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LINGUIST List 19.154

Mon Jan 14 2008

Diss: Hist Ling: Abe: 'Space, Time, Subjectivity and Beyond: The co...'

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        1.    Sayaka Abe, Space, Time, Subjectivity and Beyond: The cognitive semantic development of the Japanese marker -te-shimau


Message 1: Space, Time, Subjectivity and Beyond: The cognitive semantic development of the Japanese marker -te-shimau
Date: 13-Jan-2008
From: Sayaka Abe <saabe2006yahoo.co.jp>
Subject: Space, Time, Subjectivity and Beyond: The cognitive semantic development of the Japanese marker -te-shimau
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Institution: State University of New York
Program: Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Sayaka Abe

Dissertation Title: Space, Time, Subjectivity and Beyond: The cognitive semantic development of the Japanese marker -te-shimau

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
                            Semantics

Subject Language(s): Japanese (jpn)

Dissertation Director:
David Fertig
Mitsuaki Shimojo
Leonard Talmy

Dissertation Abstract:

The present study investigates several types of common diachronic meaning
shifts through detailed synchronic and diachronic analyses of -te-shimau, a
marker of completion, lack of agency and negativity in present-day Japanese
(grammaticalized from the verb shimau 'to put away' or 'finish'), which
appears to undergo the following five types of shifts: 1) from spatial
meaning to temporal meaning; 2) from 'intentional' meaning to
'non-intentional' meaning; 3) toward subjective meaning (subjectification);
4) toward affective meaning (affectivization); and 5) toward
intersubjective meaning (intersubjectification). The study focuses on
subjectification.

Subjectification has been claimed to be unidirectional in nature. That is,
the meaning of linguistic items or constructions tends to become
increasingly situated in speaker's subjective belief state or attitude
toward described content, rather than going in the opposite direction
(Traugott 1989, 1995, Traugott and Dasher 2002, etc.).

The purpose of the present dissertation is to elucidate the nature of
subjectivity from the perspectives of cognitive semantics (Talmy 2000a, b)
and historical semantics and pragmatics (Traugott 1989, 2003, Traugott and
Dasher 2002) mainly in terms of: the factors involved in the types of
diachronic shifts mentioned above; the relationships among the shifts; and
the cognitive implications of the semantic shifts.

The synchronic analysis provides semantic descriptions of -te-shimau,
starting from a bottom-up characterization with twelve so-called
alternative semantic components, and includes an empirical study of how
native speakers interpret the usage of -te-shimau in conversation data
which illustrates how different functions of the marker often overlap in a
single instance when subjectivity and/or intersubjectivity are involved.
The patterns of overlapping, or layering, reflect certain reasoning
patterns or communicative strategies that are often culture-dependent.
Furthermore, the semantics of -te-shimau can be effectively characterized
using force dynamics and perspective (Talmy 1988a, b). The diachronic
analysis attempts to sort out the types of factors that need to be
considered for characterizing semantic shifts and then looks at the usage
of the marker in different historical stages from early-modern to
present-day Japanese, starting with a characterization of the lexical
meaning in the pre-grammaticalization stage, which has not previously been
investigated sufficiently. I show that the original meaning of lexical
shimau is best characterized as a hybrid notion between spatial and
temporal domains involving "inaccessibility". The initial
grammaticalization stage shows evidence of the complexity of the
interaction between the formal and the semantic sides of the transition
from shimau to -te-shimau. In the further grammaticalization stage, we see
increased use of -te-shimau with third person subjects in combination with
an increase of non-agentive usage, as well as a significant increase of
uses in which -te-shimau indicates lack of agency in the speakers' own
actions, or in state changes in which he/she is involved.

The dissertation shows that the marker -te-shimau is best characterized in
terms of layering of functions, the coexistence of senses with different
shades of (inter)subjectivity. The dissertation also suggests that the
meaning shifts can be interrelated to each other in complex ways.
Furthermore, the study highlights certain cognitive implications grounded
in the development of polysemy of (-te)-shimau and emphasizes the
effectiveness of schematic characterizations as well as a historical
semantic approach.





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