I am doing a research assignment on Japanese Syntax and I cannot seem to find any information regarding whether or not the Japanese language has V-T movement. Can anyone help with this?

1 Answer 1


I'm not exactly sure what "V-T" is, but I did Google and read about it.

Japanese is an extreme "pro-drop" language. Japanese drop pronouns, and a whole lot more, once context is mutually understood. Further, there are just 4 verb tenses. Next, not all sentences have verbs.

But, regarding clauses (that do have a "main verb" that describes the action of the subject) that "main verb" always comes last.

  • to make such a sentence into a question, you just add "ka" (and often use uptalk if speaking). No words are re-ordered, sometimes you can add something like a preposition.

And, there are no "helper verbs" like "could, would, might, will, have, ...". There is no "present perfect", subjunctive mood, "future tense", or anything that needs helpers. Well, except for "iru" to create a "present continuous" of "past continuous" tense". "iru" is the only helper and always follows the conjugated verb. The conjugated main verb and its helper are never re-ordered.

  • V-to-T movement does not always change the order of the verb-bearing morphemes and tense-bearing morphemes in relation to each other, just with relation to other words within the clause. You are right, that the word that is the verb (which also has the tense!) does come at the end, but the theory is not "where do they end up" but also "where do they start in the sentence before moving." Dec 22, 2019 at 4:25

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