[Japanese | English]
This study argues that the numeral “one” in Japanese acquired a new meaning as a result of the process of grammaticalization. I propose that in its new use, the Japanese counterpart of “one” is analyzed as a combination of the ‘down’-function proposed by Chierchia (1998) and the semantic content of the numeral “one”. The Chinese character which stands for the numeral “one” has two readings; hito (the native-Japanese reading) and iti (the Sino-Japanese reading). This study shows that these two readings underwent the process of grammaticalization in a similar way, but have different semantic requirements. Hito is specialized for event kinds and iti is specialized for object kinds.
Semantics Research Group
Last modified: 2016-07-19 12:54:40 JST