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Exploring senpai-koohai relationships in club meetings in a Japanese university

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Title: Exploring senpai-koohai relationships in club meetings in a Japanese university
Authors: Enyo, Yumiko
Keywords: Japanese
Issue Date: May 2013
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2013]
Abstract: Japanese hierarchical relations called senpai-koohai 'senior-junior', which in school are based on different class standings, have been observed to be salient and stable across different situations beyond school, once such relations are built between a pair of people (Dunn, 1996; Nakane, 1967/1972). However, presuming that such relations are static in nature is problematic in light of social constructionist views, especially because there are no studies that examine college students' dyadic or multiparty interactions in terms of their hierarchical relationship building.
This dissertation examines how college students of different class levels interact in practice by analyzing multiparty interactions during an extracurricular activity at a Japanese college. Drawing on indexicality approaches (Ochs, 1992, 1993; Silverstein, 1983), I focus on three linguistic forms: speech styles, address and reference terms, and knowledge-related stance markers.
The results of the analyses suggest that the construction of senpai-koohai relationships is influenced by two types of context of talk, on-stage and off-stage. During on-stage talk, the participants' club roles are foregrounded, which puts less focus on their senpai-koohai identities. During offstage talk, their identities are less influenced by their club roles, and this situation allows more freedom for other identities, which include senpai-koohai, to be constructed.
A speaker's use of linguistic forms can be indexical to the context, while the meaning of a linguistic form is under the influence of the context. Moreover, the construction of senpai-koohai relations is also influenced by the content of the conversation. Overall, this dissertation demonstrates that, in the data analyzed, senpai-koohai relations among college students are much more fluid in nature than has been shown in previous studies.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Linguistics

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