Edited by Martin Hilpert, Bert Cappelle and Ilse Depraetere
[Constructional Approaches to Language 32] 2021
► pp. 219–246
This paper examines koto imperatives (e.g., tōku-o mite unten-suru koto! ‘drive looking far ahead!’) in Japanese. With internal reconstruction, it is shown that koto imperatives not only underwent a process of pragmatic strengthening resulting in a new sense of modality, but also inherited the syntactic schema of the prototypical modal (raising-to-subject) construction. Given this new meaning associated with new syntax, it is proposed that koto imperatives are an instance of constructionalization. Given the similarities between koto imperatives and suspended clauses (Ohori, 1995), the current analysis also raises the possibility that constructionalization may take place or may be taking place with other emerging modality expressions in Japanese.