Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Gregory Stump

Second Advisor

Dr. Fabiola Henri


The nature of tense in classical Japanese is vague and uncertain, sometimes appearing to be interpretable by combinations of particular verbs with specific verbal auxiliaries and sometimes appearing to be absent altogether. The present study introduces a series of these so-called tense-bearing auxiliaries in classical Japanese while attempting to show that their use can be ambiguous based on the contexts in which they appear. The notions of context driven semantic formalism are explored as a possible means to derive truth from these utterances that seem otherwise tenseless when taken out of context. To accomplish this, time and tense are given very specific meaning and definition and thereafter explored in the context of both modern and classical Japanese.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)