GENGO KENKYU (Journal of the Linguistic Society of Japan)
On the epistemic modality of Japanese
Author information

Volume 1992 (1992) Issue 101 Pages 64-83

Download PDF (1501K) Contact us

In Japanese, there are two kinds of forms which stand for epistemic modality(EM) : one type 'daroo' can be used in questions, and the other-so-called secondary modal forms(e. g. 'kamoshirenai')-can not.This paper explains this phenomenon and analyzes the meaning and function of 'daroo' in relation to a new discourse model in Japanese.
EM implies that the contradictory assumption is also probable in the supposed world. On the other hand, a typical question stands for the optional relation of the supposed worlds. Because of this relation, the secondary modal forms can not be used in questions. For example, a collocation such as *kare-wa tabun ichinensei kamoshirenaika ?(Lit.Possibly, may he be a freshman?) is ungrammatical.
'Daroo' however can be used in. quetions. The meaning of 'daroo'should be regarded as the indicator of judgement-forming process(IJFP)in discourse. In questions, 'daroo' functions as the moderation of the demand for a clear answer. In declarative sentences, 'daroo' means possibility, in case the hearer's information is neglected, but- if the hearer's information is mentioned, 'daroo' means a sort of confirmation. These phenomena can be explained if we assume that IJFP can involve the hearer's judgement in the discourse, and these arguments are supported by morphological evidence.

Information related to the author
© The Linguistic Society of Japan
Previous article Next article

Recently visited articles