Professor Mari Takahashi

Area and Subject Taught Linguistics, English Linguistics
Research Theme(s) Grammatical theory of natural language, Syntax, Morphology, Comparison of English and Japanese
Academic Degrees Ph.D., University of Massachusetts
Keywords for Research Field Linguistics, Universal Grammar Theory, Syntax, Morphology,
Grammar Acquisition Theory
Office Phone Number 81-75-705-1879
e-mail Not Public

Research Overview

Sentence (1) below is a simple sentence containing a "verbal noun," but what is the predicate verb in this sentence? Many would say that since hokoku (report) is a noun, the verb is su /si /s- following it. However, a close analysis of this type of construction reveals that this su , like the "do" in interrogative and negative sentences in English, has no part in the syntax or semantic representation of the sentence, and in fact is a "dummy verb" inserted merely in the phonological component, while the predicate verb is hokoku . Because hokoku is a free verb, (1) requires insertion of su , unlike (3), which contains the bound verb tsutae . Meanwhile, sentence (2), which appears quite similar to (1) on the surface, is actually a "light verb construction" with su as the main verb, and in fact has more in common with sentences (4) and (6). It is extremely interesting that Japanese and English, which are geneologically distant, share similarities of this sort, and this can be seen as a valuable clue in the study of universal grammar. I plan to pursue further comparative analysis of Japanese "free verb" constructions and related constructions in English.
(1) Sityo-wa tizi-ni ziken-o hokoku si-ta . (The mayor reported the incident to the governor.)
(2) Sityo-wa tizi-ni ziken-no hokoku-o si-ta . (The mayor gave a report of the incident to the governor.)
(3) Sityo-wa tizi-ni ziken-o tutae-ta . (The mayor told the governor about the incident.)
(4) Minna sono ziken-ni bikkuri si-ta . (Everyone was surprised by the incident.)
(5) Did the mayor report the incident to the governor?
(6) The mayor gave a report of the incident to the governor.

Notable Publications and Works

  1. 『言葉のからくり―河上誓作教授退官記念論文集―』“The Mechanism of the Selection between Free Verbs and Bound Verbs inside Temporal Adverbials in Japanese,”2004, 英宝社.
  2. 『言語Vol.30, No.10』「日本語の拘束動詞文と自由動詞文の発音の違いについて」2001,大修館.
  3. The Syntax and the Morphology of Japanese Verbal Nouns , 2000, Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Linguistics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  4. 『新・認知心理学講座第3巻言語』(大津由紀雄編)「第4章文法の獲得」1995,東京大学出版会.