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First-person singular pronouns in Japanese: How do they work in conversation?

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12097

First-person singular pronouns in Japanese: How do they work in conversation?

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dc.contributor.author McCraw, Mami
dc.date.accessioned 2011-02-09T18:36:41Z
dc.date.available 2011-02-09T18:36:41Z
dc.date.issued 2011-02-09
dc.date.submitted December 2010
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12097
dc.description.abstract Subjectivity-- expression of our thoughts and emotions-- is the essence of everyday conversation (e.g., Benveniste, 1971; Scheibman, 2002). Previous studies have found that subjectivity is expressed in a variety of linguistic items in a wide range of languages. First-person singular (1SG) pronouns may be one of the most fundamental linguistic items for expressing subjectivity because they directly reflect the speaker, who is the owner of subjective point of view. This dissertation explores the use of 1SG pronouns in Japanese utilizing the analysis of naturally occurring conversational data. In Japanese, personal pronouns including first person are used infrequently, especially in spoken language, and the first-person reference is often unexpressed (what is known as pronoun ellipsis). Although they may look odd or ill-formed from the perspective of languages that have rigid syntactic structures such as English, utterances with unexpressed elements can be considered to be the “default” in Japanese conversation. Because of the variability of expression of 1SG pronouns, it is assumed that they add some pragmatic functions when they are explicitly expressed. Data analyses of 1SG pronouns taken from naturally occurring conversation revealed that the use is often motivated by various discourse-pragmatic functions such as expressing subjectivity, introducing a topic, and holding the floor rather than referential necessity. The speaker decides to use 1SG pronouns or not to use them in order to achieve his or her particular communicative goals. First-person singular pronouns in Japanese are a versatile linguistic item beyond so-called pronouns that simply replace nouns. This strongly suggests that 1SG pronouns are essentially different from English I, and will lead us to reconsider the categorization of 1SG pronouns in Japanese. Furthermore, the use and nonuse of 1SG pronouns in Japanese has important educational implications. In order to teach linguistic items that are not syntactically required but are used by pragmatic motivations, I suggest that educators seek more effective teaching methods based on authentic language use. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject Japanese linguistics en_US
dc.subject Pronouns en_US
dc.subject Ellipsis en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Japanese language--Ellipsis
dc.subject.lcsh Japanese language--Reference
dc.subject.lcsh Japanese language--Pronoun
dc.title First-person singular pronouns in Japanese: How do they work in conversation? en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US
dc.description.degree Educational Linguistics en_US
dc.description.level Doctoral en_US
dc.description.department University of New Mexico. Division of Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies en_US
dc.description.advisor Travis, Catherine
dc.description.committee-member Shaffer, Barbara
dc.description.committee-member Axelrod, Melissa
dc.description.committee-member Ono, Tsuyoshi


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