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Oshima, David Y.: On the Semantics of the Japanese Infinitive/Gerund-Clause Constructions: Polysemy and Temporal Constraints

The Japanese infinitive-clause construction (InfCx) and gerund-clause construction (GerCx), which are the most basic subordination structures (considered as coordination structures by some) in the language, may convey a wide range of interclausal semantic relations, including ‘temporal sequence’, ‘cause’, and ‘manner’, largely due to pragmatic enrichment. This work addresses the question of what the core meaning(s) of the two constructions is (are), and demonstrates (i) that the InfCx and GerCx indicate either that the first-clause eventuality precedes or temporally subsumes the second-clause eventuality or that the two clauses stand in the rhetorical relation of contrast, and (ii) that the GerCx has a distinct sense that the InfCx lacks, which gives rise to the ‘resulting state’ interpretation.

Maintained by Stefan Müller

Created: October 12, 2012
Last modified: May 19, 2014

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