Grammaticalization in Japanese

Heiko Narrog and Toshio Ohori

in The Oxford Handbook of Grammaticalization

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199586783
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Grammaticalization in Japanese

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Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Linguistics
  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics
  • Language Families



This article considers the history of grammaticalisation in the Japanese language. It explains that Japanese has been a strictly head-final subject-object-verb order (SOV) language with nominative-accusative alignment, and with frequent omission of argument noun phrases, throughout its documented history. The first type of contact-induced grammaticalisation includes the rise of complex postpositions. In the spoken language there are only few genuine examples of grammatical influence due to language contact.

Keywords: Japanese language; grammaticalisation; SOV language; nominative-accusative alignment; noun phrases; complex postpositions; spoken language; language contact

Article.  3876 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics ; Language Families

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