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ERIC Number: EJ1013712
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0167-8507
Variability in Societal Norms for Japanese Women's Speech: Implications for Linguistic Politeness
Okamoto, Shigeko
Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, v32 n2 p203-223 Feb 2013
Through a reexamination of the relationship between politeness and femininity in Japanese, this study considers some of the major theoretical issues concerning linguistic politeness in general. While politeness has been regarded as a central feature of Japanese women's speech, recent research has shown that politeness is a speech norm for women, and that in actual practice women do not always speak "politely" (e.g., Okamoto 2004; Okada 2008). However, the normative relationship between politeness and femininity is often taken for granted and has not received sufficient scrutiny. Drawing on previous studies of speech patterns regarded as "onnarashii hanashikata" "womanly ways of talking" in different historical periods' covering both modern and pre-modern times, this study analyzes the structure of normative linguistic femininity, paying special attention to the role of ideology that underlines its structure and hence the possibility that not only actual speech practice but also the notion of speech norm for women itself may be variable, that is, may not be understood in the same way by all speakers. Through this analysis, I critically consider the role of politeness for Japanese women's speech and its implications for the following theoretical issues concerning politeness in general: the view of politeness as a matter of evaluation of social conduct based on the evaluation of the context of use, including the speaker's social group; the variability and multiplicity of meanings of linguistic forms associated with politeness, which suggest the indirect and dialectic relationship between linguistic forms and contextual features; and the notions of discernment and (volitional) strategy for politeness as neither contrastive nor mutually exclusive. (Contains 4 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A