Functions Of The Japanese Plain Form In A Sociolinguistic Interview

Date
2007-04-01
Authors
Enyo, Yumiko
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Department of Linguistics
Abstract
In the Central Caroline Islands of Micronesia today there is a string of closely related dialects, all born of a protolanguage called Proto Trukic (or Chuukic). In it are outlier members of the family, spoken in the Northern Marianas Islands and in the remote Southwest District of Palau. These closely related language varieties make up a dialect chain. Apart from the outlier groups, the language varieties of any two adjacent islands are inherently intelligible to the other. However, take a further jump of two or three islands in any direction, and they quickly become unintelligible. Nonetheless, even such gaps in inherent intelligibility can be bridged, not just by bilingual ability, but by an ability on the part of island speakers to alter their own speech to accommodate linguistic features of the hearer’s language. This accommodation is made pos.sible by the learned skill of “language bending,” which allows oral communication to succeed, even over linguistic distances where inherent intelligibility would certainly fail. This paper describes what language bending is and what its features are, and gives probable reasons why it developed historically. wp-enyo.txt This paper investigates the Japanese plain form that occurs in one-on-one sociolinguistic interviews. The analysis reveals that the plain form itself indexes informational content and is used for evaluative com.ments, feedback, and listing, while affect keys used with plain forms index additional social meaning, such as reservation for evaluative comments, and indicate an affecting stance toward the interviewer. The result supports the theory that bare plain forms index content-based information, and that affect keys add social meaning to plain forms. The interviewees who used affect keys frequently showed a stronger commitment to the interview activity, negotiating for a closer stance to the interviewer.
Description
Keywords
linguistics
Citation
Enyo, Yumiko. 2007. Functions Of The Japanese Plain Form In A Sociolinguistic Interview. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Working Papers in Linguistics 38(3).
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