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Auteur: Yukinori TAKUBO

Co-Auteur(s): Magdalena KAUFMANN, Department of Linguistics, University of Connecticut, USA Stefan KAUFMANN, Department of Linguistics, Northwestern University / Department of Linguistics, University of Connecticut, USA

The Japanese marker 'tokoro da': A case study in time and modality

Abstract/Résumé: The Japanese noun 'tokoro' (lit. place) has a grammaticalized variant as a formal noun with a temporal or modal interpretation (Takubo 2011). A typical use of this form occurs in the copula construction 'S-tokoro-da', where S is a sentence. The interpretation of this construction depends on the aspectual properties of S in ways which challenge standard theories of basic and derived statives, in particular the Progressive. We start by developing a formal analysis of the semantic effect of S's tense and (lexical or derived) aspect on the temporal interpretation of S-tokoro-da. With non-stative S, the role of 'tokoro' can be accounted for straightforwardly alongside other temporal words like 'toki' (when). However, the situation gets more complicated with stative S. Specifically, we focus on lexical statives and those derived with the aspectual morpheme -tei(ru). The latter can have both a Perfect and a Progressive interpretation. We observe an unexpected split in this domain: Under the Progressive reading, the interpretation of 'tokoro' is again purely temporal and similar to that of 'toki' (when); but with the Perfect reading of S-teiru 'S-teiru-tokoro-da' can only have a special modal interpretation meaning "S would have been the case" (under some implicit counterfactual supposition). In this respect, the Perfect patterns with lexical statives. In sum, we observe a split between Progressive and non-Progressive statives, which cannot be pinned either on the semantics of -tei(ru) or the distinction between lexical and derived statives. Instead, the crucial difference seems to be between the dynamic character of the Progressive vs. the static character of the Perfect and lexical statives. This situation raises two major theoretical questions: First, how can we account for the interplay between the various pieces of morphology in a compositional analysis? Second, why do static clauses with 'tokoro' result in a counterfactual interpretation? We propose a detailed formal analysis that addresses these questions.