Past Seminars

Spring Term 2022

Monday, May 23 (16:15–18:00, Room: H402 or Zoom (hybrid))

Speaker: Lisa Lai-Shen Cheng (Leiden University)
Title: The “lightness” of verbs and verbalizers

In this talk, I address the question of whether the little v is the same as the verbalizers under Distributive Morphology. I use  ‘hit’ in Mandarin Chinese as a case study. I examine its use as a light verb, as a verbalizer, and as a real verb. I also discuss the V+N combinations in Mandarin, and the lack of denominal verbs in Mandarin. I argue that the little v is not the same as the light verb, and I discuss whether or not roots are completely devoid of categorial status.

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Monday, May 2 (15:15–17:00, Room: H402)

Speaker: Arthur Holmer (SOL)
Title: Relativization in Kammu


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The Austroasiatic language Kammu has several strategies for relativization, one of which is used for relativization in general, as well as for giving a restrictive reading to adjectives, whereas other strategies are used more specifically to relativize grammatical objects and locations. In the talk an overview of the various constructions will be given, and the functions of the constructions compared, also showing how these constructions interact with other phenomena in the Kammu clause.

Monday, April 11 (16:15–18:00, Zoom)

Speaker: Miho Inaba (Cardiff University)
Title: Japanese pop culture and informal language learning activities

Informal language learning undertaken outside of the classroom has recently been the focus of increasing attention for research, because the development of ICT has significantly transformed the language learning environment. Learners of Japanese provide us with insightful examples, because the popularity of Japanese pop culture overseas in combination with ICT development has led to the availability of various authentic resources in Japanese, such as anime (Japanese cartoons), manga (Japanese comic books) and films.

In this talk, I will discuss the various informal language learning activities undertaken by learners of Japanese, what factors facilitate such activities, and how they undertake these activities, using the examples of university students in Australia and Sweden. Based on the discussion, I will also present the pedagogical implications for facilitating informal language learning outside of the classroom.

Monday, March 21 (16:00–17:30, Zoom)

Speaker: Shin Ishihara (SOL)
Title: How to practice pronunciation (of Japanese) at home

This is a practical tutorial on how to practice pronunciation (of Japanese) using speech analysis software Praat ( and Online Japanese Accent Dictionary (OJAD, Although I will use Japanese resources to illustrate how to use Praat (record & play utterances, visualize recorded utterances, etc.), it can in principle be used for pronunciation training of any other language.

It is recommended to download the latest version of Praat from the Praat website ( before attending the tutorial.

Fall Term 2021

Monday, December 6 (13:15–14:00, Zoom – registration required)

Presentations of two BA theses from the subject of Japapnese (Part 2)

Speaker: Liv Danjoux (SOL)
Title: Disarray in the language: A sociolinguistic study of kotoba no midare

The following thesis investigates Japanese native speakers’ attitudes towards linguistic changes and the degree to which they associate it with social aspects and changes on a wider-encompassing spectrum. More specifically, the study looks at the phenomenon commonly known as kotoba no midare (“disarray in the language”), a notion that has long been part of the Japanese public discourse surrounding language change. Over the years, various researchers have attributed the concerns regarding kotoba no midare to worries about social problems on a wider scale. The objective of this thesis is to examine to what extent the aforementioned assertions hold water. Furthermore, it also aims to provide a more general overview of how native speakers of Japanese consider linguistic change. The results of the study indicate that the respondents associate language change with social change to a high degree, and that they also view midare as being interlinked with social aspects to a lesser extent.

Monday, November 22 (15:15–17:00, Zoom – registration required)

Presentations of two BA theses from the subject of Japapnese (Part 1)

Speaker: Joachim Wahlquist (SOL)
Title: The Historical Kana Orthography: A Study of the Present-day Understanding of the Old Orthography

The Japanese writing system has gone through a variety of changes over the years, one of these being the abolishment of the historical kana orthographical system in 1946. This system of writing, which was based on the historical and ancient writing of the kana from many centuries before 1946, had evolved into a system that was very different from the spoken language and hereby the reforms quickly came to end much of the formal usage of the system. This study tries to ascertain the modern general knowledge among Japanese people of the old writing system. In addition to this, the study also attempts to answer a multitude of secondary questions that asks what factors affected the results, where Japanese people claim to have seen the system applied and what Japanese people think of the historical kana orthography. To this end the study conducted a survey of which the results of 76 different individuals were tallied up to answer the questions asked. The outcome showed that Japanese people on average got 51% of the questions which asked the participants to choose, out of multiple options, the right historical kana orthographical spelling of a modern word right and 21% almost correct. It was also concluded that the Japanese people on average got 90% of the self-written answers, which made the participants write a historical kana orthographic word into modern Japanese, right. There did not seem to exist any clear correlation between gender, age, reading habits, education and the results. In regards to where people had seen it employed, many claim to have seen it used in Japanese lessons and in books. In regards to Japanese people’s thoughts of the system most were apathetic to the historical kana orthography and with this the average claimed to not want to see the system used to a greater extent.

Monday, November 1 (15:15–17:00, Zoom – registration required)

Speakers: Shin Ishihara & Nick Kalivoda (SOL)
Title: Match Theory: An Overview

In this talk, we introduce Match Theory, an Optimality-Theoretic approach to the syntax–phonology interface proposed by Selkirk (2011), using mostly Japanese data as examples. The theory states that a family of Match constraints favor syntax–prosody isomorphism, but that these can be outranked by constraints on prosodic wellformedness and/or information structure, resulting in certain principled mismatches. We compare Match Theory to previous OT approaches involving edge-alignment, and discuss several outstanding issues for Match Theory such as the proper treatment of asymmetries in syntax–prosody matching.


Monday, October 18 (13:15–15:00 — NB unusual time, Zoom – registration required)

Speaker: Stephen Matthews (University of Hong Kong)
Title: Some unresolved problems in Cantonese grammar

Despite growing sophistication in studies of the grammar of Cantonese, some rather basic issues remain poorly understood. Two such problems are addressed in this talk.

One basic problem involves the description and analysis of 'bare classifier' Noun Phrases taking the form [Classifier Noun]. In Cantonese such phrases allow definite interpretations as in (1):

(1) 間 屋 太 貴
     gaan2 uk1 taai3 gwai3
    'The house is too expensive.'

At least three approaches are prominent: (i) Cantonese allows omission of a demonstrative, allowing the 'bare classifier' structure to be assimilated to a general or 'universal' Chinese grammar (Chao 1968); (ii) classifiers function as definite articles (Chao 1949) or as D (Cheng & Sybesma 1999, 2012); (iii) classifiers themselves may have referential properties as in Miao (Bisang 1993, 1999), a property which may have entered Cantonese through substrate influence (Matthews 2006). These proposals will be reviewed critically.

A second problem involves the status of complementizers. Two recurrent proposals are that (i) items such as Cantonese 話 waa6 are complementizers (Chui 1994, Yeung 2006); (ii) Sentence-final particles such as 喎 wo5 occupy the COMP position (Law 1990, Li  & Sybesma 2007). These proposals are in conflict inasmuch as they imply left-headed and right-headed CPs coexisting in the same language, and even in the same clause in cases such as (2):

(2) 佢 同 我 講  話 冇 錢 喎
     keoi5 tung4 ngo5 gong2 waa6 mou5 cin2 wo5
    'He told me had had no money'

From the perspective of grammaticalization, 話 waa6 has been treated as a semi-complementizer (Chappell 2008). How is such a semi-complementizer to be treated synchronically? Evidence mentioned by Chappell argues against the possibility that such elements form a CP with the following clause, calling for an alternative analysis.


Monday, September 27 (15:15–17:00, Zoom)

Speaker: Arthur Holmer (SOL)
Title: Reflexive pronouns in Kammu and beyond



The reflexive pronouns in the Autro-Asiatic language Kammu, spoken in northern Laos, have several properties which distinguish them from reflexives in other languages often discussed in the literature. Kammu has long-distance reflexives (where the reflexive in a subordinate clause can refer back to the subject in the main clause), but they behave quite differently in Kammu from other languages with long-distance reflexives (such as Chinese, Japanese and Icelandic). The differences and similarities will be outlined, and other uses of the Kammu reflexive pronouns will be presented, including surprising parallels to both Spanish and Swedish, which may give clues to some underlying properties of reflexives which do not deal with coreference.

Spring Term 2021

Monday, May 3 (15:15–17:00, Zoom – registration required)

Speaker: Shin-Sook Kim and Peter Sells (University of York)

Title: The scope of negation in Korean and how it licenses negative polarity items

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In this talk we will consider how to diagnose the scope of negation within the clause in Korean, with a view of using that to motivate the correct semantic analysis of a negative polarity item (NPI) such as amwu-to ‘anyone’, amwu kes-to‘anything’, which must appear in negative-marked clause, and of the “exceptive” pakkey, which must combine with negation and means ‘only’. Simple examples are given in (1-2); essentially parallel examples can be given for Japanese.

(1)   olhay-nun        amwu-to    samwusil-ey   ka-ci            anh-nun-ta
        this year-TOP  anyone      office-to          go-COMP   NEG-PROC-DECL
        ‘This year, no one goes to the office.’

(2)   na-nun     Mina-pakkey     manna-ci     anh-ass-ta
       I-TOP     Mina-“except”     meet-COMP    NEG-PAST-DECL 
       ‘I met only Mina.’ (‘I didn’t meet anyone but Mina.’)

Negation in Korean and Japanese is marked on or near the verb, around the end of clause (shown by neg in (1-2)); it may be quite flexible as to how much of the clause it scopes over semantically. The fundamental issue in the analysis of NPIs derives from the logical equivalence of  ¬∃ and ∀¬; for instance, for the amwu-to type, is it a narrow-scope existential within the scope of negation or is it a wide-scope universal which outscopes negation? There has been considerable discussion of this in the relevant literature on the syntax and semantics of Japanese and Korean, but no really strong evidence has emerged (e.g. Sells and Kim 2006, Shimoyama 2011).

By investigating the interaction of the amwu-to type and the pakkey type with each other, and with one type of focus phrase which must be in the scope of negation, we will argue that strong evidence can be found, which shows that amwu-to and pakkey are clearly NPIs which should scope over negation. Then we will consider further details of their semantic analysis.


Sells, Peter, and Shin-Sook Kim. 2006. Korean NPIs scope over negation. Language Research 42, 275–297.

Shimoyama, Junko. 2011. Japanese indeterminate negative polarity items and their scope. Journal of Semantics 28, 1–40.

Monday, April 12 (15.15-17.00, Zoom)

Speaker: Arthur Holmer (Lund University)
Title: Taiwans språkliga mångfald: från Hokkien till austronesiska



I Taiwan är det statsbärande språket mandarin, samtidigt som majoritetsspråket är taiwanesisk hokkien, medan Taiwan också är urhemmet för den austronesiska språkfamiljen som sträcker sig genom Sydöstasiens övärld över Stilla Havet. Taiwans språkliga mångfald är en spegling av dess historia, och språken är också ledtrådar till förhistoriska migrationer till och genom Taiwan. I föredraget presenteras en generell skiss över språken i Taiwan idag, deras viktigaste egenskaper, och deras historiska kontakter i såväl nyare som äldre historia.


Monday, March 22 (15:15–17:00, Zoom – registration required)

Speaker: Viktor Aller Helgesson (Lund)

Title: Dislocation, scrambling and information structure: Observations and speculation on speaker strategies in Japanese

To attend the seminar, registrater at:


Across many (if not all) languages, speakers have access to a range of strategies to get their point across. Different situations may call for emphasis to be put on different parts of an utterance in order to underline important or relevant information.
At first glance, there seems to be a universal tendency for this emphasis to fall at the very beginning of sentences with constituents moving leftwards to take up a position at the very front of utterances.

But is this truly universal? Or at least, is it the only available strategy?
Are there alternative strategies that can be used for similar effects? And do they all necessarily involve a leftwards movement?

In this talk, we will discuss some observations of such alternative strategies as well as speculate on their nature and pragmatic usages.

Monday, February 15 (15:15–17:00, Zoom – registration required)

Speaker: Márton András Tóth (University of Gothenburg)

Title: The ‘Present Perfect’ crosslinguistically: the case of Swedish, Japanese and Hungarian


In my MA thesis, Tóth (2020), I investigated how two languages without a specific present perfect-form – namely Japanese and Hungarian – can express the same aspectual and temporal relations as the present perfect-form does in Swedish, and what these aspectual and temporal characteristics in Swedish are in the first place.

In this talk I wish to present the findings in Tóth (2020) and further discuss whether it is feasible to assume the crosslinguistic existence of a linguistic category such as the present perfect, or if it is more plausible to ”abandon any presupposition about universal linguistic categories […] and investigate the question of the crosslinguistic comparison of categories empirically” as it is suggested in Croft (2012). The purpose of this talk is therefore to explore the depths of the Present Perfect, while taking greater typological issues into consideration.

    Fall Term 2020

    Monday, November 30 (15:15–17:00, online)

    Speaker: Jens Karlsson (Stockholm University)

    Title: Beskrivningsordens funktioner och markörer i kinesiska


    I och med den s.k. radikala konstruktionsgrammatiken (Radical Construction Grammar, RCG) har Croft argumenterat (2001) för att grammatiska kategorier och konstruktioner är språkspecifika. Denna uppfattning medför en utmaning för strävan inom språktypologin att förena de naturliga språkens mångfald i ett enhetligt teoretiskt system. Hur ska vi förstå innebörden i termer som substantiv, verb och adjektiv ur ett typologiskt perspektiv, om de kriterier som tillämpas för att definiera dessa kategorier ej är universellt giltiga, utan baseras på korrelationsmönster mellan lexikon och syntax som är unika för varje enskilt språk? Detta teoretiska problem har i olika formuleringar länge figurerat inom den moderna kinesiska lingvistiken, där ordklassfrågan p.g.a. språkets inflektionsfria grammatik utgjort ett centralt problem. I denna föreläsning närmar vi oss frågan om de grammatiska kategoriernas universella giltighet genom att undersöka beskrivningsordens funktioner och markörer i modern standardkinesiska. Den lösning på problemet som här prövas, innebär en återgång till uppfattningen av grammatiska kategorier som i grunden semantiska klasser, något som har stöd bl.a. i Hengeveld och van Lier (2010) och Haspelmath (2012).


    Croft, W. 2001. Radical Construction Grammar: Syntactic Theory in Typological Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Haspelmath, M. 2012. ”How to Compare Major Word Classes Among the World’s Languages”. UCLA Working Papers in Linguistics, Theories of Everything. Vol. 17:16: 109-130.

    Hengeveld, K.; van Lier, E. 2010. ”An Implicational Map of Parts of Speech”. Linguistic Discovery, Vol. 8:1. Dartmouth College Library.

    Monday, November 2 (15:15–17:00, online)

    Speaker: Kazuko Yatsushiro (ZAS, Berlin)

    Title: Remind-me presupposition and speech-act decomposition


    In this talk, we investigate questions like “What is your name again?” using the repetitive particle “again”, and their counterpart in Japanese, using sentence final particle, ‘-kke’. The use of these particles presupposes that the speaker used to know the answer to the question that they are asking, but they have forgotten the answer to them. Using data from Japanese, English, and German, we argue for syntactic decomposition of the question speech-act into an imperative part and a make-it-known part. The difference between Japanese, on the one hand, and German, on the other, argues that there is a syntactic movement involved in these structures, revealing how the question speech-act can be decomposed.

    Monday, October 19 (15:15–17:00, online)

    Speaker: Arthur Holmer (SOL, Lund University) and Lars Larm (University of Gothenburg)

    Title: The curious case of the excessive construction in Japanese


    The excessive morpheme in Japanese -sugi- ‘too much’ is intriguing in two ways. Firstly, while it is normally realized on the verb, it can refer to a variety of different elements in the clause, such as a manner adverb, an adverb of frequency, the action of the verb itself, the quantity of the object, a gradable property of the object, and in some cases even the quantity of the subject. For example, in (1) – (3) it targets, respectively, the quantity of the object (biiru‘beer’), the manner of the action (hayaku ‘fast’), and the property of the object (takai ‘expensive’):

    (1)    biiru   o      nomi-sugi-ta
            beer ACC  drink-EXC-PST
            ‘(I) drank too much beer.’

    (2)   hayaku    nomi-sugi-ta
           fast         drink-EXC-PST
           ‘(I) drank too fast.’

    (3)   takai          kuruma   o        kai-sugi-ta
           expensive car          ACC buy-EXC-PST
           ‘(I) bought a too expensive car.’

    Secondly, while its status as a verbal affix is fairly fixed, its placement among the other verb affixes is very variable, and the different positions are reflected by different meanings. For instance, it may precede or follow negation:

    (4)   nomi-sugi-nai-de             kudasa-i
           ‘Don’t drink too much.’

    (5)   tabe-nasa-sugi-ta.
           ‘S/he ate too little.’
           (i.e. ‘S/he was excessive at non-eating.’)

    The presentation shows how the variable interpretation of -sugi- to other elements in the clause is semantico-pragmatically determined, and that the semantic effect of affix ordering can be explained in terms of scope.

    Monday, September 21 (15:15–17:00)

    Speaker: Shin Ishihara (Lund)

    Title: Testing MatchClause: The prosody of embedded clauses in Japanese

    Abstract:  This study reports results of a phonetic production experiment which tests one of the implications of Match Theory (MT), namely, the categorically distinctive prosodic marking of syntactic phrase and clause boundaries.  MT assumes that a syntactic clause tends to be mapped onto prosody as an intonational phrase (ι) and a syntactic phrase as a phonological phrase (φ). These syntax–prosody correspondences are derived by OT constraints MatchClause and MatchPhrase, respectively. The experiment is designed to test whether sentence-medial embedded clauses are mapped to ι's. The results show no indication of distinctive difference between prosodic boundaries at phrase edges and those at clause edges. Based on the results, several implications to the understanding of Japanese intonation and the theory of syntax–prosody interface will be discussed.

    Spring Term 2020

    Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, only one seminar was held during Spring Term 2020.

    Wednesday, February 12 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H140)

    Speaker: Axel Svahn (SOL, Lund University)Title: The Term "Gerund" in Japanese Linguistics: A Historical OverviewAbstract:
    The present talk focuses on the term "gerund" in foreign-language descriptions of Japanese grammar, tracing its use from the earliest descriptions of Japanese (1600s) to the 20th century. Using "gerund" as a point of departure, I will also provide a brief summary of early non-Japanese descriptions of the language, touching on Portuguese missionary grammars and the first English-language grammars of Japanese.

    Fall Term 2019

    Wednesday, December 4 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H239A)

    MA thesis defenseDefendant: Maria Mörnerud (SOL, Lund) Opponent: Jessica Wiederhielm Title: Grammatiska och didaktiska perspektiv på partikeln le i rikskinesiska – en jämförande studie Abstract: Den rikskinesiska partikel le, inkluderande verbsuffixet le1 och satssuffixet le2, utgör en undervisningsutmaning i språkämnet kinesiska, delvis p.g.a. dess många användningsområden och delvis p.g.a. olika och parallellt förekommande beskrivningar av partikelns innebörd.

    Den uppsats som här ventileras vill skapa en utgångspunkt för diskussion om undervisningsinnehåll gällande partikeln le genom att jämföra ett kinesiskt förslag på didaktisk framställning av le med två olika förklaringsmodeller av dess användning och innebörd i språkvetenskaplig litteratur. Li & Thompson (1981) (L&T) ser le1 och le2 som två skilda partiklar, medan Ljungqvist Arin (2003) (L.A.) argumenterar för att le1 och le2 i grunden fungerar som en enda partikel: LE.

    De didaktiker som föreläste om L2-undervisning av partikeln le under den sommarkurs för kinesisklärare som utgjorde undersökningens fältstudiedel, navigerade å sin sida mellan att försöka ge en lättfattlig förklaring av en komplex partikel och att fokusera på samma partikels konkreta användningskontexter.

    Uppsatsen, som skrivits med en kvalitativ ansats, utgår från ett brett spektrum av L1-produktion taget från de tre källorna (L&T, L.A. och sommarkursen). Denna L1-produktion utgör en minsta gemensamma nämnare för ömsesidig belysning källorna emellan, i synnerhet deras respektive förklaringsmodell för partikeln le:s innebörd och funktion.

    Monday, December 2 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H405)

    Speaker: Shinichiro Ishihara (SOL, Lund)Title: On the relation between syntactic and phonological clauses in Japanese Abstract: This talk discusses the syntax–prosody mapping at the clause-level in Japanese. After reviewing previous studies on the syntax–prosody mapping at the phrase and clause levels in Japanese, results of two production experiments that investigate the prosody of embedded (finite) clauses (i.e., clausal complements of matrix verbs) will be presented, and their theoretical implications will be discussed. By comparing prosodic cues on the target words with different syntactic boundary strengths (no XP boundary, one XP boundary, two XP boundaries, CP boundary), the first experiment was specifically designed to examine the prosodic similarities and differences of boundaries at syntactic phrases and clauses. In the second experiment, the target phrase located at a sentence-medial position is associated with either the matrix clause or the embedded clause. Depending on the attachment, the location of the embedded clause boundary varies (after or before the target word, respectively). If phonological clause boundaries are marked qualitatively differently from phonological phrase boundaries, we expect to find prosodic cues at clause boundaries that are not present at phrase boundaries.

    Monday, November 18 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H140)

    Speaker: Wataru Uegaki (Edinburg)Title: Question-oriented semantics for Japanese sentence-final particles Abstract: “Responsive” predicates, i.e., predicates that can embed both declarative and interrogative complements (e.g., “know”, “predict”, “be surprised“ in English), present a puzzle for the compositional semantics of clausal complementation. This is so because these predicates seem to be able to combine with two distinct types of semantic objects: propositions and questions. Recently, a new solution to this puzzle is proposed which is based on the question-oriented semantics of clausal complementation (Ciardelli et al. 2013, 2019; Uegaki 2015; Elliott, Klinedinst, Sudo & Uegaki 2017; Uegaki 2019). According to this semantics, clause-embedding predicates in general, including responsive predicates, select for questions, while declarative complements are analyzed as a trivial form of question. In this talk, I will discuss new empirical motivations for the question-oriented semantics based on new observations about Japanese sentence-final particles “yo” and “darou”. I will point out that these particles are responsive, in the sense that they are compatible with both declarative and interrogative clauses. Furthermore, I will argue that the semantics of these particles require question-oriented denotations, as their behaviors are adequately captured if their meanings directly refer to the question denotation, rather than specific answers of the question. I will conclude by discussing further cross-linguistic implications of the question-oriented semantics for clausal complementation.

    Monday, October 14 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H428b)

    Speaker: Victor Borgen Svensson (SOL, Lund)Title: Puyuma, an Austronesian language on Taiwan Abstract: The presentation will be centred around Puyuma, an Austronesian language spoken on Taiwan. The language will be described from a typological perspective and it will be compared to other languages spoken in East and Southeast Asia, placing it in a larger areal context.

    Monday, September 30 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H435)

    Speaker: Mats Andersson (Linköping)Title: Koreanska språkets struktur – presentation och jämförelse med japanska Abstract:  Föredraget behandlar det koreanska språkets bakgrund när det gäller typologisk tillhörighet, regionala skillnader samt skriftsystem. Detta följs av en översiktlig presentation av språkets grammatiska struktur, och avslutas med en enklare fördjupning i några grammatiska fenomen, t.ex. artighetsspråk och partikelellips.

    Monday, September 16 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H135a)

    Speaker: Arthur Holmer (SOL, Lund)Title: Kammu - ett Mon-Khmer-språk i Laos Abstract: Det austroasiatiska språket kammu är ett minoritetsspråk som huvudsakligen talas i norra Laos, men också i angränsande delar av Thailand, Vietnam och Kina. Lunds universitet har en nästan halvsekellång historia av forskning om kammu, dess kultur och språk, som inleddes av Kristina Lindell 1972 och som fortsatt sedan dess. Föredraget kommer framförallt att behandla kammuspråkets grammatik, som i mångt och mycket är typisk för ett sydöstasiatiskt språk, fast med vissa mycket speciella egenskaper.

    Spring Term 2019

    Wednesday, May 22 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H405)

    Speaker: Prof. Yasuko Nagano-Madsen (University of Gothenburg)Title: Ryukyuan - is it a dialect of Japanese or an independent language? Abstract: Ryukyuan is an endangered language spoken in the Ryukyu Islands, which is situated at the southernmost part of the Japanese archipelago. In Japan, it is called ‘a Ryukyuan dialect of Japanese’, which contrasts with ‘a mainland dialect of Japanese.’ In abroad, it is usually called ‘Ryukyuan.’ There was an independent kingdom that ruled most of the Ryukyu Islands from the 15th to the 19th century, but today it is a prefecture of Japan (Okinawa). The older generation is bilingual in Ryukyuan and Japanese, while the younger generation is monolingual in Japanese. In 2009, UNESCO declared all the six dialects of Ryukyuan are either severely or definitely endangered. In this talk, I will discuss the similarities and differences between Japanese and Ryukyuan with reference to phonology, grammar, prosody, and poetry.

    Wednesday, April 3 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H140)

    Speaker: Prof. Joakim Enwall (Uppsala University)Title: Miaoskriften i Kina: identitet kontra pragmatism Abstract: Miaofolket i sydvästra Kina omfattar över nio miljoner människor, och de talar ett språk som präglas av stora dialektala skillnader. Miao lever även utanför Kina, främst i Thailand, Laos, Vietnam och USA, och kallas där vanligen hmong. Ungefär från och med sekelskiftet 1900 skapades skriftsystem för att skriva olika miaodialekter, i synnerhet i samband med kristen mission, och vissa skriftsystem nådde relativt stor spridning. Efter revolutionen 1949 inleddes omfattande arbete i Kina med att klassificera etniska grupper och att skapa nya skriftsystem för ett flertal språk, bl.a. flera miaodialekter. Arbetet med att sprida dessa nya skriftsystem avbröts emellertid av de politiska kampanjerna i Kina, från och med antihöger-kampanjen 1957 till och med kulturrevolutionens slut runt 1976, och arbetet med miaoskrift återupptogs först i början av 1980-talet. De senaste decenniernas förändrade ekonomiska politik, decentraliseringen av minoritetspolitiken och kommersialiseringen av samhället har lett till dramatiska förändringar i miaoområdena och förändrade attityder till användningen av det egna språket och skriften.

    Wednesday, March 27 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H428b)

    Speaker: Shinichiro Ishihara (Lund University)Title: On the relation of intonation and syntactic structure in Japanese Abstract: In this talk, I present how the intonation of a sentence is created in Japanese by summarizing some of the previous studies (by others and by myself). There are several factors that may influence the prosodic realization of a Japanese phrase/sentence. These factors include, among others, lexical pitch accents, syntactic structures, sentence types, and contexts. I will show how these factors interact with each other to form the intonation of a sentence. Time permitting, I would also like to discuss some issues related to the role of prosody in sentence processing, i.e., how a native speaker processes the prosodic information of a sentence and reconstructs the syntactic structure out of it. It has been shown that prosody can affect the sentence processing even in silent reading. The prosody in silent reading (so-called implicit prosody) may sometimes facilitate the processing, but may also mislead the reader to a wrong interpretation. (The talk is intended for students and researchers who are not familiar with theories of prosody.)

    Wednesday, March 6 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H428b)

    Speaker: Ivo Spira (Lund University)Title: Lexical Modernization in East Asia: The Case of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese Abstract: It is a well-known fact that the Japanese language has been heavily influenced by Chinese, most notably through its adoption of Chinese characters. But it is perhaps less well known that Modern Chinese has also been heavily influenced by Japanese — through so-called “graphic loans”. A crucial part of the Modern Chinese lexicon consists of words that look Chinese, but turn out to have been coined or re-invented in Japan in the late nineteenth century. Not only Japanese and Chinese were affected by this development — the Vietnamese and Korean lexicons were also reshaped as a result. This week’s LCEAL seminar is about the lexical modernization of East Asian languages through a unique and fascinating process in which Japanese played a pivotal role.

    Wednesday, February 6 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H428b)

    Speaker: Arthur Holmer (Lund University)Title: Taiwans urinvånarspråk: Grammatikerns konfektask Abstract: Taiwan är urhemmet för den austronesiska språkfamiljen, som sträcker sig över hela Stilla Havet. Taiwan är dessutom det stället där de märkligaste grammatiska kuriositeterna hos de austronesiska språken finns bäst bevarade, bland de ca 15 urinvånarspråken som fortfarande finns kvar. Kulturellt och språkligt är Taiwans urinvånare en resa tillbaka i forntiden, samtidigt som urinvånarna idag fått en allt större betydelse i det taiwanesiska samhället.

    Fall Term 2018

    Monday, November 26 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H405)

    Speaker: Fusae Ivarsson (University of Gothenburg)Title: Metaorthographic Features of Manga and L1 and L2 Readers’ Awareness Thereof Abstract: Language in manga (Japanese comics) is characterized by its attempt to reproduce orality, and one way to realize it is to describe speech through the use of non-standard orthography. Accordingly, readers of manga need to have metaorthographic ability in order to perceive the effects of “metaorthographic features”, or orthographic deviations from the standard mixture of the three Japanese script types (kanji, hiragana and katakana). Metaorthographic features can be regarded as an orthographic version of role language (yakuwarigo) and defined as “non-standard or selective use of orthography in connection with a particular linguistic feature (language, pronunciation, intonation, etc.) or particular expressive effect (clarification of situation, facilitation of readability, emphasis of attributes, etc.)”. Most metaorthographic features of manga fall into three categories, namely, text orientation (vertical/horizontal), transliteration (e.g. from kanji to hiragana) and furigana (small annotative glosses). In this seminar I will introduce the concept of metaorthographic features of manga and present the results of my survey on manga-reading habits and metaorthographic awareness of first and second language readers of Japanese.

    Wednesday, November 21 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H405)

    Speaker: Jan-Olof SvantessonTitle: Ljudsymbolik i östasiatiska och andra språk Abstract: Frågan om det finns något samband mellan ljud och betydelse i språket har diskuterats sedan äldsta tider. Idén att "det språkliga tecknet är arbiträrt" har länge varit förhärskande, men på senare tid har man börjat intressera sig alltmer för olika former av ljudsymbolik. Många språk har en ordklass av "ideofoner" ("expressiver", "mimetiska ord") som beskriver olika sinnesupplevelser – inte bara ljud – och som kan ha systematiska samband mellan t.ex. vokalkvalitet och storlek. Många öst- och sydöstasiatiska språk som japanska och koreanska har ett stort antal ideofoner, och de finns även i kinesiska. I kammu bildas de med en omfattande och regelbunden avledningsmorfologi. På senare tid har det också gjorts en hel del psykologiska experiment och även mätningar av hjärnaktivitet med magnetkamera och andra tekniker för att påvisa samband mellan språkljud och betydelse. Inte minst japanska psykologer har varit intresserade av dessa frågor och försökt visa att ideofoner processas på ett lite annorlunda sätt i hjärnan än andra ord.

    Wednesday, October 24 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H405)

    Speaker: Ivo Spira (Lund University)Title: Dungan: Chinese as a Post-Soviet Islamic Minority Language Abstract:
    The Dungans of Central Asia are a minority living in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. They are descendants of Muslim Chinese (Hui) refugees fleeing from imperial Chinese punitive expeditions against local Muslim uprisings in Northwest China in the 19th century. The Dungans speak what is basically a provincial variety of Northern Chinese that has been standardized as an independent literary language in the Central Asian environment. This written standard was established under Soviet patronage, using the Cyrillic (“Russian”) alphabet without tone marks. The standardization of Chinese based on a non-metropolitan dialect is rare in and of itself, but with Cyrillic writing it becomes something quite sui generis. In this talk I introduce the audience to the Dungan language and raise a number of relevant linguistic questions, while also offering some glimpses from my own fieldwork.

    Wednesday, October 10 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H428b)

    Speaker: Ivo Spira (Lund)Title: Classical Chinese – The Latin of East Asia Abstract: “Classical Chinese” has been the language of culture and administration in China throughout most of its history, and for many centuries also in Japan, Korea and Vietnam. As the “Latin of East Asia,” it has had a unique role in the history of the region. In this lecture, Ivo Spira will give an overview of the exciting history of Classical Chinese, complete with glimpses of linguistic particulars (how was Zhou Chinese pronounced? what’s the grammar like?) and a look at how one may read a Classical Chinese text in Japanese. He will also make the case for why we might need to learn this language and raise a number of issues related to the notion of “Classical Chinese” itself. 

    Wednesday, September 26 (15:15–17:00, Room SOL:H405)

    Speaker: Inga-Lill HanssonAkha-folkets språk och muntligt traderad litteratur  med huvudvikt på shamantexterAbstract: Akha-folket lever som minoritetsfolk i Kina, Laos Vietnam, Thailand och Burma. I detta seminarium kommer jag att beskriva deras språk och språkets funktion i de länder som de bor i. Dessutom deras muntliga litteratur och det sätt som den har traderats. De största bärarna av denna tradition är - utöver alla i samhället - shamaner, både män och kvinnor, (Nyirpaq) och recitatörer, ritualspecialister, endast män (Prima). Deras minnesförmåga är fascinerande och jag ha speciellt undrat över hur de lär sig dessa texter utan hjälp av ett skriftligt system och deras bakgrund för att lära sig dessa och komma ihåg dem Jag jämför också innehållet och ser på de metriska systemet i texterna, som jag har studerat genom år av fältarbete. 
    Och andra aspekter som måtte intressera er!

    Spring Term 2018

    Thursday, May 4 (15:15–17:00, Room: SOL:H428b)

    Speaker: Misuzu Shimotori (University of Gothenburg)
    Title: A Sense of Characters: Expressing irony by orthographic deviance in written Japanese Abstract:

    Objective of the present work is the expressive effect of orthographic deviance, which signals irony to the reading audience, in written remarks of Japanese. Ironic expressions are realized in many ways. Orthographic deviance would be one of the irony markers signalling irony to the readers. The present work will examine the irony expressions in katakanasyllables focusing on Japanese literary works.

    Friday, April 27 (13:15–15:00, Room: L403)

    Speaker: Lars Larm (University of Gothenburg)Title: Deontic modality: the case of beki da Abstract: The focus of this presentation is the Japanese deontic marker beki ‘should’, which expresses the meaning of moral obligation, as in: (1)Kimiwa sugu ik-u bekida.
    you TOPimmediately go-NPASTMOBLCOP.NPAST
    ‘You should go immediately.’ Kindaichi (1953), Nomura (2003) and Larm (2006) characterize beki as an objective modal marker whereas Takanashi (2005) takes the view that it is subjective when used sentence-finally. I suggest both positions may be right depending on whether subjectivity is conceived of grammatically or pragmatically. I will start the presentation with a brief overview of modality packaging in Japanese, and then describe the position of beki in the system of deontic modals. During the course of the presentation, I will also touch upon the historical development of beki and upon typological aspects pertaining to deontic modality, before turning to the main issue of subjectivity. References Kindaichi, H. (1953). ‘Fuhenka jodooshi no honshitsu − shukanteki hyoogen to kyakkanteki hyoogen no betsu nitsuite’ [The nature of non-inflectional auxiliaries: on the distinction between subjective and objective expressions]. Kokugo Kokubun [National Language and Linguistics] 22 (2–3). Reprinted in: Hattori, S. et al. (eds), Nihon no gengogaku [Linguistics in Japan], vol. 3. Tokyo: Taishuukan. 207–49. Larm, L. (2006). Modality in Japanese. DPhil thesis. University of Oxford.   Nomura, T. (2003). ‘Modaritii keishiki no bunrui’ [On the classification of Japanese modal forms]. Kokugogaku [National Language Studies] 54 (1): 17–31. Takanashi, S. (2005). ‘Hyooka no modaritii o arawasu jodooshi ‘beki da’’. [The evaluative modal beki da ]. The Bulletin of the International Student Center 11: 1–15. Kobe University.

    Wednesday, February 28 (15:15–17:00, Room H405)

    Speaker: Taras Ivchenko (Russian State University for the Humanities)
    The Development of Modern Standard Chinese as a Result of Internal and External Factors

    Wednesday, February 28 (15:15–17:00, Room H405)

    Speaker: Niclas Burenhult (Lund University)
    Austroasiatic languages – description, documentation, exploration Abstract: Austroasiatic is one of the major language families of Mainland Southeast Asia. It represents the earliest known language stock of the region, predating all other language families present today. The family comprises some 170 languages spoken by the most genetically and culturally diverse peoples in the region. Only Khmer and Vietnamese have national language status. Most of the Austroasiatic languages are little-known minority languages. Lund University has a long-standing tradition of research on Austroasiatic. A multidisciplinary documentation enterprise has been investigating the Kammu community of Laos since the early 1970s. For the past 20 years, researchers in the Linguistics department have also done extensive field-based work on the Aslian languages of the Malay Peninsula. Since 2012 the research group develops the Repository and Workspace for Austroasiatic Intangible Heritage (RWAAI), a digital multimedia resource dedicated to documenting, preserving and making accessible unique Austroasiatic language materials, for the benefit of students, researchers, and the speech communities themselves. In this talk I will provide an overview of the Austroasiatic languages, and discuss some of the research results that have emanated from our work. I will also illustrate the potential of RWAAI as a source of information and data for students.

    Wednesday, January 31 (15:15–17:00, Room H140)

    Speaker: Eline Visser (Lund University)
    Fieldwork in Papua: challenges, analyses and practicalities Abstract:
    In this talk I will informally discuss my fieldwork on Karas Island, province of Papua, East-Indonesia. I work on the grammatical description of Kalamang, a Papuan (i.e. Non-Austronesian) language spoken on Karas Island by some 150 people. I will explain how I got involved in describing Kalamang, what setting up a field site and doing fieldwork on a previously undescribed language looks like in practice, and we’ll discuss some of my data. This is an informal gathering for those interested in doing fieldwork themselves and/or learning something about a Papuan language.

    Fall Term 2017

    Wednesday, December 6th (15:15–17:00, Room TBA)

    Speaker: Mårten Söderblom Saarela (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin)
    Ordning i manchuiska ordböcker, från uppkomsten i sextonhundratalets Peking till den sällsamma vidareutvecklingen i det tidiga artonhundratalets Edo Abstract:
    Det manchuiska språket, nedskrivet med den mongoliska skriften i början av sextonhundratalet, blev en världsangelägenhet när det manchuiska Qing-riket besegrade Kina 1644. Under de två århundraden som följde intresserade sig lärda i Kina, Korea, Japan och Europa för manchuiskan. En av de viktigaste medlen för studier i språket var ordböcker. Den manchuiska skriften var helt olik kinesiska tecken. Hur kunde den systematiseras för att organisera en ordbok? Med den första manchuisk-kinesiska ordboken från 1683 som startpunkt och dess efterföljare i det tidiga artonhundratalets Japan som slutpunkt kommer den här presentationen diskutera hur den manchuiska skriften analyserades först i Kina och sedan utomlands.

    Wednesday, November 22nd (15:15–17:00, Room H428b)

    Speaker: Magnus Brolin (Lund University)The hierarchy of Chinese grammar: A cross-sectional study of L2 Chinese within Processability Theory Abstract:
    Processability Theory (Pienemann, 1998) has been applied to many different languages, there among Chinese. Previous PT-studies concerning second language acquisition of Chinese (Zhang, 2001; 2004; Gao, 2005; Wang, 2011) have explored the developmental processes of English L1 speakers, but so far, no studies regarding the developmental processes of Swedish L1 speakers have been done within the framework of PT. Hence, the aim of this work is to evaluate whether Swedish L1 speakers´ developmental process of acquiring certain Chinese grammatical morphemes and structures correspond to the developmental stages found in earlier studies regarding English-speaking learners. A cross-sectional research design consisting of two elicitation tasks was utilized. A total of 15 Swedish learners of Chinese (high school students and university students), between the ages 16-28, with different language proficiency in the target language participated in the study. The collected data, consisting of the participants´ spontaneous speech production of the target language, was analyzed in the search for the emergence and the accuracy of using specific Chinese grammatical morphemes and structures. Results indicate that Swedish L1 learners follow the same developmental processes of learning certain Chinese grammar as found in previous studies regarding English L1 learners. However, suggestions of altering the locations of certain grammatical structures in the PT-hierarchies established by previous research is discussed. References:
    Pienemann, M. (1998). Language Processing and Second Language Development: Processability Theory. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
    Wang, X. (2011). Grammatical Development among Chinese L2 Learners: From a Processability Account. Ph. D. Newcastle University.
    Zhang, Y. (2001). Second Language Acquisition of Chinese Grammatical Morphemes: A Processability Perspective. Ph. D. The Australian National University.
    Zhang, Y. (2004). Processing Constraints, Categorial Analysis, and the Second Language Acquisition of the Chinese Adjective Suffix –de(ADJ). Language Learning, 54(3), pp. 437-468.

    Wednesday, November 1st (15:15–17:00, Room H428b)

    Speaker: Ken Hiraiwa (Meiji Gakuin University)Syntax of Ellipsis, Pro-Form, and Haplology: Evidence from Japanese and Okinawan Abstract:
    Languages manifest ellipsis phenomena but mechanisms underlying them are not uniform (see Johnson 2001, Lobeck 2006, Merchant 2006). Regarding ellipsis within nominals, it has been argued in the literature that Japanese allows so-called N’-deletion (Jackendoff 1971, 1977; Saito and Murasugi 1990, Saito et al. 2008, Watanabe 2010, among others). In this talk, I argue that what has been considered N’-deletion in Japanese is indeed better analyzed as an instance of pronominalization with a light noun and followed by haplology, for which a phase-based explanation will be proposed. In contrast, I argue that Okinawan, a Ryukyuan language, does allow syntactic deletion (in addition to pronominalization) and that this asymmetry is theoretically expected given the richer agreement syntax Okinawan has. I will try to make this talk as accessible as possible to those students do not have much background in minimalist syntax.

    Wednesday, September 13th (15:15–17:00, H140)

    Speaker: Ante Kärrman (Japanese Studies, Center for Languages and Literature, Lund University)

    Unagi-sentences in Japanese and Korean: Verbal predicates and frame setters


    An unagi-sentence (e.g. (1)) is an utterance whose meaning in context differs form its literal interpretation. While unagi-sentences have enjoyed extensive research in Japanese, not as much has been said about the phenomenon in Korean, a syntactically similar language, nor has any comparison of unagi-sentences been done between the two languages. Furthermore, while unagi-sentences have previously mostly been thought of as pertaining to the copula, there are utterances with verbal predicates that get similar non-literal interpretations in context in both languages (e.g. (2)).

    This study provides a comparison of the phenomenon of unagi-sentences with both copular and verbal predicates in Japanese and Korean based on an empirical acceptability judgement survey targeted at native Japanese and Korean speakers. As a result, a difference in acceptability between the two languages with regard to a certain type of verbal unagi-sentence was found. To explain this difference, the concept of frame setter, specifically experiencer frame setter, is employed. Frame setters set the frame in which a proposition is interpreted. Experiencer frame setters set the frame to that which is experienced by someone. As it turns out, Korean allows experiencer frame setters to be marked with the topic marker alone, while a lone topic marker cannot mark experiencer frame setters in Japanese. Furthermore, it is proposed that, since frame setters cannot be focused using nominativization, nominativization can be employed as a test to see whether a topic marked constituent is a frame setter or an aboutness topic.

    (1) Japanese: boku wa unagi da (I TOP eel COP)

    Korean: na nun cang.e ta (I TOP eel COP)

    ‘As for me, eel.’ ‘(lit.) I am an eel.’

    (2) Japanese: konnyaku wa futora-nai (konjac TOP get.fat-NEG)

    Korean: kon.yak un an ccinta (konjac TOP NEG get.fat)

    ‘Konjac doesn't make you fat.’ ‘(lit.) Konjac doesn’t get fat.’

    Previous Seminars (2013-2014)

                • Wednesday, June 4th (13.15-15.00, H435)
                Prof. Yasuko Nagano-Madsen (University of Gothenburg)  The grammatical concord kakarimusubi seen as information structure in Ryukyuan
                • Friday, February 14th (15.15-17.00, H435)
                Erik Oskarsson (Japanese Studies, Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University) Foreigner Talk or Foreignness: Connections between foreigner talk and the language of foreigners in Japanese fiction
                • Friday, November 29th (15.15-17.00, H135b)
                Jacob Eveson (Japanese Studies, Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University)  "I am an eel" - On the Status of Japanese da as a Copula
                • Friday, October 4th (14-15, A313)
                Calvin Kan (Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University) Kinesiska: Ett skriftspråk, två system - attityder till förenklade och traditionella kinesiska tecken från 7 olika kinesisktalande grupper [Chinese: One written language, two systems - attitudes towards simplified and traditional Chinese characters in seven Sinophone communities]
                •  Monday, June 10th (15-17, H135a)
                Erika Andersson (Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University) The Particle wo in Japanese: From Exclamative Particle to Case Marker
                •  Friday,  May 17th (15-17, H135b)
                Arthur Holmer (Department of Linguistics, Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University) The Typology of Formosan Languages
                • Tuesday,  May 14th (15-17, H428b)
                Axel Svahn (Department of Linguistics, Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University) Japanese: A Diachronic Typological Overview Pt. II
                • Monday, May 13th (15-17, H435)
                Axel Svahn (Department of Linguistics, Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University)Japanese: A Diachronic Typological Overview Pt. I
                • 2014-06-04 - Prof. Yasuko Nagano-Madsen (University of Gothenburg)  presented "The grammatical concord kakarimusubi seen as information structure in Ryukyuan".
                •     2014-02-14 - Erik Oskarsson (Japanese Studies, Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University) presented "Foreigner Talk or Foreignness: Connections between foreigner talk and the language of foreigners in Japanese fiction".

                • 2013-11-29 - Jacob Eveson (Japanese Studies, Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University) presented 'I am an eel' - On the Status of Japanese da as a Copula".
                • 2013-10-04 - Calvin Kan (Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University) presented "Kinesiska: Ett skriftspråk, två system - attityder till förenklade och traditionella kinesiska tecken från 7 olika kinesisktalande grupper".
                  • 2013-06-10 - Erika Andersson (Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University) presented  "The Particle wo in Japanese: From Exclamative Particle to Case Marker".
                    • 2013-06-10 - Pictured above: Participants at the seminar.
                        • 2013-05-17 - Arthur Holmer (Lund University, General Linguistics) presented "The Typology of Formosan Languages".
                            • 2013-05-14 - Axel Svahn (Lund University, General Linguistics) presented "Japanese: A Diachronic Typological Overview Pt. II".
                              • 2013-05-13 - Axel Svahn (Lund University, General Linguistics) presented "Japanese: A Diachronic Typological Overview Pt. I".
                                • 2013-05-13 - Pictured above: Arthur Holmer (Lund University, General Linguistics) welcoming the audience at the first presentation of the Lund Circle of East Asian Linguistics.
                                  • 2013-04-04 - Seminar schedule for spring semester 2013 added.
                                  • 2013-02-20 - The seminar web page is now online. More information will be added during the spring.


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