Article published in:Historical Changes in Japanese: Subjectivity and intersubjectivity
Edited by Noriko O. Onodera and Ryoko Suzuki
[Journal of Historical Pragmatics 8:2] 2007
► pp. 269–294
Modality and grammaticalization in Japanese
Grammaticalization of modal markers has long been thought of in terms of change from deontic to epistemic meaning. This change, then, is typically thought of as a mapping between conceptual domains. Contrary to this perception, I argue in this paper that (1) change from deontic to epistemic (that is, the acquisition of epistemic meaning by deontic markers), although salient in many European languages, is cross-linguistically a marginal tendency, (2), the cross-linguistically most salient tendency in the development of modal markers is towards greater speaker-orientation, and (3), this change can best be explained by primarily referring to pragmatic processes, rather than conceptual processes. I substantiate my claims by analyzing the cross-linguistic modality data in Bybee et al. (1994), by providing a catalogue of etymologies of Modern Japanese modal markers, and by analyzing the polysemy and semantic change of one specific marker in Japanese language history (-be-si) in detail.
Keywords: modality, Japanese, grammaticalization, speaker-orientation, subjectification, deontic and epistemic
Published online: 27 June 2007
Cited by 7 other publications
Grossman, Eitan & Stéphane Polis
Heim, Johannes M.
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