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Brown and Levinson Online - On the implications of politeness strategies and the Japanese desu/masu-form in a massively multiplayer online game

Larsson, Jens LU (2011) SPVR01 20101
Master's Programme: Language and Linguistics
Japanese Studies
Abstract (Swedish)
Politeness in Japanese has been the subject of many linguistic inquiries. Overarching these is Brown and Levinson's (1987) influential but also criticized (see Matsumoto, 1988; Ide 1992) theory on politeness as a cross-linguistic factor. By looking into the desu/masu-form and how it contrasts the so called plain form in Japanese, I will show that some of the criticism is misplaced, partly due to how we define the vague term `politeness'. My data comes from the contemporary environment of an online game by using the output of its Japanese chat channels. I will relate my findings to earlier research on speech level style-shifts in Japanese (see Ikuta, 1983; Wetzel, 1988; Cook, 1996b, 1998, 2008; Maynard, 1991; Maynard, 1993). These show that... (More)
Politeness in Japanese has been the subject of many linguistic inquiries. Overarching these is Brown and Levinson's (1987) influential but also criticized (see Matsumoto, 1988; Ide 1992) theory on politeness as a cross-linguistic factor. By looking into the desu/masu-form and how it contrasts the so called plain form in Japanese, I will show that some of the criticism is misplaced, partly due to how we define the vague term `politeness'. My data comes from the contemporary environment of an online game by using the output of its Japanese chat channels. I will relate my findings to earlier research on speech level style-shifts in Japanese (see Ikuta, 1983; Wetzel, 1988; Cook, 1996b, 1998, 2008; Maynard, 1991; Maynard, 1993). These show that the normative meaning of honorific expressions can have added pragmatic meaning as strategic implicatures outside of their normative nature. This lends credit to Brown and Levinson's theory for Japanese. Agreeing with Usami (2002) that honorifics need to be better accounted for in their theory, I will argue that it is important to distinguish between normative and non-normative use of honorific expressions. The deviations from normative use is where the implicature is created together with any added, non-normative pragmatic meaning. (Less)
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author
Larsson, Jens LU
supervisor
organization
course
SPVR01 20101
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
chat, cmc, pragmatics, online, eve, game, style-shift, levinson, brown, masu, desu, japanese, politeness
language
English
id
1980288
date added to LUP
2011-06-22 11:09:01
date last changed
2011-06-22 11:09:01
@misc{1980288,
  abstract     = {Politeness in Japanese has been the subject of many linguistic inquiries. Overarching these is Brown and Levinson's (1987) influential but also criticized (see Matsumoto, 1988; Ide 1992) theory on politeness as a cross-linguistic factor. By looking into the desu/masu-form and how it contrasts the so called plain form in Japanese, I will show that some of the criticism is misplaced, partly due to how we define the vague term `politeness'. My data comes from the contemporary environment of an online game by using the output of its Japanese chat channels. I will relate my findings to earlier research on speech level style-shifts in Japanese (see Ikuta, 1983; Wetzel, 1988; Cook, 1996b, 1998, 2008; Maynard, 1991; Maynard, 1993). These show that the normative meaning of honorific expressions can have added pragmatic meaning as strategic implicatures outside of their normative nature. This lends credit to Brown and Levinson's theory for Japanese. Agreeing with Usami (2002) that honorifics need to be better accounted for in their theory, I will argue that it is important to distinguish between normative and non-normative use of honorific expressions. The deviations from normative use is where the implicature is created together with any added, non-normative pragmatic meaning.},
  author       = {Larsson, Jens},
  keyword      = {chat,cmc,pragmatics,online,eve,game,style-shift,levinson,brown,masu,desu,japanese,politeness},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Brown and Levinson Online - On the implications of politeness strategies and the Japanese desu/masu-form in a massively multiplayer online game},
  year         = {2011},
}