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Title: Aspect and argument structure in Japan
Author: Taoka, Chiaki
ISNI:       0000 0004 2703 557X
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2000
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Aspect, described by Comrie (1976: 3) as the `temporal structure of events', and argument structure are two important facets of verbal semantics. Individual verbs, in linguistic expressions, always occur with a certain tense-aspect (TA) construction such as the Present and the Present Progressive and with a certain argument linking construction such as the Transitive construction and the Resultative construction. Verbal lexical semantics combined with these constructions determine the grammaticality and acceptability of, and the interpretative sense of, a predicate phrase as a whole. Therefore, aspect and the argument structure of verbs are fundamental information every speaker has to know in using a certain language. Croft (2000) represents aspect as a two dimensional model, which has a time scale and a qualitative scale. Argument structure is derived directly from the causal structure where the force-dynamic relationship between participants in event determines the order of participants according to Croft (1990,1991,1993,1994ab, 1995ab, 1998a, 1999a). These are ranked in the causal order and mapped into syntactic arguments via the linking rules. These two dimensions of verbal semantics, which are independent but related, are represented in the causal-aspectual model (Croft 2000), which combines the two dimensional representation of aspect and of the force dynamic causal structure of events. The main purpose of this thesis is to apply the causal-aspectual representation of verbal semantics proposed by Croft (2000) to Japanese predicates. First of all, the aspectual dimension of Japanese predicates is focused on. I analyze forty-eight situation types of Japanese predicates in terms of their behaviour in relation to three constructions: the Present, the Te-iru, and the Past constructions. Through an examination of the situation types that occur in these constructions, the Present is revealed to have four senses, the Te-iru to have eight senses, and the Past to have eight senses. Secondly, I focus on both the causal and aspectual structures and analyse verbs of putting and removing in terms of the causal-aspectual model for two reasons. Firstly, these two classes of verbs are important because they refer to situation of motion and location which are within the essential experience of human beings. Secondly, since causal structures with these two classes of verbs have three arguments (agent, figure, and ground), they are more complicated than the structures involved in verbs that denote non-causal relations or that involve only two participants. The verbs are subcategorised mainly according to the linking constructions. Various occurrences of verbs with the constructions are examined and their semantic structures are represented in the causal-aspectual model. A semantic structure for each construction is also proposed. Finally, systematic differences between English and Japanese verbs of putting and removing are observed and syntactic asymmetries between the two verb classes are explained in terms of the differences between the semantic natures of the events that they denote.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available