This is the latest version of this item.

Text - Accepted Version
Download (964kB) | Preview


Japanese and Rangi (a Bantu language) employ cleft constructions to encode pragmatic functions relating to discourse salience. In Japanese, a cleft is formed through the nominaliser ‘no,’ the topic marker ‘wa,’ and the copula ‘da.’ In Rangi, a cleft is formed through the copula ‘ní’ which appears before the focus. This article provides a description of clefts in these two unrelated languages; in particular, Rangi clefts have been understudied, and our description represents a first systematic treatment. The article also develops an account from the new perspective of how a cleft string is parsed left-to-right in an online manner (Dynamic Syntax; Cann, R. et al. 2005. The Dynamics of Language. Elsevier). We propose that a number of seemingly idiosyncratic syntactic properties of clefts in these languages (including new data on case-marking patterns of foci in Japanese clefts and the auxiliary placement in Rangi clefts) can be accounted for by reference to left-to-right, online parsing, and the restriction on structural underspecification that is an integral part of the framework. Our account also models parallelisms and differences in Japanese and Rangi clefts in terms of parsing-dynamics.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics > Department of Linguistics
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of Linguistics
ISSN: 03880001
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 03 May 2016 08:38

Altmetric Data

Available Versions of this Item


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item