The Syntactic Constraints of the Japanese Particle Ne Open Access

Vu, Tiffany Thien (2015)

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Second language learners of Japanese are taught that the Japanese particle ne is placed at the end of sentences to ask for confirmation or agreement from the listener. But after hearing Japanese colloquial speech, ne seems to be spoken sentence-internally as well. There is not much previous research that has looked at where ne can appear sentence-internally. With this thesis, I have investigated the question of whether or not ne has any syntactic constraints sentence-internally and have compared the results with the judgments of three scholars. I performed a corpus study and found that even though ne appeared primarily sentence-finally, a portion of the corpus still showed that ne appeared sentence-internally as well. Accompanying the corpus study was a survey of grammaticality judgments distributed to native Japanese speakers that asked them to perform two tasks. The first task asked respondents to perform grammaticality judgments on sentences with ne placed in different positions in a sentence. The second task provided participants with two sentences that did not include ne and asked the respondents to place ne in two or more places in the sentence. The results from the first task showed that speakers preferred to place ne after the topic, conjunct, and locative phrases of the sentence. The results from the second task showed that speakers preferred to place ne after the topic of the sentence as well as after the first clause of the sentence. Instead of describing ne as ungrammatical or grammatical in certain positions of a sentence, it seems to be more accurate describing ne favoring positions that are more separate from the rest of a sentence over positions that are more embedded in a sentence of a sentence. These results help to show the complications of ne's usage that makes it difficult for second language learners to learn how to use it in colloquial speech, and so demonstrates the need for further understanding of ne's use sentence-internally.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 1

2. Previous work on Ne 2

2.1 Semantics of Ne 2

2.2 Syntax of Ne 5

2.2.1 Endo (2007) 5

2.2.2 Nishiguchi (2010) 6

2.2.3 Yasui (2014) 7

3. Methodology 8

3.1 Corpus 9

3.2 Survey 10

4. Results and Discussion 11

4.1 Corpus 11

4.2 Survey Part I 12

4.3 Survey Part II 24

5. Conclusion 27

5.1 Directions for Future Work 29

Bibliography 31

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