Study of Japanese Motion Verbs
Lee Seonhee
This paper is intended to study a lexical meaning, in particular, a categorical meaning, of appearance of Japanese motion verbs appearing in the corpus. And I try to show that the categorical meaning is also associated with various grammatical phenomena other than a syntactic phenomenon of a combination of a verb with a noun.
In this paper, a corpus is used to conduct an empirical study. It is 51 books that set as a corpus of this paper written by Japanese writers: writings such as novels and travels after 1945. The data used for this study comprises 21, 849 examples collected from the corpus concerning the examples of a total number of 45 word types.
Chapter 1: Case combining distribution of motion verbs
In Chapter 1, I showed that each motion verb appears in a combinatory frequency different from the noun of each case in the corpus although the motion verb has a common meaning, that is, the categorical meaning, of "motion" and has the same combining ability.
Chapter 2: Spatial motion expression: Categorical meaning in terms of the combinatory frequency between motion verbs and locative noun phrase
In chapter 2, I examined the combinatory frequency between a motion verb and a place noun phrase [which shows a departure point, a path (divided into a via-point and a route), a arrival point, a direction, and a destination] in the corpus and considered the categorical meaning of the motion verb from the combining distribution.
Judging from the categorical meaning of each verb appearing in the deviation of a combining frequency of the case, Japanese motion verbs can be classified into 5 categories (subordinate position classification into 21 kinds) of a) Departure-oriented verb, b) Path-oriented verb (Via-point-oriented verb, Route-oriented verb), c) Arrival-oriented verb, d) Destination-oriented verb, and e) Direction-oriented verb. I made it clear that the verb belonging to each category may have a side of the different lexical meaning on one hand even though it is a verb having the same categorical meaning and the lexical meaning of the verb is not only one-sided, but also multi-faceted.
I also made it appear that even the same motion verb has a different combination of a case between an animate figure and an inanimate figure.
Chapter 3: Fictive motion expression
In Chapter 3, I considered a fictive motion expression. Japanese expression of the fictive motion can be divided into "Place-figure motion expression" ("Hosoi michi ga gakko no mae wo hashiru" ("There is a narrow road running in front of a school") in which the location appears as a figure and "Ordinary-figure motion expression" in which ordinary people appear as the figure. There are also "Path depictive expression" ("Nikai no kyoshitsu ni yuku kaidan" (stairs for going to a classroom on the second floor") and "Access path expression" ("Saka wo orita tokoro ni omise ga aru" (There is a store at the bottom of the hill) in the "Ordinary-figure motion expression". I showed that these expressions will appear by different structures, respectively. And, I made it clear that the categorical meaning as the motion verb (expressing the spatial motion) is also related even to the fictive motion expression from the limits and the like of a verb seen in a structure showing these expressions.
Chapter 4: Semantic relations between occurrences in a complex sentence
In Chapter 4, I showed that the categorical meaning is also reflected in the semantic relationship between the antecedent and the consequent in a complex sentence that the predicative of a dependent clause is a motion verb.
First, the antecedent expressed by te-form combines with the consequent in the 7 semantic relations of a) location presentation, b) direction, c) spatial motion passage, d) situation, e) simultaneous progressive, f) condition, and g) manner. Each meaning is supported by a structure, but the categorical meaning of the verb is reflected in each structure. In particular, a verb showing a motion action shows a different semantic relation from a verb showing the change of location. Likewise, I showed that a manner verb has a different semantic aspect from other verbs.
Next, I studied the clauses such as "~suruto", "~shitara", and "~sureba" and showed that the categorical meaning of the verb is deeply related to these clauses even in the relation with the consequent and as a result, the verb classification of this paper was proven to be effective.
To show the perfect of action by "~suruto", "~shitara" and "~sureba" is the via-point verb, while to show the process of action is the route verb. However, even in the same route verb, if the route verb has two aspects, the meaning showing the perfect of action is stronger than that of the process of action. In particular, the manner verb showed a different behavior from other route verbs even taking the route structure, and as a result, the specific properties of the manner verb in the lexical meaning could be confirmed.
Chapter 5: Compound verb
In Chapter 5, I considered a constituent of a compound verb and the meaning thereof and showed that the categorical meaning of the motion verb clarified in Chapter 2 is also related to the compound verb.
In this Chapter, I studied three types of compound verbs: a) "Continuative form of motion verb+motion verb", b) "Continuative form of motion verb+hajimeru (to begin)/tsuzukeru (to continue)", c) "te-form of motion verb+iku (to go)/kuru (to come)".
First, referring to the compound verb forming a constituent of "Continuative form of motion verb+motion verb", there is a restriction to the verb shown in a word shown in the first verb and a verb shown in the second verb, but I showed that the categorical meaning of the motion verb is deeply related to the restriction. In particular, the first verb of the compound verb has a tendency to show an action verb, while the second verb has a tendency to show a change of location verb. However, I made it clear that a manner verb more easily appears in the first verb than other route verbs which are the same action verb and this verb is different from other route verbs.
Next, in the case of the compound verb forming a constituent of "Continuative form of motion verb+hajimeru/tsuzukeru", if the via-point verb and the route verb appear in the first verb of "~hajimeru" and "~tsuzukeru", it shows "start of action" and "continuation of action". However, if the change of location verb appears in the first verb, I confirmed that it shows "the repetitive action" and pointed out the difference between the verb expressing a motion action and the verb expressing the change of location.
Finally, I also considered the compound verb forming a constuituent of "te-form of a motion verb+iku/kuru". If the manner verb appears in the first verb, it functions as a subsidiary verb to express the manner. In this manner, it is possible to confirm that the manner verb is different from other verbs.
Further, on the whole, there is a higher tendency for the manner verb to appear as the first verb of "~kuru" than in "~iku" (2,651 among 4,647 examples). However, in the case of the action verb, there is a high tendency for the action verb to appear as the first verb of "~iku", while in the case of the change of location verb, it appears as the first verb of "~kuru". In particular, I confirmed that the pure arrival verb is more likely to be the first verb of "~kuru" and it has a different tendency than other verbs.
Chapter 6: Semantic description and illustrative sentences in the Japanese-language dictionary
In Chapter 6, comparing the semantic description of the current four Japanese-language dictionaries of "Kojien" (Sixth edition), "Shinmeikai Japanese Dictionary" (sixth edition), "Iwanami Japanese Dictionary" (sixth edition), and "Basic Japanese Verbs Usage Dictionary" (sixth edition) to my study results in this paper, I pointed out the inadequate points in the semantic description and presented examples of these dictionaries and made a new proposition of semantic descriptions based on the entire study of chapters 1 through 5. The semantic description and examples proposed in this paper are based on frequency in use and show not only the sentence pattern of each motion verb, but also the meaning of a co-occurring noun phrase, thereby being capable of correctly grasp the lexical meaning of the motion verbs.
In this study I studied a lexical meaning, in particular, a categorical meaning, of appearance of Japanese motion verbs appearing in the corpus. And I could clear that the verb belonging to each category may have a side of the different lexical meaning on one hand even though it is a verb having the same categorical meaning and the lexical meaning of the verb is not only one-sided, but also multi-faceted. In addition I showed that the categorical meaning is also associated with various grammatical phenomena.