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An Investigation of Direct Object Markers in the Ikema Dialect of Miyako Open Access


Other title
Direct object marker
Ikema dialect
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Takei, Honoka
Supervisor and department
Ono, Tsuyoshi (East Asian Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Ono, Tsuyoshi (East Asian Studies)
Lam, Yvonne (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Li, Xiaoting (East Asian Studies)
Department of East Asian Studies
Japanese Language and Linguistics
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
Miyako is a language spoken on remote southern Japanese islands near Taiwan. Although it is often considered a dialect of Japanese, Miyako is recognized as a separate language by UNESCO, with a status of “definitely endangered”. Some research has been done on this slowly disappearing language especially since this recognition. Nonetheless, it still lacks in much description. The focus of this thesis is on one of the Miyako dialects, Ikema. By using actual discourse as a primary source, this study examines the direct object marking system of the Ikema dialect. It argues the number of direct object markers that exist in this dialect and suggests the frequencies and distributions of these markers. Further, it explores the functions of some of these markers. The results show that there are six direct object markers, namely =a, =u, =u=gya(a), zero marking, =u=du, and =u=ba(a). The secondary accusative marker =a appears the most and seems to suggest a converb structure. The primary accusative marker =u appears second most and seems to be used as a default direct object marker. The next two markers =u=gya(a) and zero marking appear equally often and are seen commonly in the discourse data. The marker =u=gya(a) seems to carry old (given) information in terms of information structure and it also appears to be able to mark contrastive object. Zero marking seems to appear when the direct object is non-referential. The appearance of the last two direct object markers =u=du and =u=ba(a) is scarce. The functions of these are discussed yet limited within the speculation. The present thesis hopes to contribute to the process of accumulating in-depth descriptions of Ikema, as well as the endangered language Miyako.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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