What typology reveals about modality 
in Japanese

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This paper presents a functional-typological analysis of three linguistic manifestations of modality-related phenomena in Japanese. When compared with English, German, and Korean, Japanese is characterized by a modal system that encodes event, epistemic, and evidential modalities, and a relatively impoverished grammatical mood, as well as a rich discourse system of sentence-final particles that can be grouped into speaker-oriented and hearer-oriented particles. The modality system in Japanese demonstrates a relatively high degree of elaboration in formal coding of evidential and discourse modalities. The cross-linguistic differences in the degrees of elaboration among different subcategories of modality as presented in this study require an explanation beyond the confines of grammar to find a link between grammar and other cognitive and communicative systems.


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