Prof. Dr. Elisabeth de Boer

Biography

2017 Professor of Japanese Linguistics, Principal Investigator of ERC Starting Grant Project, Bochum University
2015-2016 Research associate, Principal Investigator of ERC Starting Grant Project, Bochum University
2012-2015 Lecturer at Leiden Institute of Area Studies (LIAS), Department of Humanities, Leiden University
2005-2006 Post-doctoral researcher at the Centre of Japanese Studies, Department of Humanities, Leiden University
2005 PhD, Department of Humanities, Leiden University
2002-2003 Member of the project Japanologie der Lage Landen (Leiden University & Université Catholique de Louvain)
2000-2001 Visiting scholar at the University of Maryland
1997-2000 PhD student in the doctor course of the Department of Linguistics, Hokkaido University
1994 MA in Comparative Linguistics, Department of Humanities, Leiden University
1992 MA in Japanese Studies, Department of Humanities, Leiden University

 

FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS

2015 ERC Starting Grant. (“How and when was Japan settled by speakers of Japanese? Exploring the clues to Japanese prehistory preserved in old dialect divisions”)
2015 Publication grant for female linguists at Leiden University
2005-2006 Postdoctoral research grant (Ailion Foundation)
2000-2001 Fulbright scholarship and grant of the Van Tussenbroek Foundation
1997-2000 Three-year scholarship, Japanese ministry of Education
1995-1997 Two-year scholarship, Japanese ministry of Education
1990-1991 One-year scholarship, Japanese ministry of Education

 

Research interests

Historical comparative linguistics: Reconstructing the past of the Japanese language, by studying historical sources, but even more importantly, by studying and comparing modern variants of the language.

Dialect geography: The study of the social, historical and geographical features that play a role in the spread of dialect features.

Language diversity and minority languages: Language diversity in Japan has many forms. There are differences in speech based on dialect, class and gender. The description present state and history of the Ainu language as a language isolate and the only surviving language of the Jomon period is of special interest.

Tonology: The tone systems in the Japanese dialects are very diverse, and a central question is, how the original tone system of Japanese (the proto-Japanese tone system) should be reconstructed, if one takes all modern varieties into account. The developments in Japanese resemble those seen in a number of Bantu languages more than developments seen in the nearby languages of the Asian continent. A central question, and one that remains unanswered to this day, is how and when tone first developed in Japanese. In many Asian languages, the development of tone is connected to the loss of segmental features, but in case of Japanese, such an explanation has many problems. The first step for now, is a reconstruction of the proto-Japanese tone system in as much detail as possible.

 

Publications

  • Forthcoming: “Universals of tone rules and diachronic change in Japanese”, Journal of Asian and African Studies; 94
  • Forthcoming: Review of Handbook of the Ryukyuan languages: History, structure and use, Studies in Language 41:1
  • Submitted: “The Ramsey hypothesis” in: Handbook of the History of the Japanese Language (HHJL), (Frellesvig, B., Kinsui, S. and Whitman, J. eds); Handbooks of Japanese Language and Linguistics (HJLL), Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin-New York
  • 2013 “The split of the Tokyo type tone system into a number of sub-types, and what this can tell us about the tone system of proto-Japanese,” Japanese/Korean Linguistics vol. 20, CSLI, Stanford, 65-79
  • 2010 The historical development of Japanese tone. Part I From proto-Japanese to the modern dialects. Part IIThe introduction and adaptation of the Middle Chinese tones in Japan, Veröffentlichungen des Ostasien-Instituts der Ruhr-Universität Bochum 59, Harrassowitz Verlag, 600 pages.
  • 2008a “The origin of alternations in initial pitch in the verbal paradigms of the central Japanese (Kyōto type) accent systems,” Evidence and Counter-evidence, Festschrift F. Kortlandt; Volume II, (SSGL 32 & 33), Rodopi, Amsterdam- New York, 35-50
  • 2008b “The Middle Chinese tones through Japanese eyes,” Chinese linguistics in Leipzig (CLÉ 2), (Djamouri, Redouane and Sybesma, Rint, eds), EHESS-CRLAO, Paris, 71-86
  • 2005 The historical development of Japanese pitch accent; Part I: The accent patterns of the modern dialects, Part II: The introduction and adaptation of the Middle Chinese tones in Japan, Leiden University Dissertation
  • 1996 “Present state of the study of Evenki vowel harmony,” Proceedings of the 38th Permanent International Altaistic Conference (PIAC), Kawasaki, Japan: August 7-12, 1995 (Stary G. ed.) Harrasowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 121-133

 

Presentations

  • 02-07-2016 “Universals of tone rules and diachronic change in Japanese” Symposium Japanese and Korean accent: diachrony, reconstruction, and typology, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
  • 7-12-2015 “How and when was Japan settled by speakers of Japanese? Exploring the clues to Japanese prehistory preserved in old dialect divisions”, Max-Planck-Institut für Menschheitsgeschichte (Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution), Jena
  • 2-7-2014 “Overview of the historical developments in the Japanese tone system”, Tokyo University, Seminar by John Whitman comparing the Ramsey/De Boer view with the standard view
  • 27-6-2014 “Reversing the tonal value of the Middle Japanese tone dots: From the viewpoint of the modern dialects and the Middle Japanese tone descriptions,” First 2014 meeting of the Phonological Reconstruction Team of the project "Typological and Historical/Comparative Research on the Languages of the Japanese Archipelago and its Environs." NINJAL (National Institute for the study of the Japanese Language), Tokyo, Japan
  • 28-2-2012 “The modern Japanese tone and/or accent systems,” East Asian Linguistics Seminar, Research Centre for Japanese Language and Linguistics, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford
  • 2-10-2010 “The split of the Tōkyō type tone system into a number of sub-types, and what this can tell us about the tone system of proto-Japanese,” The 20th Japanese/Korean Linguistics Conference (JK20), University of Oxford
  • 12-6-2010 “Philological arguments for a reversed reconstruction of the Middle Japanese tone system,” Japanese Times Now Past: International Conference on Pre-modern Japan, Ruhr-University Bochum
  • 9-10-2009 “What the split of the Tōkyō type tone system into a number of sub-types can tell us about the tone system of proto-Japanese,” LUCL (Leiden University Centre of Linguistics), Friday afternoon lectures on descriptive linguistics, Leiden
  • 3-09-2009 “What the historical development of Japanese tone looks like when the Middle Japanese tones are reversed,” International Workshop on the History & Reconstruction of Japanese Accent, CRLAO (Centre de recherches linguistiques sur l'Asie orientale), Paris
  • 14-08-2009 “What the split of the Tōkyō type tone system into a number of sub-types can tell us about the tone system of proto-Japanese,” 19th International Conference on Historical Linguistics (ICHL 19) Radboud University, Nijmegen
  • 11-03-2009 “The geographical distribution of the different accent types in Japan and the order in which Japan was settled by speakers of Japanese,” ‘Day of Japanese linguistics’, The Netherlands Association for Japanese Studies, Leiden University
  • 24-01-2009 “The origin of the split into the Nairin, Chūrin and Gairin tone systems in Japan and the reconstruction of the tone system of proto-Japanese,” Conference Ancient Japan -Origins and formation-, Ruhr-University Bochum
  • 05-09 -2007 “The Middle Chinese tones through Japanese eyes,” The 5th Conference of the European association of Chinese Linguistics (EACL-5), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
  • 06-08-2007 “Convergence in the prosodic systems of Japanese and Ainu,” XVIIIth International Conference on Historical Linguistics (ICHL 18), Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Canada
  • 09-09-2006 “Arguments for a reversed reconstruction of the proto-Japanese tone system”, 2nd Conference on the Typology of Tone and Intonation (TIE-2), Berlin
  • 17-05-2006 “Arguments for a reversed reconstruction of the proto-Japanese tone system,” Wednesday lectures on prosody, Radboud University, Nijmegen
  • 10-03-2006 “How modern Bantu can shed light on the development of the Japanese tone system in the 14th century,” LUCL (Leiden University Centre of Linguistics), Friday afternoon lectures on descriptive linguistics, Leiden
  • 23-5-1998 “One more look at Ramsey’s theory of the history of Japanese accent,” 43rd International Conference of Eastern Studies organized by the Tōhō Gakkai (The institute of Eastern Culture), Tōkyō, Japan
  • 12-8-1997 “Nihongo akusento-shi ni kan-suru Ramuzei-setsu no riron saikō” (A reconsideration of Ramsey’s theory on the history of Japanese accent), 28th session of the Hokkaidō Kokugo Kenkyū-kai (Japanese Language Research Society of Hokkaidō), Sapporo, Japan
  • 7-8-1995 “Present state of the study of Evenki vowel harmony,” 38th Permanent International Altaistic Conference (PIAC), Kawasaki, Japan

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