Journal of East Asian Linguistics

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 179–196 | Cite as

Prosodic size and rendaku immunity



Research has shown there to be a strong relationship between the mora and prosody in Modern Japanese. Recently proposed, although not as yet independently evaluated, has been a prosodic size rule governing the well-known allomorphic phenomenon of rendaku, by which the initial consonants of non-initial elements in compounds may be voiced under certain conditions. It is claimed that this prosodic size rule flags a native Japanese noun as being rendaku immune, a condition for which no empirical verification has hitherto existed. In this paper the author will demonstrate that, although slight modifications are necessary, a prosodic size rule for flagging rendaku immunity is indeed a reality.


Rendaku Sequential voicing Prosody Mora Japanese Allomorphy Morphophonology 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alderete, John. 1999. Morphologically governed accent in optimality theory. PhD diss., University of Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  2. Frellesvig Bjarke, John Whitman. (2004) The vowels of proto-Japanese. Japanese Language and Literature 38: 281–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Fukuda Suzy, Shinji Fukuda. (1999) The operation of rendaku in the Japanese specifically language- impaired: A preliminary investigation. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica 51: 36–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fukuzawa, Haruka, and Mafuyu Kitahara. 2001. Domain-relative faithfulness and the OCP: Rendaku revisited. In Issues in Japanese morphology and phonology, ed. Jeroen van de Weijer and Tetsuo Nishihara, 85–109. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  5. Fukuzawa, Haruka, and Mafuyu Kitahara. 2005. Ranking paradoxes in consonant voicing in Japanese. In Voicing in Japanese, ed. Jeroen van de Weijer, Kensuke Nanjo, and Tetsuo Nishihara, 105–121. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  6. Fukuzawa, Haruka, Mafuyu Kitahara, and Mitsuhiko Ota. 1998. Lexical stratification and ranking invariance in constraint-based grammars. In Papers from the 34th regional meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society, Part II: The panels, ed. M. Catherine Gruber, Derrick Higgins, Kenneth Olson, and Tamra Wysocki, 47–62. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society.Google Scholar
  7. Gottlieb Nanette. (2005) Language and society in Japan. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  8. Hamano Shoko. (1998) The sound-symbolic system of Japanese. CSLI Publications, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  9. Haraguchi Shosuke. (2001) On rendaku. On’in Kenkyū (4): 9–32Google Scholar
  10. Hirano Takanori. (2000) Phonological structure and sequential voicing: With special attention to the names of rivers. Yamaguchi Daigaku Bungakukaishi 50: 81–85Google Scholar
  11. Irwin Mark. (2005) Rendaku-based lexical hierarchies in Japanese: The behaviour of Sino-Japanese mononoms in hybrid noun compounds. Journal of East Asian Linguistics 14: 121–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Irwin Mark. (2010) Loanwords in Japanese. Leiden, BrillGoogle Scholar
  13. Itô, Junko. 1990. Prosodic Minimality in Japanese. In Papers from the 26th regional meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society Vol. 2: The parasession on the syllable in phonetics and phonology, ed. Michael Ziolkowski, Manuela Noske, and Karen Deaton, 213–239. Chicago: Chicago Linguistics Society.Google Scholar
  14. Itô Junko, Armin Mester. (1986) The phonology of voicing in Japanese: Theoretical consequences for morphological accessibility. Linguistic Inquiry 17: 49–73Google Scholar
  15. Itô, Junko, and Armin Mester. 1995. Japanese phonology. In The handbook of phonological theory, ed. John Goldsmith, 817–838. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  16. Itô, Junko, and Armin Mester. 1999. The phonological lexicon. In The handbook of Japanese linguistics, ed. Natsuko Tsujimura, 62–100. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  17. Itô Junko, Armin Mester, Jaye Padgett. (1995) Licensing and underspecification in optimality theory. Linguistic Inquiry 26: 571–613Google Scholar
  18. Itô Junko, Yoshihisa Kitagawa, Armin Mester. (1996) Prosodic faithfulness and correspondence: Evidence from a Japanese argot. Journal of East Asian Linguistics 5: 217–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kindaichi Haruhiko. (1976) Rendaku no kai [Explaining rendaku]. Sophia Linguistica 2: 1–22Google Scholar
  20. Kiyose Gisaburō. (1985) Heianchō hagyōshiin-p onron [Evidence that Modern Japanese h-was p-in the Heian Period]. Onsei no Kenkyū 21: 73–87Google Scholar
  21. Kubozono, Haruo. 1999. Mora and syllable. In The handbook of Japanese linguistics, ed. Natsuko Tsujimura, 31–61. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  22. Kubozono, Haruo. 2002. The syllable as a unit of prosodic organization in Japanese: Syllable structure, accent and morphology. In The syllable in optimality theory, ed. Caroline Féry and Ruben van de Vijver, 129–156. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Kubozono, Haruo. 2005. Rendaku: Its domain and linguistic conditions. In Voicing in Japanese, ed. Jeroen van de Weijer, Kensuke Nanjo, and Tetsuo Nishihara, 5–20. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  24. Kubozono, Haruo and Armin Mester. 1995. Foot and accent: New evidence from Japanese compound accentuation. Paper presented at Linguistic Society of America meeting, New Orleans.Google Scholar
  25. Loveday Leo. (1996) Language contact in Japan. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  26. Lyman Benjamin. (1894) Change from surd to sonant in Japanese compounds. Oriental Club of Philadelphia, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  27. Martin, Samuel E. 1952. Morphophonemics of standard colloquial Japanese. Language 28(3, Part 2, Supplement): 1–113.Google Scholar
  28. Martin Samuel E. (1987) The Japanese language through time. Yale University Press, New Haven & LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Matsumura, Akira (eds) (1995) Daijisen. Shōgakukan, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  30. Matsumura, Akira (eds) (2002) Daijirin. Sanseidō, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  31. McCawley James. (1968) The phonological component of a grammar of Japanese. Mouton, The HagueGoogle Scholar
  32. Mester Armin. (1990) Patterns of truncation. Linguistic Inquiry 21: 478–485Google Scholar
  33. Motoori, Norinaga. 1822. Kojiki den [Commentary on the ‘Records of ancient matters’]. Edo: Maegawa Rokuzaemon; Osaka: Matsumura Kyūbei; Kyoto: Imai Kihei; Owari: Katano Tōshirō.Google Scholar
  34. Nakagawa Yoshio. (1966) Rendaku, rensei (kashō) no keifu [A genealogy of sequential voicing and sequential non-voicing (working label)]. Kokugokokubun 35: 302–314Google Scholar
  35. Nakagawa Yoshio. (1978) Koyūmeishi no rendaku, rensei no keifu [A genealogy of sequential voicing and sequential non-voicing in proper nouns]. Shizuoka Joshi Daigaku Kenkyū Kiyō 12: 288–302Google Scholar
  36. Numoto, Katsuaki. 2007. Hagyō tenko’on [Labial lenition]. In Nihongogaku kenkyū jiten, ed. Hida Yoshifumi, Endō Yoshihide, Katō Masanobu, Satō Takeyoshi, Hachiya Kiyoto, and Maeda Tomiyoshi, 359–360. Tokyo: Meiji Shoin.Google Scholar
  37. Ogura, Shinpei. 1910. Raiman-shi no rendakuron [Lyman’s rendaku theory]. Kokugakuin Zasshi 16: 9–23, 31–45.Google Scholar
  38. Ohno, Kazutoshi. 2000. The lexical nature of rendaku in Japanese. In Japanese/Korean Linguistics Volume 9, ed. Mineharu Nakayama and Charles J. Quinn, 151–164. Stanford: CSLI Publications.Google Scholar
  39. Okumura Mitsuo. (1952) Jion no rendaku ni tsuite [Rendaku in Sino-Japanese]. Kokugokokubun 21(6): 8–22Google Scholar
  40. Okumura, Mitsuo. 1955. Rendaku. Kokugogaku jiten, ed. Kokugogakkai, 961–962. Tokyo: Tōkyōdō.Google Scholar
  41. Ota Mitsuhiko. (2004) The learnability of the stratified phonological lexicon. Journal of Japanese Linguistics 20: 19–40Google Scholar
  42. Ōtsu, Yukio. 1980. Some aspects of rendaku in Japanese and related problems. In Theoretical issues in Japanese linguistics, ed. Yukio Ōtsu and Ann Farmer, 207–227. Cambridge: MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.Google Scholar
  43. Poser William. (1990) Evidence for foot structure in Japanese. Language 66: 78–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rice Keren. (1997) Japanese NC clusters and the redundancy of postnasal voicing. Linguistic Inquiry 28: 541–551Google Scholar
  45. Rosen, Eric Robert. 2001. Phonological processes interacting with the lexicon: Variable and non-regular effects in Japanese phonology. PhD diss. University of British Columbia.Google Scholar
  46. Rosen Eric Robert. (2003) Systematic irregularity in Japanese rendaku: How the grammar mediates patterned lexical exceptions. Canadian Journal of Linguistics / Revue Canadienne de Linguistique 48: 1–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rothaug Petra. (1991) . Abriß der japanischen Lautgeschichte [An outline of Japanese historical phonology]. Hamburg, Helmut BuskeGoogle Scholar
  48. Shibatani Masayoshi. (1990) The languages of Japan. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  49. Shinmura, Izuru (eds) (2003) Kōjien. Iwanami Shoten, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  50. Sugito Miyoko. (1965) Shibata-san to Imada-san: tango no chōkakuteki benbetsu ni tsuite no ichi kōsatsu [Mr Shimada and Mr. Imada: A study of auditory discrimination between words]. Gengo Seikatsu 165: 64–72Google Scholar
  51. Suzuki Yutaka. (2005) Kindai ikō rendaku kenkyū bunken mokuroku (1883–2005) [A catalogue of modern research publications on rendaku]. Bunkyō Gakuin Daigaku Gaikokugo Gakubu Bunkyō Gakuin Tanki Daigaku Kiyō 5: 277–308Google Scholar
  52. Takayama Tomoaki. (1999) Shakuyōgo no rendaku/kōonka ni tsuite [Rendaku and Fortis in loan vocabulary]. Report of the Special Research Project for the Typological Investigation of Languages and Cultures of the East and West 1: 375–385Google Scholar
  53. Takayama, Tomoaki. 2005. A survey of rendaku in loanwords. In Voicing in Japanese, ed. Jeroen van de Weijer, Kensuke Nanjo, and Tetsuo Nishihara, 177–190. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  54. Tamura Suzuko. (1972) Goseigo ni mirareru onsokōtai [Phoneme alteration in compounds and their derivatives]. Kōza nihongo kyōiku 8: 116–144Google Scholar
  55. Tateishi, Koichi. 1985. One secret language in Japanese: As a special case of reduplication. Ms., University of Massachusetts, Amherst.Google Scholar
  56. Tateishi, Koichi. 1989. Theoretical implications of Japanese musicians’ language. In Proceedings of the Eighth West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, ed. Jane Fee and Kathryn Hunt, 384–398. Stanford: CSLI Publications.Google Scholar
  57. Trubetzkoy, Nikolai Sergeyevich. [1939]/1969. Principles of phonology [Grundzüge der Phonologie]. Trans. Christiane Baltaxe. Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  58. Tsujimura Natsuko, Stuart Davis. (1987) The accent of long nominal compounding in Tokyo Japanese. Studies in Language 11: 199–206Google Scholar
  59. Vance, Timothy J. 1979. Nonsense-word experiments in phonology and their application to rendaku in Japanese. PhD diss. University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  60. Vance, Timothy J. 1980a. Comments on Ōtsu (1980). In Theoretical issues in Japanese linguistics, ed. Yukio Ōtsu and Ann Farmer, 229–236. Cambridge: MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.Google Scholar
  61. Vance Timothy J. (1980) The psychological status of a constraint on Japanese consonant alteration. . Linguistics 18: 245–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Vance Timothy J. (1982) On the origin of voicing alteration in Japanese consonants. Journal of the American Oriental Society 102: 333–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Vance Timothy J. (1987) An introduction to Japanese phonology. State University of New York Press, AlbanyGoogle Scholar
  64. Vance Timothy J. (1996) Sequential voicing in Sino-Japanese. Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese 30(1): 22–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vance, Timothy J. 2005. Rendaku in inflected words. In Voicing in Japanese, ed. Jeroen van de Weijer, Kensuke Nanjo, and Tetsuo Nishihara, 89–104. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  66. Vance, Timothy J. 2007. Have we learned anything about rendaku that Lyman didn’t already know? In Current issues in the history and structure of Japanese, ed. Bjarke Frellesvig, Masayoshi Shibatani, and John Charles Smith, 153–170. Tokyo: Kurosio.Google Scholar
  67. Wolfram, Walt, and Natalie Schilling-Estes. 2003. Dialectology and linguistic diffusion. In The hand book of historical linguistics, ed. Brian Joseph and Richard Janda, 713–735. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  68. Yamada Yoshio. (1904) Rendakuon no hassei [The genesis of rendaku]. Kokugakuin Zasshi 10: 33–43Google Scholar
  69. Zamma, Hideki. 2005. The correlation between accentuation and rendaku in Japanese surnames: A morphological account. In Voicing in Japanese, ed. Jeroen van de Weijer, Kensuke Nanjo, and Tetsuo Nishihara, 157–176. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Literature and Social SciencesYamagata UniversityYamagata-shiJapan

Personalised recommendations