Towards TOPOS: A Place for Space in the Japanese grammar



Year of publication 2017
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

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Description The existence of the particle wa in the system of Japanese language has been a source of great number of discussions within the broad field of Japanese language studies. The function of wa has been associated with the concept of SUBJECT (at least since Otsuki Fumihiko), later also with the concept of TOPIC, what eventually lead to classification of Japanese as “Topic-Prominent (and Subject-Prominent) Language” (Li & Thompson, 1976). Recently, a contrasting function of wa has become rather exposed within the studies of toritate (focusing and de-focusing expressions). The double function of wa presents several problems. From the view of information structure, several other “topic markers” can be identified (e.g. tte, toieba, nante, o etc.), which lefts the function of wa rather unclear. The relation of the “topic marker” and “toritate marker” functions is usually treated as a functional polysemy. The present paper takes the position of constructional approaches to grammar and presents a research aiming at establishing a general constructional schema for the [NP wa] construction. I call this schema TOPOS and argue for relevance of this category in the sentence structures of both Japanese and Czech language.

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