Professor SHIMA Etsuro

Affiliations :

Invisible, inaudible expressions

An utterance in human language has two sides to it: the audio form and the meaning, or a set of meanings. Both are connected to each other according to certain rules. But some meanings are not verbalized. Let’s take a look at the underlined parts of the sentences below.
(1) John defended himself better than Bill did __.
(2) John defended himself well, and Bill did __ too.
The part “defend himself” is omitted in both sentences, but we interpret their meaning differently depending on the position of the omission (whether it comes after a subordinate conjunction “better than” or after a coordinate conjunction “and”). There are two ways to interpret the omitted part in the first case: we can either suggest that Bill defended himself or that he defended John. In the second case, however, only one interpretation is possible — that Bill defended himself. This difference between a subordinate clause and a coordinate clause implies that non-verbalized parts of the sentence also follow certain rules. But what are those rules? How are they different from the rules that regulate verbalized elements? I believe that mapping the defining characteristics of such invisible, inaudible expressions will help us better understand the true nature of human language.

  • Research, History
  • Books, papers, etc.
  • Courses
    Undergraduate: English Linguistics (General Lecture); English Linguistics (Reading); English Linguistics (Seminar); English Linguistics (Special Lecture);
    Graduate: English Linguistics (Advanced Lecture); etc.
    Personal History
    Graduated from the Faculty of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University
    Completed the doctoral program at the Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University

    Assistant Professor, Faculty of Humanities, Yamaguchi University
    Guest Researcher, Department of Linguistics, College of Arts and Sciences, Cornell University
    Current position
    Ph.D. (Literature)
    Syntax; Semantics
    Research Subject
    Operation of movement (1992-present);
    Tense phenomena (2000-present);
    Ellipsis in natural languages (2002-present)
    Unpronounced elements in natural languages
    The English Linguistic Society of Japan; The English Literary Society of Japan
    Database of Researchers Information
  • Books
    Academic Papers
    "A Unified Analysis of Left-Dislocation and Gapping in English,"  Explorations in English Linguistics 28, 2014, 87-107
    The ELSJ Award - honorable mention (The English Linguistic Society of Japan, 2005); Ichikawa Prize (2016)