Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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This paper investigates the weight of head nouns in noun-modifying constructions (NMCs) in conversational Japanese. In my data about 70% of head nouns are ‘light’, 20% of the nouns are ‘heavy’, and the remaining is in a ‘gray zone.’ As a close observation of NMCs reveals the issues of two-way light-heavy classification for heads, I establish six parameters according to which I can model the head nouns on a scale from ‘heaviest’ to ‘lightest.’ I argue that in NMCs ‘lighter’ heads are employed instead of ‘heavier’ ones. I also argue that usage of ‘heavy’ heads is further motivated by the factors: (a) pragmatic or referential concerns, and (b) fixed expressions.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): NMCs; scale of heaviness/lightness; weight of head nouns
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