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Auteur: Koichi TATEISHI

The Accentuation of the So-Called I-Ochi (/i/-Drop) Predicates in Japanese

Abstract/Résumé: Japanese I-Ochi (/i/-Drop) Construction, an expression of event evidentiality (e.g. Konno (2012)), has a peculiar accent pattern. In this construction, Japanese distinguishes between the mora-linked accent H tone and the floating one phonologically. The construction is often described as the “drop” of /i/-ending in adjectives followed by the moraic consonant (/Q/) suffixation. (1) akai “red” AkaQ! “(I recognize) It is this red!” However, this most often cited description misses two important characteristics of the construction. (2) a. It also appears with Adjectival Nouns, Verbal Nouns, and Nouns. b. Unaccentedness of the base stem is required. (3) a. Noun yamamori “heap” YamamoriQ! “It is a this much heap (of food)!” b. Adjectival Noun kodomo-na “childish” KodomoQ! “He/she/they is/are (behaving) this childish!” c. Verbal Noun kandoo-suru “be impressed” KandooQ! “I am this impressed!” (4) Accented Stem Not Allowed a. okáwari “another cup please” *OkáwariQ! *”He dare ask for another one!” (out in this sense) b. mánia “mania” *MániaQ! “He is such a maniac!” However, with adjectives, the /Q/-suffix can attach regardless of accentuation, but the output form is unaccented. (5) a. umái “tasty” b. UmaQ! “It is delicious!” (6) accounts for the pattern: (6) a. The /Q/-suffix has a floating accent H tone. b. The /Q/-suffix cannot attach to the accented stems because of the OCP effect of the two accent H’s. c. With adjectives, the /Q/-suffix can attach to it because the accent H-tone in adjectives is floating. With two floated H’s, one deletes. (6a) can be shown with the following example where the /i/-Drop sentence is embedded: (7) Kare-wa umáQ-to it-ta. He-TOPIC tasty-Q-that say-PAST “He said it is unexpectedly delicious.” The /Q/-suffix is accented. As /Q/ is a consonant, the accent emerges on the preceding vowel. (6b) is obvious. As for (6c), because the place of the accent in accented adjectives are predictable, the accent H in the lexicon is floating in the base forms. One H simply deletes. (8) umai + Q → umáQ H H H Japanese distinguishes between predictable floating accents and unpredictable linked ones. In other words, the account of Japanese accentuation cannot be completely output-based, because, at the output level, all accents except for some rare cases caused by the ellipsis are mora-linked. References Konno, Hiroyuki (2012) "The Japanese Adjectival Conjugational Ending Drop Construction: From a Syntax-Semantics Interface Perspective." Gengo Kenkyu 140 (The Linguistic Society of Japan): pp. 5-32. Pierrehumber, Janet B. and Mary Beckman (1988) Japanese Tone Structure. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.