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GENGO KENKYU (Journal of the Linguistic Society of Japan)
Vol. 1993 (1993) No. 103 P 92-116



In this paper, we analyse the selectional characteristics of the two copulas “pen” and “kh_??_”, which figure in copular sentence patterns in Thai, and we subsequently reconsider Japanese copulative sentences on the basis of the results of the above analysis. The viewpoint of cognitive pragmatics is assumed throughout. We also point out correspon-dences between the copula-expressions of the two languages.
Our main claims in this paper are the following two points. The first is that the nature of the selectional restrictions on the two Thai copulas can be found in the degree of modality in the utterance, and is necessarily context-dependent. The second point is that the Japanese sentence pattern “A wa B ni naru” which does not mean ‘change of state’ can be recognized as one marked type of copula-expressions partially equivalent to the Thai copulative sentence pattern“A pen B”, whose degree of modality is high.
Consequently, we propose to label the Thai copula “pen” as the “mood-copula”, and assign the keyword “semi-copulative sentence pattern” to the Japanese “A wa B ni naru”, which includes the function verb ‘NARU’.
Our study is concerned with language universal and language-specific problems in copular sentences and modality.

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