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carolgreen186
September 24th, 2012, 11:30
I was just wondering if anyone had any advice for counting morphemes per word in Japanese, especially for someone who has very little experience in the language. I have read that 1 kanji = 1 morpheme, but is the kanji always 1 word, or do they have suffixes attached to them? I think the most challenging part for me is determining where each word starts and ends, as they do not make it obvious as Romanized languages do, with the spacing. I have been looking for information regarding the index of synthesis for Japanese, but no luck so far.
Thanks for any assistance

wicket
September 24th, 2012, 14:42
this is specifically about morphemic vowels in japanese - makes for interesting reading, if you're into that kind of thing:
http://westernlinguistics.ca/Publications/CLA-ACL/Fujimori.pdf

a noun in japanese may or may not be written in kanji. if it's a verb or adjective it might be written all in hiragana or a mixture of kanji and hiragana [hiragana is used to conjugate both verbs and adjectives as a suffix]. japanese uses particles, unlike romanised languages; and these particles help to figure out the syntax of a sentence.

sorry that hasn't been a huge help, but you did say any would be appreciated.

Gizmotech
September 25th, 2012, 13:15
I was just wondering if anyone had any advice for counting morphemes per word in Japanese, especially for someone who has very little experience in the language. I have read that 1 kanji = 1 morpheme, but is the kanji always 1 word, or do they have suffixes attached to them? I think the most challenging part for me is determining where each word starts and ends, as they do not make it obvious as Romanized languages do, with the spacing. I have been looking for information regarding the index of synthesis for Japanese, but no luck so far.
Thanks for any assistance

Okay, Japanese is an isolating language from the perspective of it's lexemes, and a agglutanitive language from the perspective of it's tense structure.

Kanji behave in an isolating function, in a way much similar to their roots. It can be argued that there is an element of fusion as it can be noticed that rendaku can be applied across the morpheme barrier when two Kanji are combined to create a new word, however that is really just a phonological process with a rather extensive set of restrictions on it. (See Ito and Mester, 1995).

When Kanji modifiers are used in a compound word, they are isolated and do not under go any modification. Furthermore, all case and prepositional identifiers are done with particles which are also completely isolated.

If you look at the tense structure, you will see an agglutinative structure which changes based on the root vowel sound of the verb, but is otherwise completely predictable in how it works after that point.

As you have noticed on other websites that you've asked this question on, Kanji have two separate readings, which determine how they are used.

If you're looking for a language to write a paper on for the index of synthesis, Japanese is probably one of the worst choices you can use, because it is a fusion of two different language systems which is governed by its orthography, not just its utterances. The same problem exists in Korean as well.