Synchrony and Diachrony of Okinawan Kakari Musubi in Comparative Perspective with Premodern Japanese


Rumiko Shinzato and Leon A. Serafim bring a new dimension to kakari musubi (a type of focus construction, henceforth KM) research, incorporating Japanese and Western linguistic theories, and synthesizing Okinawan and Japanese scholarship. Specifically, they analyze still-extant Okinawan KM in comparative perspective with its now extinct Japanese counterpart, while also offering reconstructed Proto-Japonic forms. Major hypotheses on the origins and demise of KM with insight from Okinawan are also evaluated.

In addition, viewing KM as consisting of kakari particle + nominalized musubi predicate, they compare KM with its structural analogs, such as (1) Modern Japanese no-da, (2) its corollary in Japanese Western Periphery dialects, and (3) English it-clefts.

Finally, the authors apply iconicity-based analyses and grammaticalization theory, interpreting correspondences between deictic-origin particles, which are shared, their epistemically unique musubi forms, and their respective functions.
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Biographical Note

Rumiko Shinzato, Ph.D. (1984) University of Hawai‘i, is Professor of Japanese at Georgia Institute of Technology. She has published numerous book chapters and journal articles on topics such as aspect, evidentiality, subjectivity, grammaticalization and language maintenance.

Leon A. Serafim, Ph.D. (1984) Yale, was Associate Professor of Japanese at the University of Hawai‘i. He has published articles on Japonic (Ryukyuan and Japanese) (pre)history, and helped edit the Okinawan-English Wordbook and J/K 19. His current interests are, especially, grammaticalization and historical syntax.


All interested in the history of Japanese and Okinawan languages and anyone interested in the functional and syntactic aspects of the kakari musubi, focus, and nominalized sentence constructions.


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