ERIC Number: ED252060
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Deixis and Self/Other Reference in Japanese Discourse. Sociolinguistic Working Paper Number 99.
The communication of "person" has been a particularly elusive area of Japanese discourse. The elusive status of the person term (as distinguished from the Indo-European personal pronoun) raises the question of whether such terms, along with titles, kin terms, proper names, age-status terms, and zero forms, may all be part of a single system for differentiating self and other. Approaching the definition of person in the context of discourse eliminates some of the complexity of defining the entire system of terms, by shifting the emphasis from terms for person to communication of person. The continuum of person in Japanese is deictic, and the deictic zero point of Japanese discourse is the speaker's primary group rather than the individual speaker. The question of variability of self by which the Japanese have been defined is more a matter of focus than real difference in self/other relationships. In Japanese the focus is on the continuum itself while in English it is on the poles. An organization of discourse that seems enormously contradictory can be resolved by a multiple perspective that includes the relationships between discourse utterances, the social participants producing them, and the relationships they are negotiating in discourse. The point along the continuum between speaker and addressee that an utterance defines is generated only by participants in a particular discourse. This opens further questions as to whether Japanese social life is organized deictically and can be analyzed from a similar perspective. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.