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Title: Tense and aspect in Old Japanese
Author: Trott, Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 4008 4835
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis analyses the nine main tense–aspect constructions in Old Japanese in more detail than ever before, exploiting the research possibilities created by the Oxford Corpus of Old Japanese. The commitment to close textual reading and the interpretation of examples in context that is characteristic of traditional Japanese scholarship is combined with a determination to explain the distributional data revealed by the Corpus. Large samples are used to produce quantitative semantic analyses, allowing a new perspective on multifunctional constructions from both synchronic and diachronic perspectives. All findings are placed within the wider perspective of cross-linguistic studies of tense and aspect, an approach often missing in Old Japanese scholarship. This thesis is the most comprehensive analysis of Old Japanese tense and aspect to date. Some traditional conclusions are challenged, and light is shed on many previously unexplained phenomena. Resultative constructions are discovered to be even more pervasive in Japanese than previously thought, with at least five of the nine con-structions I look at hypothesized to have begun as resultative constructions. In most cases these constructions have broadened to also denote ongoing activities, another characteristic of Japanese. This thesis thereby contributes to the cross-linguistic understanding of resultative constructions, and to the question of the validity and nature of the distinction between activities and states. It also shows the potential of an exemplar-based model of linguistic storage, which is seen to be a powerful tool for explaining both the multifunctionality of grammatical constructions and semantic change.
Supervisor: Frellesvig, Bjarke Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: East Asian languages ; linguistics ; Japanese ; tense ; aspect ; semantics ; historical linguistics ; corpus linguistics ; Old Japanese ; Nara period ; classical Japanese