Variable Grammar of Teen-agers: The case of Zero-Marking of the Accusative Case in Tokyo Japanese

by Kenjiro Matsuda

Recent developments in quantitative sociolinguistics have revealed a number of interesting facts about language acquisition. Thus, while children are found to be participating in on-going language change from quite early age, there exists certain variation that is not quite mastered even after adulthood. As to the grammar of teenagers, there are cons and pros for including their data for sociolinguistic research due to its seemingly immature status. This paper examines the (variable) grammar of teenagers by focusing on the zero-marking of the accusativecase in Tokyo Japanese. Quantitative analysis of three main factors (object NP-verb adjacency, linguistic form of the object NP and speech style) revealed that while factors with strong effects on adults also have strong effects on teenagers, the two groups show significant discrepancy for speech style, which would require a certain amount of social exposure for mastery on the part of the speaker.

Abstract in Japanese
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