THE STRUCTURE OF HUMBLE CAUSATIVES IN JAPANESE

Fusa Katada

Abstract


The so-called sa-ire 'sa-insertion' refers to a morphological change in progress in Japanese humble causatives, verbal forms with the causative suffix sase connoting the speaker's humbleness addressed toward a hearer. This change has been regarded as incorrect grammar and never received proper attention beyond prescriptive interpretations. This paper brings up issues surrounding sa-insertion and offers a
purely descriptive, structural analysis which appears to induce a number of theoretical implications in Japanese grammar. In particular I argue that the humble causative is a double causative in which the humble interpretation is achieved structurally. Other implications drawn from this analysis include abstractness of morphology and possible accommodation of reflexive causatives in Japanese, an accommodation that has never been reported in previous work on the language.

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