We are very happy to announce the next talk in our syntax colloquium this term. Viktor Köhlich (Frankfurt) will talk about “Direct and Indirect  Modification in Japanese and the Japanese Word Class System”. The talk will take place online, please see the information below on how to participate.

Title: Direct and Indirect Modification in Japanese and the Japanese Word  Class System
Time : 18.01.2021
Place: Zoom (If you are not a regular member of the syntax colloquium and if you would like to listen to this talk, please contact Katharina Hartmann. You will be sent a link / ID to Zoom.)

Please find the abstract below. Your are all cordially invited.


In this talk, I will present the main ideas of my dissertation project. This project deals with the questions how prominent direct nominal modification is in Modern Standard Japanese and which elements act as exclusively direct modifiers. My goal is to defy the prevailing claim in the literature that Japanese lacks direct modification entirely. Embedding Japanese into the cartographic framework, I argue that depending on their syntactic source modifiers in general have access to indirect as well as direct modification. Instances of exclusively direct modification can be found in the representation of cross-linguistically attested groups of direct-only modifiers, such as relational or referential (non-intersective) adjectives as well as in language specific groups such as the so-called rentaishi (adnouns).

Interestingly, the afore-mentioned groups are predominantly expressed via lexemes that carry the morpheme –no in attributive position, a multifunctional morpheme, prototypically occurring between nominals where it marks case relations paving the for a possible reexamination of the Japanese word class system. I argue in favor of a third morphologically distinct adjective group which can be referred to as no-adjectives. However, as will be shown, this adjective group turns out to be rather hybrid as different lexemes show different degrees of morphological and syntactic fluctuation and paradigm-sharing with almost all other word classes, especially nouns and na-adjectives. Therefore, several subgroups should be identified.