The Cartography of RCs in Korean & Japanese:A Comparative-syntactic Approach

YongSuk Yoo1, Myung-Kwan Park2,*
Author Information & Copyright
1Korea Naval Academy
2Dongguk University
*Corresponding Author : Professor, Department of English, Dongguk University 30, 1-gil, Pildong-ro, Chung-gu, Seoul 04620, Korea, E-mail:

ⓒ Copyright 2018 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Nov 12, 2018 ; Revised: Dec 23, 2018 ; Accepted: Dec 24, 2018

Published Online: Dec 31, 2018


This paper shows that the difference in the structure of relative clauses (RCs) in Korean and Japanese determines the availability of say-omission/contraction in these two languages. Specifically, in addition to providing a novel observation about say-omission/contraction in Korean and Japanese, we argue that this phenomenon is attributed to the presence of a CP layer in RCs in Korean (Yoon 1990, Han 1992 among many others), but to the lack thereof in Japanese (Saito 1985; Murasugi 1991; Taguchi 2008; Miyagawa 2011; among many others). We argue that RC-internal say-omission/contraction in Korean is an instance of TP-ellipsis. We adopt the theory of ellipsis in Bošković (2014), where deletion can target phases or the complements of phasal heads. Thus, the subject, the object, and the complement clause of say within the RCs of Korean are moved out of and survive an elison of TP (i.e., the complement of the phasal head C) because of the presence of the CP-domain providing a landing site, whereas in Japanese such an option is not available.

Keywords: relative clause; say-omission; TP ellipsis; extraction out of ellipsis; phasal head



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