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Argument Realization and Case in Japanese  

Hideki Kishimoto

Japanese is a language where the grammatical status of arguments and adjuncts is marked exclusively by postnominal case markers, and various argument realization patterns can be assessed by their case marking. Since Japanese is categorized as a language of the nominative-accusative type typologically, the unmarked case-marking frame obtained for transitive predicates of the non-stative (or eventive) type is ‘nominative-accusative’. Nevertheless, transitive predicates falling into the stative class often have other case-marking alignments, such as ‘nominative-nominative’ and ‘dative-nominative’. Consequently, Japanese provides much more varying argument realization patterns than those expected from its typological character as a nominative-accusative language. In point of fact, argument marking can actually be much more elastic and variable, the variations being motivated by several linguistic factors. Arguments often have the option of receiving either syntactic or semantic case, with no difference in the logical or cognitive meaning (as in plural agent and source agent alternations) or depending on the meanings their predicate carry (as in locative alternation). The type of case marking that is not normally available in main clauses can sometimes be obtained in embedded contexts (i.e., in exceptional case marking and small-clause constructions). In complex predicates, including causative and indirect passive predicates, arguments are case-marked differently from their base clauses by virtue of suffixation, and their case patterns follow the mono-clausal case array, despite the fact that they have multi-clausal structures. Various case marking options are also made available for arguments by grammatical operations. Some processes instantiate a change on the grammatical relations and case marking of arguments with no affixation or embedding. Japanese has the grammatical process of subjectivization, creating extra (non-thematic) major subjects, many of which are identified as instances of ‘possessor raising’ (or argument ascension). There is another type of grammatical process, which reduces the number of arguments by virtue of incorporating a noun into the predicate, as found in the light verb constructions with suru ‘do’ and the complex adjective constructions formed on the negative adjective nai ‘non-existent.’


Morphology in Uralic Languages  

Anna Sőrés and Krisztina Hevér-Joly

Uralic languages are synthetic, agglutinative languages, overwhelmingly suffixing, and they have a rich inflectional morphology in both the nominal and the verbal domain. The Uralic family includes about 30 languages spoken in Europe and in North Eurasia and is traditionally divided into two branches: Finno-Ugric and Samoyed languages. The separation of the branches and subgroups is very distant in time; thus, these general morphological features show a notable variation. Agglutinating is a general feature but there are some syncretisms, fusions, and suppletions and all languages have postpositions beside suffixes and some of them have prepositions. Nouns and pronouns are inflected for number (singular, plural, and in some languages for dual), person, and case but not for gender. All Uralic languages have a case system. However, the number and the nature of the cases show a great variety: from 3 to 18 cases including grammatical cases (nominative, accusative, and genitive) and other spatial and non-spatial cases. A characteristic feature of these languages is the tripartite location system. The system of personal possessive markers is particularly interesting: the person and the number of the possessor and the number of the item possessed can be marked by suffixes. Combining the expression of possession and case, the morphotactic rules differ between the languages. Comparative and superlative adjectives can be also formed by inflection. Verbs are inflected for person/number, tense, and mood. Uralic languages generally do not have the canonical passive voice. A characteristic feature of Ugric languages is the double conjugation of transitive verbs depending on the definiteness of the direct object. As verbal aspect is not an inflectional category, certain languages use a rich system of preverbs or derivational suffixes to express aspect and Aktionsart.