This item is only available for download by members of the University of Illinois community. Students, faculty, and staff at the U of I may log in with your NetID and password to view the item. If you are trying to access an Illinois-restricted dissertation or thesis, you can request a copy through your library's Inter-Library Loan office or purchase a copy directly from ProQuest.
Tense and time in Japanese
Doctoral Committee Chair(s)
Department of Study
Degree Granting Institution
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This study deals with questions of tense and aspect in present-day Japanese, such as whether Japanese is an aspect language or a tense language or something else, what kinds of temporal relationships there are between the times indicated in the superordinate and subordinate clauses in the complex sentence, and what factors determine the temporal relationships.
Japanese has only two tenses, or tense forms, which are the nonpast tense (a.k.a. the ru-form) and the past tense (a.k.a. the ta-form) and these two have to play a number of roles. Some analysts contend that the tense forms are aspect formatives which indicate perfective and imperfective aspects. Other researchers, who are the majority, claim that the tense forms, particularly in the subordinate clause, can be tense or aspect. Our position is closer to the latter since we retrain the concepts of tense and aspect for Japanese but there is a fundamental difference between the common approach and ours. Our approach sticks to the orthodox definition of tense: whenever tense forms can designate times, they are tense. This definition is accepted by many analysts but is forgotten in their analyses of subordinate tenses.
Chapter 1 introduces the two tenses and their basic characteristics.
Chapter 2 examines Kunihiro's Aspect Theory, which claims that Japanese is an aspect language and the two tense forms are aspect markers, even in the simple sentence. We will refuse this theory and demonstrate that Japanese embraces both tense and aspect. Our concepts of tense and aspect are a little different from those that have been maintained by most analysts.
Chapter 3 is devoted to scrutiny of the tense forms in the complex sentence. Several works, including traditional and more recent ones, will be introduced and examined. During the course of analysis, our approach will be introduced.
Chapter 4 deals with more basic concepts of tense and aspect. This chapter also mentions major factors involved in determination of relationships between the two times in the complex sentence, such as combinations of tenses, types of conjunctions, types of constructions, and meaning.