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A joint work with Youngju Kim (Hiroshima U.), Hiromu Sakai (Hiroshima U.), Sanae Tamura (Kyoto U.)
When the Japanese so-called “formal noun” koto attaches to a clause, the construction yields a sentential nominal. The previous studies (Kuno 1973, Josephs 1976) claim that the sentential nominal headed by koto denotes a more abstract concept (e.g., ‘state of affairs/fact’) than the ones headed by no, which denote more concrete objects (e.g., ‘event’). I present a novel set of data which shows that the sentential koto-nominal is not homogeneous in all linguistic contexts. In particular, the sentential koto-nominal can also denote a rather concrete entity, namely an event. In analyzing the data, we show that the semantic function of koto is uniform, but the sentential complement of koto is ambiguous between a full-fledged inflectional phrase and a reduced one, and that this syntactic difference has semantic consequences.
Semantics Research Group
Sponsored by the Global COE program Center for Advanced Research on Logic and Sensibility, Keio University
Last modified: 2010-06-30 20:00:08 JST