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Verbs

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Chapter Summary

There are two modes in Western Old Japanese: affirmative and negative. The affirmative mode does not have a special marker. The negative mode is marked by the suffixes -an---n-, -aNs- ~. There are two tenses in Western Old Japanese: present-future, with a zero marker, and past, marked by the auxiliary -kyi. Irregular polysyllabic verbs were under structural pressure to become regular, and in quite a similar way, regular monosyllabic vowel verbs were under structural pressure to become irregular. The fact that the defective verb to has a limited usage in Western Old Japanese, both qualitatively and especially quantitatively, strongly suggests that it is a kind of anomaly. The defective verb ro 'to be' is most frequently attested in combination with the following emphatic particle kamo, which prompted some Japanese scholars to treat it as a single exclamatory particle rokamo.

Keywords: Japanese scholars; monosyllabic vowel verbs; polysyllabic verbs

10.1163/ej.9781905246823.i-1376.16
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