Date of Completion


Embargo Period


Major Advisor

Željko Boškovic

Associate Advisor

Jonathan Bobaljik

Associate Advisor

Mamoru Saito

Associate Advisor

Susi Wurmbrand

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


This thesis examines Case-licensing and its consequences. I claim that there are several cases where a DP is base-generated in SpecCP, and examine how it is Case-licensed. The relevant cases are the Exceptional Case-marking (ECM) construction in Japanese and the mean construction in English (as in What do you mean that I’m a liar?). In particular, I argue that the embedded subject of Japanese ECM is base-generated in SpecCP as a bare topic (i.e., it is an instance of embedded bare topicalization), and is Case-licensed by the matrix verb. I discuss two conflicting sets of data regarding Japanese ECM; one shows that the ECMed subject undergoes overt object shift, and the other shows that it remains in the embedded clause. I demonstrate that these data can all be successfully handled if the ECMed subject undergoes covert object shift. More generally, I argue for an approach where Case-licensing requires merger with a Case-licensing head (cf. Bošković 2007, Saito 2012). From this perspective, I investigate head excorporation theory (cf. Saito 2012, Shimada 2007, Tonoike 2009, etc.), under which heads are base-generated in complex forms such as v-V and C-T, and v and C excorporate and merge with VP and TP, respectively, projecting as vP and CP. I claim that covert head excorporation is crucially relevant to scope calculation in Japanese. I discuss an alternation between accusative objects and nominative objects in the potential construction in Japanese. Arguing for the claim that the structural position of these objects directly reflects their scope interpretation (with no Quantifier Raising involved), I argue that scope ambiguities arise depending on the options regarding which complex head the object merges with and head excorporation of the scope taking head. I extend the proposal to the causative construction in Japanese, and also provide an account of Case patterns in Japanese causatives.