LSA 211: Japanese and Korean historical syntax

John Whitman | session 2 | MW 10:30 – 12:15, 7205 Dwinelle Hall

Japanese and Korean have been the main targets of research on microparametric variation in two dimensions: as exemplars of head final languages, and as representatives of their linguistic area. Do the syntactic similarities go back in time? We begin by seeing that they do: both languages are diachronically characterized by one or more participial-type nominalizing patterns that served both to derive "high" nominalized complements and clausal modifiers of NP. The fate of these patterns was however different: in Japanese clausal nominalizations were reanalyzed as main clauses, while in Korean the nominalized complementation pattern was lost or reanalyzed.

After a brief diachronic overview, we examine the consequences of these changes for nominative and accusative licensing, the distribution of genitive subjects, the status of topic-marked subjects, negation, and the interpretation of questions.

Reading: Selected materials available online.

Prerequisites: None. All readings will be in English.

Areas of linguistics: Areal and historical linguistics; Syntax, semantics, and morphology; Languages of Eurasia

Banner design by Laurie Caird