Article published in:Noun-Modifying Clause Constructions in Languages of Eurasia: Rethinking theoretical and geographical boundaries
Edited by Yoshiko Matsumoto, Bernard Comrie and Peter Sells
[Typological Studies in Language 116] 2017
► pp. 23–43
General noun-modifying clause constructions in Japanese
Instances of Japanese clausal modification of a noun illustrate that Japanese exhibits a single construction, the general noun-modifying clause construction (GNMCC), in which a clause in the finite form precedes the head noun. The GNMCC expresses extensive grammatical and semantic relations between the head noun and the modifying clause with apparently fewer restrictions than in most other languages. This extensiveness is a likely reflection of such properties as the low referential density and the lack of explicit marking in Japanese of the relation between the main constituents, which, in turn, make the construal of the construction rely upon an aggregate of structural, semantic and pragmatic factors. The ubiquity of GNMCC instances may reflect the lack of available alternative constructions.
Keywords: Japanese, general noun-modifying construction, lack of explicit marking, construal, semantic and pragmatic factors
Published online: 28 February 2017
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