Where textual voices proliferate: The to yuu clause-noun combination in Japanese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Although the Japanese noun-modifying construction is a topic extensively studied by linguists in Japan and abroad, no study to date has fully explained the motivation for inserting the phrase to yuu where to yuu is obligatory and/or optional. Based on the distributional constraints of to yuu in the clause-noun context observed in data taken from contemporary literary text, I propose that [X Y] and [X to yuu Y] differ in their foregrounding effect-the former focusing on Y, the latter focusing on X. Further I propose that this difference originates in that to yuu marks direct discourse and functions to bridge two different narrative modes, 'saying' and 'describing'. By marking X as a content of the narrator's and/or characters' 'voices', to yuu makes it possible for a text producer to manipulate the narrative discourse as to how the event/state is described and to express his or her modal attitude toward the content of the [X to yuu Y] structure. Variations of to yuu- to itta, to yuu yoona, and the like-function to qualify the discourse by signaling differing degrees and types of the text producer's subjectivity and modality. This paper argues for the linguistic analysis that treats a syntactic choice as a source of literary 'voices' that proliferate in text.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-189
Number of pages21
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Where textual voices proliferate: The to yuu clause-noun combination in Japanese'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this