|Budget Amount *help
¥1,700,000 (Direct Cost : ¥1,700,000)
Fiscal Year 1996 : ¥100,000 (Direct Cost : ¥100,000)
Fiscal Year 1995 : ¥700,000 (Direct Cost : ¥700,000)
Fiscal Year 1994 : ¥900,000 (Direct Cost : ¥900,000)
The present research was planned to serve as an elementary case study investigating into mechanisms of diachronic development in natural languages from a viewpoint of the notion of "creolization". By way of thoroughly clarifying the systematic function of syntactic structures of a historically not well-documented language, concretely Karen in the present case, it should be attempted, as a whole, at determining the linguistic type of this language. As is repeatedly hinted upon in the main part of this report, however, there has been little information on Karen hitherto. It is, therefore, only natural that the main purpose of the present research lies in gathering and analyzing linguistic data from this language as a kind of preparatory research for a more general investigation to be carried out before long.
As has been expected from the beginning, linguistic data which document the emergence of the Karen language are altogether lacking and historical records apparently indicating diachro
nic changes-concretely from "verb-final" to "verb-medial" syntax-are not available, either. However, the result of the present systematic investigation into the syntactic structures of the present-day Karen unequivocally points out that another "grammatical gravitation" than the one just after the topic must be assumed at the end of the sentence, suggesting syntactic patterns are (still) mapped "verb-finally" in part. Although this fact does not immediately hint upon the "creolizing" character of the language, it strongly suggests that Karen may be typified as a kind of "hybrid" language, exactly as Modern Chinese, showing both characteristics of the "verb-final" and the "verb-medial" syntaxs in spite of its placement of the syntactic verb at the medial position directly after the topic-NP.
Interestingly enough from a general linguistic point of view, Karen also shows the so-called "Verb Serialization" as a possible pass-way of syntactic change. While the medial placement of the syntactic verb may have been caused rather "accidentally" as the stage of pidgin, the further development of the syntactic change exactly indicate the creolization of Karen, whereby the systematic status of the "grammatical gravitation" at the end of the sentence may play an extra-ordinary important role. As so much basic data have been collected to contribute to issues in general linguistics, we may now expect to profit much from further general in vestigations utilizing typological comparison with the surrounding languages in this region. Less