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Pre-event Lectures (Aug 6th morning)


Lectures on the Japanese language from cognitive/typological perspectives

Data and Time: August 6th (Tue), 10:00-12:00

Place: Room #206, Building G, Kwansei Gakuin University

In this pre-event, which will take place on the ICLC 15 venue) three scholars will introduce various typological features of the Japanese language which are of interest to cognitive linguistic community. This event is co-sponsored by NINJAL Project on Crosslinguistic Studies. The participation is free for ICLC participants, but registration is needed. Use this google form. If you have a trouble in opening a google form, send your name and affiliation to


Topic 1: Deixis and subjectivity in Japanese (Yo Matsumoto, NINJAL)

The Japanese language has a rich set of deictic and other expressions making crucial reference to the conceptualizer/speaker (Uehara 2006). This is seen in the frequent use of deictic verbs of motion (e.g., kuru ‘come’) and the deictic verbs of giving (e.g., kure-ru ‘give to the person closer to the 1st person) as well as in the use of internal state predicates such as psych adjectives (e.g., kanashi-i ‘sad’) which can be used normally for the first person subject only. An experimental work illuminating the role of subjectivity in the use of motion verbs (Matsumoto et al 2018) and theoretical works linking such phenomena to cognitive linguistics are briefly surveyed.


Topic 2: Ideophones and iconicity in Japanese (Kimi Akita, Nagoya University)

Japanese has thousands of sound-symbolic lexemes known as ideophones (or mimetics). They cover a wide range of meanings, from sound (e.g., gatyagatya ‘clattering’) to movement (e.g., tobotobo ‘plodding’), texture (e.g., subesube ‘smooth’), and internal feelings (e.g., zokuzoku ‘thrilled’). Recent studies have revealed that Japanese ideophones are not merely iconic but highly systematic and integrated with the rest of the language (Akita & Pardeshi 2019). This talk outlines their formal and functional characteristics in light of a prototype-based, crosslinguistic definition of ideophones (Childs 1994; Dingemanse 2019).


Topic 3: Transitivity pairs and noun-modifying expressions in Japanese (Prashant Pardeshi, NINJAL)

In this talk I will take up two salient features of Japanese languages, namely, (1) lexical sets of morphologically related intransitive and transitive verbs, popularly known as transitivity pairs [yake-ru ‘be burnt/be grilled’ vs. yak-u ‘to burn/grill’; ak-u ‘be opened’ vs. ake-ru ‘to open’]) and (2) noun-modifying constructions (NMCs) such as fotoru okashi ‘lit. gain weight candies (candy (which is) such that one gains weight by eating it)’ and yaseru onsen ‘lit. become slim spa (a spa (which is) such that one loses weight by soaking in it)’.

As for the transitivity pairs, the issue of direction of derivation, if any, between the members of such transitivity pairs has been a topic of intense discussion in the field of linguistic typology. With regards to noun-modifying constructions the issue is how are they licensed despite the fact that they are structurally odd. In this talk I will introduce cognitive explanations offered in the literature pertaining to transitivity pairs and NMCs [Jacobsen (1985), Croft (1990), Haspelmath (1993), Matsumoto Yoshiko (1997), Shibatani (2017, 2018. 2019)].