End of sentence punctuation marks as fi nal particles in written Japanese.

2014. №6, 92-110

Alexey S. Zverev
Lomonosov Moscow state university / Institute of oriental studies (RAS), Moscow / Russia; zvereval@inbox.ru


The Japanese punctuation should be considered as an integral part of the authentic writing system. However, the importance of this fi eld used to be underestimated and until the mid-1980s there appeared to be very few linguistic works on this subject. The latest years’ burst of interest in punctuation is mostly aimed at the needs of natural language processing.

The study approaches the phenomenon of punctuation drawing a clear distinction between grapheme classes and POS categories, which tend to be readily confused with each other. When not treated as a purely graphical phenomenon but considered from the point of view of grammar, the concept of punctuation appears to involve a rather diverse set of language units. The grammatical features and functions of punctuation marks within the system of written language are found to be identical or close to those of various conventional language units, mainly syntactic grammatical markers.

This paper is intended to demonstrate the effi ciency of the proposed approach and is confi ned to the punctuation marks that are placed in the end of a sentence in modern Japanese texts. The punctuation units of this type are argued to possess the defi ning properties of sentence-fi nal discourse particles used in written language.