Interpretation of “-Teiru”(-ing) Construction in Unergative and Unaccusative Verbs of Japanese -An Approach of Speech Act-

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Saowaree Nakagawa


“-Teiru”(-ing) Construction can express an action in progress or a resulting state. Hirakawa (2003) states that “-Teiru” with an unergative (a volitional verb) obtains progressive reading and an unaccusative (a non-volitional verb) obtains a resultative reading. However, dekakeru ‘go out’ in Haha wa dekakete imasu.‘Mother is out.’ is unergative but expresses a resulting state, and fuku ‘blow’ in Kaze ga fuite iru.‘The wind is blowing.’ is unaccusative but is a progressive action. This study proposes a framework with the approach of speech act for the interpretation of “-Teiru Construction in unergatives and unaccusatives in Japanese. The findings are : 1) Momentary verbs include unergatives and unaccusatives express resulting state as in (4) and (2) but in certain contexts they express other meanings. 2) Unaccusatives showing movement as in (4) express actions in progress. 3) A context is an essential factor for the interpretation of “ –Teiru” Construction: Syntactic Context such as don don in (3) and Discourse Context such an observation of a situation in (20b) (an unaccusative, progressive). In conclusion, in the interpretation of the meanings of an action in progress and a resultative state of Japanese verbs the framework should include: i) The investigation of meanings both in Unergatives and Unaccusatives Verbs. ii) Classification of verbs in each category in i), iii) Contexts are essential for the interpretation and iv) The two meanings of “-Teiru” Construction are interpreted at the time of speaking.



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