Word order variability in Japanese conversation: Motivations and grammaticization

Tsuyoshi Ono, Ryoko Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


is widely accepted that Japanese is a strict verb-final language. However, r examination of conversational data reveals cases where elements are pressed after the predicate. These exceptions can be divided into two pes. The first type involves a break in intonation between the predicate id the following element or elements. In this type, after the predicate is pressed, a certain element (or elements) is expressed for such purposes further specification and repair. In the second type, the predicate and the llowing element or elements are expressed within one intonation contour. his type is further divided into two subtypes: The discourse-pragmatic type id the emotive type. In the discourse-pragmatic type, the element or eleents after the predicate serve a certain discourse-pragmatic function. These ements include adverbials, conjunctions and pronouns, and either indicate e speaker's stance toward the proposition or referent or create discourse) hesiveness. In the emotive type, an adjectival or nominal predicate which expresses such feelings as surprise and disgust is followed by a demonstrative. It is accompanied by an emotional intonation pattern. In this subtype, non-canonical order seems to be preferred over canonical order. The intonational and distributional characteristics of the two subtypes thus suggest that the non-canonical word order is becoming grammaticized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-446
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1992 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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