Using plain forms but still being polite: speech style shifting as an interactional phenomenon in Japanese native and non-native talk

  • Author / Creator
    Isaka, Yukiko
  • The Japanese language is known for its various styles of speech, conditioned by factors such as social status, formality, and gender. When a speaker switches between the speech styles within the same talk targeted at the same recipient, such a phenomenon is called speech style shifting (hereafter SS). This study explores the frequency and the functions of SS through examining two types of conversations (Japanese native/native and native/non-native conversations) quantitatively and qualitatively in order to gain further understanding of the phenomenon. The results shows that all natives employed SS, and they produce SS approximately twice as frequently when the talk is targeted to non-natives than to natives. They also show that certain functions of SS are employed as “foreigner talk” (Ellis 2008) aimed at assisting non-natives. The study reveals the complexity of SS and underscores the necessity of closely observing various types of discourse to advance understanding of SS.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2010
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.