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When a speaker encounters a word-formulation problem in interaction, she may use a placeholder to saturate the syntactic slot of the target expression in the unfolding sentence. Japanese exhibits the placeholder are, which is assumed to derive from the demonstrative are ‘that.’ Despite rich studies on placeholders, no serious attention has been paid to grammatical parallelism and differences between a placeholder and its original lexical counterpart. In this paper, we focus on the nominal placeholder are (and its predicative variants) and the demonstrative are ‘that,’ and propose the set of criteria which capture their parallelism and differences in non-discrete terms.

In: Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale