The notion of mirativity as a grammatical category separate from evidentiality is controversial, but a certain amount of cross-linguistic evidence speaks for its validity. The aim of this study is to investigate this notion in contemporary and earlier Japanese, which is shown to have mirative constructions: (i) no miratives, (ii) koto miratives, and (iii) lexical miratives. The particles no and koto are polyfunctional, and they have recently gained a mirative function. Lexical miratives are uttered by the younger generation. These findings raise a diachronic issue regarding the emergence of the three mirative constructions. Adopting Cruschina’s (2011) cartographic approach to discourse-related phenomena and the notion of “emotional vocative” offered by Yamada (1936), we argue that what binds the three constructions together is the involvement of the IFocP (Information Focus Phrase) and that their emergences are all explained by grammaticalization paths starting from nominals.
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