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Cognitive Linguistics

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Volume 22, Issue 4


A construction approach to innovative verbs in Japanese

Natsuko Tsujimura / Stuart Davis
Published Online: 2011-10-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.2011.029


Innovative verbs in Japanese are formed from nouns of various sources including loanwords, Sino-Japanese nouns, mimetics, and proper names. Regardless of their different origin, these innovative denominal verbs exhibit a collection of intriguing properties, ranging from phonological, morphological, to semantic and pragmatic. These properties are not strictly predictable from the component parts including the nature of the parent noun and verbal morphology. Such an unpredictable nature is suggestive of a constructional analysis. The form-meaning-function complex takes a templatic representation, which expresses the phonological and morphological characteristics, and associated with it are semantic and pragmatic properties. These phonological, morphological, semantic, and pragmatic properties combine to capture the nature of innovative denominal verbs as a construction. The analysis supports the idea of applying construction grammar to morphology along the lines of the developing field of construction morphology (e.g., Booij, Compounding and derivation: Evidence for construction morphology, John Benjamins, 2005, Construction morphology and the lexicon: 34–44, Cascadilla Press, 2007, Linguistische Berichte 19: 1–14, 2009a, Compounding and construction morphology, Oxford University Press, 2009b). We further show how insights from templatic (or prosodic) morphology (e.g., McCarthy and Prince, Prosodic morphology, University of Massachusetts and Brandeis University, 1986, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 8: 209–282, 1990) can be conceptualized in terms of construction grammar.

Keywords:: Innovative verbs; denominal verbs; construction; construction morphology; templates; prosodic morphology; Japanese; youth language

About the article

Address for correspondence: Natsuko Tsujimura, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Goodbody Hall 248, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.

Received: 2009-09-08

Accepted: 2010-05-17

Published Online: 2011-10-11

Published in Print: 2011-11-01

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, Volume 22, Issue 4, Pages 799–825, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.2011.029.

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