Verb semantics and argument realization in pre-modern Japanese: A comprehensive study of the basic syntax of pre-modern Japanese

Project Description:

This research project aims to investigate argument realization in detail for pre-modern Japanese, in essence giving a comprehensive account of the basic grammar of each of the stages of the language, from the beginning of its recorded history in the 8th century until the beginning of the 17th century. The time-depth and the quality and quantity of the sources through to the pre-modern period together make feasible a study of this kind which combines synchronic and diachronic perspectives. The results of the project will bear on the description and understanding of pre-modern Japanese and its changes through time, impacting on understanding and interpretation of earlier texts. The project is also expected to have implications for general linguistic theory, both with regards to frameworks for understanding verb semantics and clause structure, and with regards to the application of syntactic theory to ‘dead’ languages.