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McAuley, Thomas Evelyn (1995) The "Genji Monogatari": A loose sequence of vague phrases? PhD thesis. SOAS University of London.

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Abstract

In the thesis I test the hypothesis that Late Old Japanese (LOJ) is not, as has been claimed by a number of scholars, a language that is innately "vague", but that it is capable of conveying meaning clearly. To prove this I analyse the text of the Genji Monogatari in a number of ways. I study the usage of honorifics in the text and the relationship between honorific usage and court rank. I show that honorific usage very often obviates the need for grammatical subjects and objects, and where honorifics or the context are not sufficient, the author introduces subjects to clarify the meaning of the text. Furthermore, I demonstrate that over brief sections of text, one character might be "tagged" with a particular honorific in order to identify them. Status at the Heian court was determined by court rank, and the higher a person's rank, the more honorifics had to be used. I investigate how characters could be identified when several people of similar ranks interacted. This will show that use by the author of the category of theme as well as occasional subjects serves to identify characters. I examine the applicability of the phenomenon of switch reference to LOJ, attempting to determine how far it may have enabled the ommission of grammatical subjects, and where LOJ presents problems for the canonical account of switch reference. I examine syntactic differences between narrative and quotation, and excerpts where there are differences over where quotations begin, and cases where different characters' quotations follow each other directly with no overt marking to separate them. Finally, I study personal reference, covering the link between characters' sobriquets and the type of scene in which they are appearing, and the usage of personal pronouns and demonstratives in the text.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:10
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/29291

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