The Light Verb “Suru” in Japanese Lexical-Conceptual Structure and Sources of Leaning Difficulty

Xuexin Liu


As frequently observed in second or foreign language learning, the Japanese light verb “suru” may course much learning difficulty. Most previous studies focused on the surface description of “suru” in terms of its role in some particular Japanese lexical structure or verbal formation in a particular syntactic environment. This paper assumes that the light verb “suru” drives certain particular Japanese lexical-conceptual structure, and language-specific lexicalization patterns must be learned as such. It offers a linguistic analysis of the sources of the light verb “suru” in structuring particular verbalization patterns and relates this analysis to potential sources of learning difficulty in second or foreign language learning. Instances of cross-linguistic influence or learner errors in learning the Japanese lexical-conceptual structure driven by “suru” are from some early stage American students learning Japanese as a foreign language. This paper implicates a lexicon-driven approach to teaching Japanese lexicalization patterns.

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