News and Events

18 May 2014

The final VSARPJ workshop was held at NINJAL.

The day began with an overview of our accomplishments (presentation | handout) followed by several presentations based on the Oxford Corpus of Old Japanese (OCOJ). The presentations were: Bjarke Frellesvig, Stephen Wright Horn, and Yuko Yanagida "Differential object marking in OJ"; Kerri L Russell and Peter Sells "The syntax of mood constructions in OJ"; Bjarke Frellesvig, Stephen Wright Horn, Kerri L Russell, and Peter Sells "Null pronouns in certain clause types in OJ"; and John Whitman "Premodern Japanese Corpus investigations from the NINJAL Seminar". Finally, there was a presentation on the OCOJ and an outline of our research plans for the future (presentation).

13 August 2012

It was recently announced that the Oxford Corpus of Old Japanese (OCOJ) has been adopted by the British Academy as an Academy Research Project, through a highly competitive two stage evaluation process. The OCOJ will contain all extant OJ texts which will be encoded with a large amount of information, including linguistic information, as well as literary, biographical, historical, geographical and other information. The texts will also be supplied with translations into English. A bilingual Old Japanese -- English dictionary will be developed alongside and as an integrated part of the corpus, it will be hyperlinked to the texts, making cross-reference in both directions possible. Thus, the OCOJ will become a unique research and reference resource for scholars and students of the early language, writing, literature, religion, history, and civilization of Japan. The prestigious recognition by the British Academy is clear evidence of the high quality of the groundbreaking work on Old Japanese which is being carried out in Oxford.

4-5 August 2012

Bjarke Frellesvig and John Whitman (NINJAL/Cornell) presented "The historical source of the bigrade (nidan) transitivity alternations in Japanese at the NINJAL International Symposium on Valency Classes and Alternations in Japanese held at the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics (presentation).

30-31 July 2012

Several members of the VSARPJ project presented research based on the Oxford Corpus of Old Japanese at the 通時コーパスプロジェクト・オックスフォード大VSARPJプロジェクト合同シンポジウム(NINJAL Diachronic Corpus Project – Oxford VSARPJ Project Joint Symposium Corpus Based Studies of Japanese Language History) held at the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics: Bjarke Frellesvig presented "オックスフォード上代日本語コーパスについて (The Oxford Corpus of Old Japanese)" (presentation); Stephen Wright Horn presented "On accusative case marking in Old Japanese" (presentation); Kerri L Russell presented "Demonstration of the Oxford corpus of Old Japanese" (presentation) and "Noun incorporation in Old Japanese" (presentation); Peter Sells presented "On null pronouns in Old Japanese" (presentation); and Daniel Trott presented "On tense and aspect in Old Japanese" (presentation).

18-20 May 2012

Several project members presented papers at the 8th Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics, which was held in Stuttgart, Germany. Bjarke Frellesvig, Stephen W Horn, Kerri L Russell, and Peter Sells presented "Provisional and Conditional Clauses in Old Japanese". John Whitman (invited speaker) presented "The Relative Clause Problem" and, with Andrew Joseph, co-presented "The Diachronic Consequences of the RTR Analysis of Tungusic Vowel Harmony". Peter Sells co-presented two posters: "NPI Licensing by covertly negative verbs in Korean" with Sin-Sook Kim (University of York) and "Formal conditions on the licensing of true resultatives" with Ryosuke Shibagaki (Nanzan University).


8 September 2011

Bjarke Frellesvig, Stephen Wright Horn, Kerri L Russell, and Zixi You presented a panel entitled "Corpus based studies of Japanese grammar" (presentation) at the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS) Workshop (site), which was held at the Nissan Institute, St. Antony’s College, Oxford.


24 - 27 August 2011

Several project members presented papers at The 13th International Conference of EAJS (European Association for Japanese Studies, conference site) held in Tallinn, Estonia from 24-27 August. Bjarke Frellesvig, along with Tomoko Okazaki Hansen, were the convenors of Section 2: Language and Linguistics which featured a keynote speech by Satoshi Kinsui entitled "「役割語」研究の展望 (New Horizons in Research on 'Role Language')". In addition, Stephen Wright Horn and Kerri L Russell presented "Semantic roles and case marking in Old Japanese", a study of the OJ verb kog- 'to row' (presentation), Zixi You presented "Manifestations of split intransitivity in Old Japanese: A corpus-based study" (presentation), and John Whitman presented "A comparison of glossing traditions in Japan and Korea" as part of a panel on kunten research.

Bjarke Frellesvig has been elected as the Secretary of the Council of the EAJS from 2011-2014, and began his term at the conclusion of the conference.


25 July - 1 August 2011

Several project members presented papers at the 20th International Conference on Historical Linguistics (ICHLXX) (site) held in Osaka from 25-30, including Bjarke Frellesvig who delivered a Plenary Talk entitled "Corpus Based Studies in Japanese Historical Syntax: On the verb suru 'do' in Old Japanese" (presentation, handout). Bjarke Frellesvig, Stephen Wright Horn, and Kerri L Russell also presented "Null Arguments in Pre-modern Japanese" (presentation) based on research using the Oxford Corpus of Old Japanese.

The first joint Oxford-NINJAL workshop was held at Osaka University from 31 July - 1 August. Presentations were given on both the NINJAL and VSARPJ corpora and the meeting was tremendously productive.

Workshop participants included:

  • NINJAL project members: Yasuhiro Kondo, Toshinobu Ogiso, Tetsuya Sunaga, Makiro Tanaka, and Hirofumi Yamamoto
  • VSARPJ Core project members: Bjarke Frellesvig, Peter Sells, Stephen Wright Horn, and Kerri L Russell
  • VSARPJ External project members: Anton Antonov, Satoshi Kinsui, Tomohide Kinuhata, Akira Watanabe, John Whitman, and Yuko Yanagida
  • Guests: Wes Jacobsen, Sven Osterkamp, Thomas Pellard, and Alexander Vovin
  • Students: Miho Iwata, Mariko Fujimoto, Yuta Mori, Ichiha Yamamoto, Mika Sakai, and Hiroshi Kadota


January 2011

We have published an online version of The Oxford Corpus of Old Japanese. This version of the full poetic corpus of Old Japanese presents the original script and a phonemic transcription of Old Japanese texts. This online version of the corpus will be regularly updated.


September 2010

The first article based on research conducted using the VSARPJ corpus has now been published in Gengo Kenkyū as part of a special feature entitled "Corpus-based Linguistic Analisys (1)":

Frellesvig, Bjarke, Stephen W Horn, Kerri L Russell, and Peter Sells. "Verb Semantics and Argument Realization in Pre-Modern Japanese: A Preliminary Study of Compound Verbs in Old Japanese" Gengo Kenkyū, 138, 25-65.

Abstract: This paper introduces the collaborative corpus-based research project Verb semantics and argument realization in pre-modern Japanese. As part of the project, we are developing a corpus of pre-modern Japanese texts which is encoded with grammatical, and in particular syntactic, information and we here present two pilot studies based on the corpus, concerning verb-verb (V1-V2) compounds in Old Japanese (8th century). We first focus on V2s, with a view to understanding what properties are characteristic of the loosely defined class of 'auxiliary verbs' (hojodoshi 補助動詞). We apply a number of tests to compounds, including for lexical integrity and transitivity harmony, and thereby identify a number of V2s that can take part in 'non-lexical compounds' (compounds relatively unconstrained by the semantics of their component verbs), as well as some distributional and combinatory patterns typical of non-lexical compounds. Second, we examine a single high-frequency verb, omop- 'think, feel', in order to examine its argument-taking properties when used as a predicate alone and when used as a V1 in a compound. We identify interesting differences, in particular finding that omop-V2 compounds are less likely to take clausal complements than when omop- is used as a predicate on its own.


29-30 September 2010

Our second project workshop was held at Oxford before the start of the JK20 Conference. This workshop focused on various methods of searching and extracting data from the corpus and how to best classify arguments. We felt the comments recevied from our guests were extremely helpful and that the workshop was enormously productive.

Workshop participants included:

  • Core project members: Bjarke Frellesvig, Peter Sells, Stephen Wright Horn, Kerri L Russell, and Zixi You
  • External project members: Anton Antonov, Mary Dalrymple, Satoshi Kinsui, Tomohide Kinuhata, Masayoshi Shibatani, Akira Watanabe, John Whitman, and Yuko Yanagida
  • Guests: Taro Kageyama, Linda Lanz, and Beth Levin
  • Students: Benjamin Cagan, Scott Hale, Judy Kroo, Wenchao 'Widelia' Li, Katarina Pedersen, and Tohru Seraku


1-2 July 2010

Stephen Wright Horn, Kerri L Russell, and Bjarke Frellesvig presented "Verb semantics & argument realization in premodern Japanese: A preliminary study of verbal compounds" at XXIIIe Journées de linguistique de l'Asie Orientale, CRLAO, Paris, France. This talk presented the results of a pilot study on verbal compounds found in the OJ component of the VSARPJ corpus. (presentation)


11 June 2010

On 11 June 2010 Kerri L Russell presented "Argument structure in Old Japanese: A corpus based study" at Japanese Times Now Past — International Conference on Premodern Japan, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany. In this talk she described our mark-up conventions and demonstrated the kinds of syntatctic and morphological information that can be retrieved from the recently completed Eastern Old Japanese corpus (presentation). Project members John Whitman and Anton Antonov also presented papers at this conference.


17 March 2010

Bjarke Frellesvig, Stephen Wright Horn, Kerri L Russell, and Peter Sells presented "Introducing the project 'Verb Semantics and Argument Realization in Pre-Modern Japanese'" as part of the Japan Research Centre Seminar Programme at SOAS. (presentation)


19-21 January 2010

Our first project workshop was held at Oxford. Workshop participants included:

  • Core project members: Bjarke Frellesvig, Peter Sells, Stephen Wright Horn, Yuhki King, Kerri L Russell, Janick Wrona, and Zixi You
  • Guests: Anton Antonov, Satoshi Kinsui, Tomohide Kinuhata, Thomas Pellard, Masayoshi Shibatani, Akira Watanabe, John Whitman, and Yuko Yanagida
  • Students: Oana David, Naoko Hosokawa, Daniel Millichip, Jenny Moore, Muneto Ozaki, and Daniel Trott
This was the first opportunity for the external members and other invited colleagues to see a small sample of the corpus (Book IV of the Man'yōshū), how grammatical and lexical features are marked up, and the searchability of grammatical features: Professor Bjarke Frellesvig presented "A Project and Corpus Overview", Dr Kerri L Russell presented "Corpus presentation: Mark-up of orthography and morphology. The dictionary" and "Demonstration and discussion of display options and searchability of the corpus", and Dr Stephen Wright Horn presented "Mark-up of Syntax". In addition, Professor Satoshi Kinsui presented "On rentai-shūshoku and juntaiku" (presentation) and Dr Tomohide Kinuhata presented "A Lecture on Shōmono" (presentation). We also discussed a proposed submisson of an application to the ISO requesting changes to the exising language names for Japanese; currently pre-modern and modern Japanese are the only available options, without the ability to distinguish Old Japanese from Middle Japanese, for example.

We would like to thank Sebastian Rahtz his talk introducing the TEI (presentation), Cecily Nowell-Smith for her work organizing the event, and Hertford College for their support. We would also like to thank all workshop participants for their time and invaluable comments.


14 November 2009

Members of the research team travelled to York to attend the Corpus-based Advances in Historical Linguistics workshop sponsored by The Philological Society. The team also met with Susan Pintzuk and Ann Taylor, co-creators of several parsed corpora of historical English, the previous day for advice on corpus building.


2 November 2009

Professor Bjarke Frellesvig presented "A diachronic perspective on early Japanese morphology: Evidence for reconstructing (at least) two more copulas in pre-Old Japanese" at Le Centre de recherches linguistiques sur l'Asie orientale. presentation


10-12 October

Professor Bjarke Frellesvig presented "Some Perspectives for the Historical Study of Japanese (日本語史研究の展望)" at the National Institute for the Japanese Language Inagural Forum: Future Perspectives on Japanese Linguistics. presentation


24 August to 2 October 2009

Daniel Millichip, who will be entering the third year of the Japanese undergraduate course in October, received a summer Research Studentship from Hertford College to conduct research within the project. During his six week studentship, Dan worked in the Research Centre for Japanese Language and Linguistics on the Hojoki, an early 13th century Japanese text. He transcribed the text phonemically, and then marked up the grammar and morphology of the text in XML format. He used the electronic text he created in this way to investigate the use of the accusative case particle in the Hojoki. More generally, his work was very helpful to the project in helping us test various options for marking up texts. The electronic version of the Hojoki which Dan created will be included in the project's corpus.


15 May 2009

Masayoshi Shibatani presented the second part of his talk "On the Typology of Relative Clauses" to the project research team. Professor Shibatani is currently a Christensen Fellow at St Catherine's College. The first part of this talk was given to the Linguistics Seminar at the Centre for Linguistics and Philology on 11 May.

The opening drinks reception for the Research Centre for Japanese Language and Linguistics also took place on 15 May. More information about the opening reception can be found on the Centre's website.

Researchers Stephen Wright Horn, Janick Wrona, and Yuhki King discuss the project in our meeting room before Professor Shibatani's talk.


21 August 2008

The project was mentioned in a Sankei Shinbun article.