GENGO KENKYU (Journal of the Linguistic Society of Japan)
Online ISSN : 2185-6710
Print ISSN : 0024-3914
Modality in Verbs of Central and Southern Okinawan Dialects
Shinsho MIYARA
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Volume 2002 (2002) Issue 122 Pages 79-113

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Abstract

In the present investigation, it is claimed that, in the group of dialects spoken in the central and southern parts of the Okinawan mainisland, there is a position of modality signaled by inflectional forms of verbs. The modality involves the notion of certainty, and occupies its own morphological position in the ordering of Verb Root (+ Aspect [durative]) (+Negative) (+Style [{honorific, polite}]) (+Modal) (+Tense)+Mood. Modal distinctions are made by the morpheme /+yi/ ‘to be certain, ’ conveying information about a past, event directly acquired through observation, and the other /+tee/‘to be less certain, ’conveying information about the preceding event inferred from observation at the time of the utterance. In the case of the absence of such distinctions, information about the past is taken to be through hearsay. As expected, the two modal forms neither co-occur with the first person subject in the declarative sentence nor with the second person subject in the interrogative, because neither the speaker nor the hearer can observe his/her own act. It is shown that the modal form /+yi/ neither co-occurs with the non-past tense nor with the negative, because only the past event can be subjectively observed and the negated event itself cannot be observed. However, it is argued that, if the speaker's act is in his/her dream or in the subjunctive world, it can be the object of direct observation.

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