The Grammar of Japanese Mimetics : Perspectives from structure, acquisition, and translation book cover
1st Edition

The Grammar of Japanese Mimetics
Perspectives from structure, acquisition, and translation

ISBN 9780367410612
Published September 25, 2019 by Routledge
240 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $49.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Mimetic words, also known as ‘sound-symbolic words’, ‘ideophones’ or more popularly as ‘onomatopoeia’, constitute an important subset of the Japanese lexicon; we find them as well in the lexicons of other Asian languages and sub-Saharan African languages. Mimetics play a central role in Japanese grammar and feature in children’s early utterances. However, this class of words is not considered as important in English and other European languages. This book aims to bridge the gap between the extensive research on Japanese mimetics and its availability to an international audience, and also to provide a better understanding of grammatical and structural aspects of sound-symbolic words from a Japanese perspective. Through the accounts of mimetics from the perspectives of morpho-syntax, semantics, language development and translation of mimetic words, linguists and students alike would find this book particularly valuable.

Table of Contents



Part I: Grammatical and Semantic Properties of Mimetics in Japanese1. The Significance of the Grammatical Study of Japanese Mimetics (Peter Sells)

2. Grammatical and Functional Properties of Mimetics in Japanese (Kimi Akita)

3. The Position of to-/∅-marked Mimetics in Japanese Sentence Structure (Kiyoko Toratani)

4. Swarm-type Mimetic Verbs in Japanese (Ann Wehmeyer)

5. How Flexible Should the Grammar of Mimetics Be? A View from Japanese Poetry (Natsuko Tsujimura)

Part II: Acquisition of Mimetics (As a First or Second Language)

6. Mimetics as Japanese Root Infinitive Analogues (Keiko Murasugi)

7. Grammar of Japanese Mimetics used by English and Korean Learners of L2 Japanese in KY Corpus Interviews: Does L1-L2 Similarity Help? (Noriko Iwasaki)

8. Acquisition of Mimetics and the Development of Proficiency in L2 Japanese: A Longitudinal Case Study of an L1 Dutch Speaker’s Speech and Gesture (Keiko Yoshioka)

9. Use of Mimetics in Motion Event Descriptions by English and Korean Learners of L2 Japanese: Does Language Typology Make a Difference? (Noriko Iwasaki)

Part III: Mimetics and Translation

10. Translating into Japanese Mimetics: Grammatical Class-shifts and Historical Development (Mika Kizu and Naomi Cross)

View More



Noriko IWASAKI, Department of Linguistics, SOAS University of London, United Kingdom

Peter SELLS, Department of Language and Linguistic Science, University of York, United Kingdom

Kimi AKITA, Department of Japanese Language and Culture, Nagoya University, Japan