Japanese Studies Seminar, 12 April 4 pm: ‘ -Ga or -O? Which one to use?’

Please join us in welcoming our newest Japanese Studies member on 12 April!

-Ga or -O? Which one to use? Some facts from a corpus-based and experimental study on linguistic variants in Japanese

Dr. Satoshi Nambu, Monash University
Date and Time 12 April 2017, 4 pm to 5 pm
Location Japanese Studies Centre Auditorium, Japanese Studies Centre
Monash University, Clayton campus
RSVP jocelyne.mohamudally@monash.edu
Afternoon tea will be served

In Japanese, when a transitive verb comes with a desiderative or potential form, the direct object can take the nominative marker -ga, instead of the expected accusative marker -o. Based on corpus data and three sets of experimental data (from two acceptability judgment experiments with written stimuli and one rating experiment with auditory stimuli), this talk presents substantial evidence for a linguistic condition that affects a choice of the particles with a desiderative predicate: adjacency between the object and its predicate. Along the line with the information structural theory, I discuss two factors related to the adjacency effect: a preverbal position with a default focus, and focushood of ga-marking. While the adjacency effect is suggested in the corpus data, the findings from the experiments reveal that (i) the adjacency effect is real, and (ii) it can be mitigated by prosodic or contextual cues signalling the focushood of the object, concluding that nominative-marking on the object indicates its focushood, i.e., that it is either the focus of the utterance or part thereof, whereas accusative-marking has no such information-structural bearing.

Dr. Nambu was appointed to a lectureship in Japanese Studies at Monash in 2016. Previously, he was a post-doctoral research fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, primarily engaging in his research at Tsuda College in Tokyo, Japan. Before that, he worked at the Department of Language Change and Variation of the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics. He earned his MA in Linguistics from University of Pennsylvania, and his PhD from Osaka University. His primary area of research is Japanese linguistics, mainly conducting quantitative analyses of data from corpora and experiments in order to pursue answers to questions on language use. His recent research focuses on language variation in Japanese, such as case alternation, from sociolinguistic, theoretical and psycholinguistic points of view.

Dr Satoshi Nambu Japanese Program at Monash University