Campus News


Meet the Author Series with Osamu Ishiyama, Associate Professor of Japanese Language and Culture

Professor Osamu Ishiyama presented findings from his recent book, Diachrony of Personal Pronouns in Japanese: A Functional and Cross-Linguistic Perspective (John Benjamins 2019).

His presentation investigated the historical development of personal pronouns in Japanese from a functional perspective. Professor Ishiyama argued that while nouns frequently give rise to personal pronouns through semanticization of pragmatic inferences, the use of non-nominal forms such as demonstratives and reflexives for person referents generally do not contribute to the emergence of new personal pronouns. The preliminary cross-linguistic investigation into the common conceptual sources of personal pronouns suggests similar results. While his book is clearly designed for a specialist readership, Professor Ishiyama’s extensive use of PowerPoint illustrations ensured that his presentation was accessible to both specialist and non-specialist alike.

Professor Ishiyama is currently engaged in cross-linguistic research based on a sample of about 100 genealogically and geographically diverse languages.