An exploration into the world of experience: a systemic-functional interpretation of the grammar of Japanese
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 10:02 authored by Kazuhiro Teruya
This is a theory-based and corpus-based description of the grammar of modern Japanese. The thesis explores the world of meaning that is constituted by means of the grammar, and provides an account for the grammar of Japanese in general, and the transitivity system of Japanese in particular. That is, the thesis explores specifically how our experiences of the world of around us and inside us are construed by the grammar. The exploration is firmly based on systemic functional theory - a theory that offers a multidimensional interpretation of language as resource. Here language is seen as meaning potential, and is interpreted along the dimensions set by the theory - stratification, metafunction, axis, rank, delicacy and instantiation - which capture the mul-tidimensionality of language, and provide trinocular views of language, allowing us to see it 'from above', 'from around' and 'from below'. -- Such views obtained through the exploration will be presented very explicitly by means of the system network. It represents paradigmatic and syntag-matic relations of the recurrent grammatical patterns in the form of non-cyclical graph. The thesis explores in detail the domains of process type - processes of 'saying', 'sensing', 'being' and 'doing' - in terms of the theory of nuclear transitivity and, where appropriate, the theory of circumstantial transitivity. Each process type will be explored in the space of a chapter, and the characteristics of each of these process types will be modelled by means of the system network. -- The system network will provide us with a view of the global typological organization of the transitivity system as a resource for construing experience; the system network presents interrelated options as discrete grammatical categories. To adjust this typological view of the grammar, the thesis adopts a complementary perspective, i.e. a topological perspective. This perspective allows us to gain further insight into the organization of meaning, and it brings out indeterminate cases that in turn point to the overlapping semantic regions spreading across the domains of different process types. In other words, the thesis will explore the experiential domains of meaning and characterize them as a multidimensional elastic meaning space that construes our experience of the world around us and inside us.