Encounters with Japanese verbs: Caregiver sentences and the categorization of transitive and intransitive action verbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Familial Japanese has a high rate of noun phrase ellipsis and optional case marking. Because of these traits, caregiver sentences seldom allow for the specification of thematic roles and their syntactic encod ing. A model is proposed for the acquisition of the transitive and intransitive action verb classes in Japanese. The child matches action verbs to three semantic causal types: self-agentive, non-agentive, or causal agentive events. The model uses minimal sentences consisting of only a verb, its inflections, and auxiliaries by paying attention to: 1) the intentionality of the figure-patient referent, and 2) the expression of intentional, planned action by verb suffixes, auxiliaries and adverbs. A sample of 300 action verb sentences spoken by six Japanese care- givers to their two-year-old children, and previous research, support the plausibility of the model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-80
Number of pages24
JournalFirst Language
Volume9
Issue number25
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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