Bare indeterminates in unconditionals

Ken Hiraiwa, Kimiko Nakanishi


Indeterminates in Japanese have been studied extensively since Kuroda (1965) and all the previous works share the descriptive generalization that indeterminates must co-occur with overt quantificational particles such as ka and (de)mo. We present novel data indicating that the Japanese indeterminates are licensed "bare" without the presence of an overt particle to associate with. Conversely, we also point out data in which the mere presence of mo fails to license an indeterminate. We argue that our long-standing understanding of indeterminates has been misguided and that what truly licenses a bare indeterminate is a covert Q-morpheme. Our analysis that a covert Q-morpheme is the licensor of bare indeterminates departs from the traditional view that indeterminates require the overt licensing particle ka or (de)mo.


indeterminates; unconditionals; alternatives; quantificational particles; question

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Copyright (c) 2020 Ken Hiraiwa, Kimiko Nakanishi

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