John Whitman

LSA 211: Japanese and Korean historical syntax

I work on structural variation among languages, with a focus on the languages of East Asia: Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, in that order, in addition to a recent interest in Burmese and Karen languages. I was trained as a generative syntactician, but my dissertation was on the historical phonology of Japanese and Korean, and I retain an interest both comparative reconstruction and phonological theory. My most recent projects have been on the syntactic alignment of Old Japanese (with Yuko Yanagida), the structure of applicatives, and the the long-vexed question of the word order typology of Old Chinese and proto-Sino-Tibetan (with Redouane Djamouri and Waltraud Paul). I am spending my current sabbatical year at Tokyo University learning about the premodern Japanese system of kunten annotations of Chinese texts.

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