Uliana Strizhak
National Research University Higher School of Economics. Associated Professor

Parallel texts database (Japanese-English-Russian) as a research resource for studying agency in Japanese language

The problem of agency is central to study human identity and personhood. The results of the present study show evidence that human agency could be considered through the linguistic agency even though it is rather difficult to equate social agency with grammatical agency.

The paper employs qualitative and quantitative analysis of parallel texts database to examine how high-agentive and low-agentive semantic roles are used to construct a hierarchy in Japanese language and culture in comparison with English and Russian. 

Digital Humanities shows the tendency for digitization of research resources to be easily analyzed from the different points of view. This paper presents parallel texts database which was constructing to digitize fiction parallel texts in Japanese, Russian and English languages.  

The corpus data analysis reveals asymmetry in different languages’ requirements for the semantic roles occupied by participants in the sentence structures and shows how human relations with the surrounding reality are constructed in the narrated events by illuminating their agentive status. A key finding is that structures encoded in language are functioning as the mirror of our world structure: explicit and implicit human agents are grammatically positioning themselves to highlight their different ways of being in different cultures.

The present study demonstrates the significance of systematic digitization of the research materials to find the new methods of language analysis and furthermore enlightens the important role of the implementation of quantitative methodologies in database analysis.

パラレルコーパスデータベース (日・英・露) を日本語の動作主性の研究資料に