Cutting-Edge Research
in Kyoto University


Concepts Beyond Words How do Temporal Adverbs reflect the speaker’s view of event actualization?

The Japanese language has a rich variety of temporal adverbs which provide us with many clues as to how the speaker conceptualizes event actualization. One such clue is the reference point which is an essential tool for grasping the actualization time or the length of time for which the event endures. Another clue is the objective or the first person oriented manner of description of events. Both Sugu and Mamonaku may denote an actualization as one immediately following the reference point. However, unlike Sugu, Mamonaku cannot modify first person volitional actions since it is restricted to objective description. Indefiniteness is another property that reflects the speaker’s view of event actualization. Sonouchi denotes such indefiniteness, thereby expressing the speaker’s uncertainty about the realization, making it possible for him to express vague promises that might never realize. Temporal adverbs could also denote aspectual properties of the event such as the gradual or the rapid manner in which it unfolds in time, allowing us to pursue the detailed mechanism of event actualization as reflected in language. Furthermore, they depict the speaker’s anticipations or apprehensions abut the realization, indicating the cognitive procedure underlying each expression.

Ruchira Palihawadana, PhD
The International Center