Irresponsibility marker: PART 2

bingfu bingfu at USC.EDU
Mon Apr 13 12:08:07 UTC 1998

Dear Hideaki,
	According the your description below, I cannot
see that _no_ serves as a canceler of the speaker's
responsibility about the truth of sentence.
Rather, it add some certainty, like Chinese _de_.
Would you please suply more example and explanation to
the true meaning of sentence final particle _no_.


On Mon, 13 Apr 1998, Hideaki Sugai wrote:

> Dear colleagues,
> In the last query on the irresponsibility marker in Japanese, I did not
> include much structural description of the language because I was
> primarily interested in the pragmatics and discourse of the sentence
> final particle _no_.  Thus it seems that some confusion was created.
> Let me clarify some of the confusion.
> A.  This particle appears in the sentence final position, and this is
> not a genetive, possessive, or "ligature", which connects two NPs.  The
> schematic representation of this marker is:
> [a clause or sentence] _no_ (or _n_) (desu, or the variation of "to be")
> Sentence		that		is
> Attaching a copula after a _no_ is optional (a copula cannot be directly
> connected after a clause without _no_ in modern Japanese).  It is
> interesting to note that in many languages, especially in Chinese
> dialects, the equivalent of this _no_ is phonetically the same as a
> genetive, possessive marker, "ligature", or the pronoun "one" as Bingfu
> mentioned (in Mandarin "de").
> 	The  _no_  in question is more like the complementizer "that".
> For those whose language does not have this marker, the following
> dialogue will give you the feeling of the structure. The literal
> translation of sentence B of the following dialogue should be something
> like "It is that John ate it", which is not a good English sentence.
> Therefore, usually the following is translated as a cleft sentence "It
> is John who ate it."
> (1)
> A:dare	ga	reizooko 	no	chokoreeto 	wo tabeta(_no_)
>    who	SUBJ	refrigerator	of	chocolate	OBJ ate   _no_
> "Who ate the chocolate in the refrerator?"
> B:John ga	tabeta (_n_	desu)
> John	SUB	eat	that	is
> "It's John who ate it."
> Notice that the sentences above do not have to have _no_s, but the
> pragmatic meaning of the bare sentences is different from the sentences
> with _no_.  I am also reluctant to call this _no_ a complementizer
> because in Japanese, this  _no_ in the sentence final position is more
> like a particle which does not participate much in configuring the
> structure of a sentence.  This should be a discourse marker rather than
> a possessive, genetive marker, ligature or a complementizer (and some
> Japanese language textbooks show that the equivalent in English is the
> discourse marker "You know".  I may be wrong about the structural
> description and pragmatic functions of this _no_, but I hope you get the
> feel of the structure of this interesting marker.
> B.  Mandarin and Indonesian.
> A parallel dialogue for (1) in Mandarin is (2), which I also showed last
> time.  This is usually called the "" structure in the
> literature, because as in Japanese, the exact structural description of
> this 'shi' "be" and 'de' "of" is hard to decide.
> (2) A: 	Shi 	shei 	chi le 		ping xiang li de ciao ke li?
> 	is	who	eat ASP 	refrigerator in of chocolate
> 	"Who ate the chocolate in the refrigerator?"
>     B: Shi John	chi	de.
> 	is John	eat	_no_
> 	"It was John who ate it."
> The Indonesian examples I found are as follow (all are taken from
> Sneddon 1996:151).  The following structure using _nya_ is traditionally
> considered as a marker that indicates the definiteness of a NP or a
> presupposition.
> (3)	Apa 	anjing _nya_ 	sudah   diberi 		makan?
> 	what	dog		alreay	to be given	eat
> 	"What has been fed to the dog?"
> (4)	Di mana	koran		_nya_?
> 	where		newspaper
> 	"Where is the newspaper?"
> (5)	Saya 	mau ke kantor 	pos 	tapi 	tidak tahu jalan_nya_
> 	I	want to office	post	but	don't know way
> 	" I want to go to the post office but I don't know the way."
> According to Sneddon, the first sentence assumes a dog is kept in the
> house, the second presupposes a newspaper is delivered, while in the
> third it is understood that there is a way to the post office. This
> superficially looks like the Japanese _no_, which marks a presupposition
> or uncontested knowledge and converts it to a challengeable information.
> Also this _nya_can be, interestingly, used as a ligature which connects
> a possessor to a possessed noun (1996:147).  	
> 	Therefore, it seems not just an accident that in Japanese,
> Mandarin (also as far as I know other Chinese dialects, such as Hokkien
> and Cantonese), and Indonesian, a marker originally used as a ligature
> can add some special modality or pragmatic function related to the truth
> of presupposition=uncontested knowledge if it appears in the sentence
> final position.
> 	My first query was aimed at gathering the following information.
> (1)  Is there a language which has a marker that cancels the truth of
> uncontested knowledge/presupposition and invites the hearer to challenge
> what the speaker has said?
> (2)  If there is, can the marker be also a genetive, possessive, or
> ligature of NPs?  Should a copula be accompanied with the marker?  These
> three languages show a slight structural difference:
> Japanese: _no_	is important, but copula is optional.
> Mandarin: copula seems more important than _de_.
> Indonesian: _nya_  is the only marker because in Indonesian, there isn't
> an overt copula "be" in its system.
> The structural similarity found in (2) may be superficial and if no
> pragmatic correlation is found, no universal claim can be made.
> Therefore, I am interested in what kind of reply in Mandarin, Indonesian
> or other languages is possible after this kind of sentence.
> Thank you,
> Reference
> James Neil Sneddon, 1996.  Indonesian Reference Grammar.  Austraria:
> Allen and Unwin
> Hideaki SUGAI
> Japanese Studies,
> Department of Japanese Studies

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list