Chapter published in:Japanese Mood and Modality in Systemic Functional Linguistics: Theory and Application
Edited by Ken-Ichi Kadooka
[Not in series 234] 2021
A contrastive study of the English and Japanese modality systems
The main purpose of this chapter is to compare the modality systems of English and Japanese focusing on the subcategories of Modalization and Modulation. Since the definitions and the subcategorizations of modality are different from one researcher to another, the descriptions depend on the framework. The Systemic Functional framework is adopted as the main one in the analyses of English and Japanese modality systems. Halliday and Matthiessen (2014) subcategorize the system of Modality of English into Modalization and Modulation. Further, Modalization is divided into usuality and probability, and Modulation into obligation and inclination. Whereas the English Modality system is considered to be quite simple, Teruya (2007)’s subcategorization for the Japanese Modality system is far more complex: he divides Modalization into ability, probability and usuality, and Modulation into necessity, obligation, permission, expectation and inclination. Fukuda (2016) added evidentiality to Modalization, and Kadooka (2016) followed this addition.Then follow the syntactic analyses of the Modality expressions in Japanese. There are some positive/negative pairs with the polarity, such as ‘hituyou ga aru/nai’ (necessity + NOM + exist/does not, ‘there is necessity to/not to do something).’ One of the pairs of which the positive and the negative polarity belong to different categories is the permission ‘si-te mo ii’ (do + also + possible, ‘you can do’) and the obligatory ‘si-te wa nara-nai’ (do + top + possible-not, ‘you must not do’). Notice that the negation form ‘nara-nai’ does not have the positive counterpart ‘*naru’ in the sense that one can do something, which shows that there is asymmetry between the positive and the negative polarities with some verbs in Japanese. Together with such asymmetries, the negation patterns of the Japanese modality expressions are insightful from the viewpoints of lexicogrammar and semantics.
Keywords: Modulation, Modalization, negation, syntactic categories
Published online: 23 March 2021
Halliday, M. A. K.
Halliday, M. A. K. and C. M. I. M. Matthiessen
Martin, J. R., P. R. R. White