Cost and benefit in language use: A case study of sentence particles in Japanese.
KeywordsJapanese language -- Particles
Japanese language -- Social aspects
Japanese language -- Honorific.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis thesis purports to introduce a cost and benefit theory of politeness which sheds light upon the politeness system in Japanese. This involves the assumption that a communicative act is a rational act, executed for a communicative goal. Given so, politeness-bearing language use is strategic in nature. This implies that using a certain strategy appropriate in a given communicative situation is a consequence of rationalization. With effective utilization of the cost and benefit concept, broadly defined, linguistic politeness is viewed as a negotiation between the speaker and the hearer on the basis of the speaker's assessment of cost and/or benefit. In order to achieve a characterization of negotiation, the underlying principle, referred to as "Politeness Negotiation Principles," is proposed. The primary task in this thesis is to analyze the use of sentence particles within a framework of the cost and benefit theory. While the majority of studies of politeness phenomena in Japanese have centered around honorifics, which is widely known for its highly developed system, sentence particles have received little attention. In this regard, this study of sentence particles shows a much broader vista of politeness phenomena in Japanese than hitherto assumed. The application of the cost and benefit concept goes beyond the sphere of politeness phenomena. By identifying a cost and/or a benefit involved in a context where the modality item desyoo/daroo and the anaphoric demonstratives sono and ano are employed, the uses of these elements, which reveal interesting dynamics of interaction between the speaker and the hearer, can be explained.