Historical Changes in Japanese: Subjectivity and intersubjectivity
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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This paper investigates the correlation between semantic-pragmatic change of (inter)subjectification and its syntactic effects. It points out that the diachronic change of subjectification > intersubjectification (Traugott 2003) finds its synchronic counterpart in the rigid predicate order of Japanese. Furthermore, paying closer attention to a layered model in Japanese traditional linguistics, it claims that Japanese episodes of (inter)subjectification display core to peripheral positional shifts of grammaticalized items. In contrast, the opposite directionality is exhibited with the case of possible desubjectification (imperative > conditional). Putting these issues all together, the paper questions syntactic scope decrease as a parameter of grammaticalization, and supports instead structural scope increase, as in “C-command scope increase” (Tabor and Traugott 1998), “raising/upwards movement” (Roberts and Roussou 2003) and “syntactic impoverishment” (Company forthcoming a, b). Aside from this specific focus, this paper is also an attempt to synthesize the rich tradition of Japanese linguistic studies on subjectivity with their Western counterparts.


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