Tomiko Narahara

Emerita Professor
Ph.D., Harvard University


After many years as specialist in Japanese linguistics and Japanese-language program director, Professor Tomiko Narahara retired in spring 2006. As the program director, Narahara worked with great diligence to raise the level of competence among language instructors, develop a more effective curriculum, and motivate a greater number of undergraduate students to study Japanese. She sought out and recruited highly qualified lecturers and devoted considerable time to the hiring, training, and supervision of the program’s teaching assistants. The results of these efforts can be seen in the steady increase in the enrollment in Japanese-language courses and in the number of Japanese majors during her tenure as director. It is especially noteworthy that these increases occurred during a period in which the national enrollment in Japanese studies decreased.

As a scholar, Narahara was primarily concerned with Japanese syntax, concentrating on the Japanese copula. Praised as an innovative study by leading Japanese linguists, her book, The Japanese Copula: Forms and Function (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), fills a void in Japanese linguistic studies. We greatly miss Narahara and wish her a fulfilling and productive retirement.

Selected Articles:

  • A Morpho-Syntatic Analysis of the Japanese Copula” in Aspects in Japanese Linguistics (Kurosio Publishers, forthcoming)
  • The Japanese Copula: Forms and Functions. Hampshire, England: Palgrave MacMillan (2002).
  • “On the Categorial Status of Japanese Zero-Form Pronouns: A View from Referentiality Hierarchy.” InSyntactic and Functional Explorations, ed. K. Takami, A. Kamio and J. Whitman, 115-158. Tokyo: Kurosio Publishers, 2000.
  • “On Multiple Pre-Nominal Modifiers.” In The Fifth Princeton Japanese Pedagogy Workshop Proceedings, ed. S. Makino, 84-94. Princeton, NJ: East Asian Studies, Princeton University, 1997.
  • “Syntax of Sentence-Final Particles: Toward an Articulated Grammar of Informal Speech.” In The Fourth Princeton Japanese Pedagogy Workshop Proceedings, ed. S. Makino, 72-82. Princeton, NJ: East Asian Studies, Princeton University, 1996.
  • “Alternatives to Reflexives in Thai, Vietnamese and English: Binding Theory and Language Variations.” In Southeast Asian Linguistics Society III, ed. M. Alves, 157-170. Tempe, Arizona: Arizona State University, 1995