Modality in Japanese

Författare: Lars Larm; University Of London Soas; []


Sammanfattning: This thesis offers a detailed structural account of a full range of grammatical markers available for the expression of modality in Japanese. Twenty modal expressions are systematically analyzed in the context of a Western typological approach, with special attention being paid to the issue of subjectivity, in the spirit of the indigenous grammatical tradition. The approach is a distributional one in which the elusive distinction between subjective and objective modality is subjected to scrutiny by the employment of a battery of overt tests. These diagnostics are designed to ensure that the theoretical distinction rests on empirical foundations. A distinctive mark of the present work is the attempt to make a genuine synthesis of ideas drawn from the Japanese tradition and Western linguistic theory, and it is emphasized that this amalgamation opens up new dimensions for the study of modality. The most important contribution of the Japanese grammarians is that they have highlighted the fact that the expression of subjectivity permeates linguistic coding, a theoretical insight which presents itself directly from the structural facts of Japanese. The methodological approach taken here, that is, the employment of both general and Japanese frameworks in combination with a strictly distributional approach, leads to a three-way analysis of modality: a morphological taxonomy, a semantic taxonomy, and a subjectivity-degree taxonomy. The thesis concludes with an indication of how the approach can be further extended.

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