Isolate: Japanese

Taro Kageyama

in The Oxford Handbook of Compounding

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199695720
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Isolate: Japanese

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology
  • Language Families


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A prominent feature of Japanese morphology is the pervasiveness of compounds in both lexical and syntactic domains, as opposed to the rather modest affixes and inflections. The most productive and most widespread are compounds involving verbs and other predicates. This chapter provides an overview of the richness and intricacy of Japanese compounds, and illuminates their intriguing properties not found in well-studied European languages. Section 28.1 addresses lexical compounds, and Section 28.2 syntax-related compounds. Section 28.3 pinpoints their theoretical implications.

Keywords: Japanese compounds; compounding; lexical compounds; syntax-related compounds

Article.  4852 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology ; Language Families

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