From degree/manner adverbs to pragmatic particles in Japanese

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This is a corpus-based analysis of synchronic and diachronic variations of the Japanese degree adverbs <i>amari</i> &#8216;extremely&#8217; and <i>bakari</i> &#8216;about, to the extent&#8217;, and the manner adverb <i>yahari</i> &#8216;being still&#8217;. These variations are unique in that they are not constructions, but morphophonological variants. Further, variants of the same phonetic shape undergo parallel development. First, phonologically, each adverb set involves both expansion and truncation. Positionally, the newer variants shifted from sentence-internal to sentence-peripheral, and they expanded functionally as discourse/pragmatic particles, thereby semantically becoming more (inter)subjective. Contrastingly, each original form preserves its original features most. Second, such parallelism is motivated by &#8220;associative iconicity&#8221; (Fischer 1999) and &#8220;paradigmatic iconicity&#8221; (Krug 2000). Third, given the layered structure analyses of Japanese, the changes are conceivably interrelated. Fourth, this article presents a similar case in Korean for a comparison.


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