Probing the nature of an island constraint with a parsed corpus
A case study on the Coordinate Structure Constraint in Japanese
This paper presents a case study of the use of the NINJAL Parsed Corpus of Modern Japanese (NPCMJ) for syntactic research. NPCMJ is the first phrase structure-based treebank for Japanese that is specifically designed for application in linguistic (in addition to NLP) research. After discussing some basic methodological issues pertaining to the use of treebanks for theoretical linguistics research, we introduce our case study on the status of the Coordinate Structure Constraint (CSC) in Japanese, showing that NPCMJ enables us to easily retrieve examples that support one of the key claims of Kubota and Lee (2015): that the CSC should be viewed as a pragmatic, rather than a syntactic constraint. The corpus-based study we conducted moreover revealed a previously unnoticed tendency that was highly relevant for further clarifying the principles governing the empirical data in question. We conclude the paper by briefly discussing some further methodological issues brought up by our case study pertaining to the relationship between linguistic research and corpus development.