University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


The Japanese verbal suffix -aw appears in reciprocal and non-reciprocal pluraction sentences. The syntax of the former instance has been studied in the literature (Ishii, 1989; Nishigauchi, 1992; Nakao, 2003; Bruening, 2004, 2006), while the semantics, especially in the latter use has not been studied (cf. Yamada, 2009). I present numerous examples of the non-reciprocal pluraction use of -aw and argue for a claim that the lexical meaning of -aw has a pluralization component over individuals and events and comes with a particular context dependent domain restriction for the event pluralization. Although I cannot discuss in detail, the present study will easily extend to the reciprocal use of -aw by adapting the idea of generalized pluralization operator n* (Sternefeld, 1999). Thus, it enhances the close connection between reciprocal and relational plural (Langendoen, 1978; Sternefeld, 1998; Sauerland, 1998; Beck, 2001, among others). Furthermore, the current study claims that -aw is a linguistic expression that gives the context dependent event/situation restriction that Beck (2001) speculates for one of the interpretations of English reciprocal sentences. Thus it also argues for the pragmatic nature of the event pluralization, in addition to the individual counterpart detailed in Schwarzschild (1998).